Obituary by: Jack Foley
OSCAR-winning actress, Anne Bancroft, has died in New York at
the age of 73, following a battle with cancer.
The popular film star remains best-known for her role as Mrs
Robinson in classic film, The Graduate, alongside Dustin Hoffman.
But she enjoyed a long and varied career, during which she received
five Oscar nominations.
Her one win came for playing the teacher of a young Helen Keller
in The Miracle Worker in 1963.
But she was also nominated for The Graduate (1967), as well as
the 1964 marriage drama, The Pumpkin Eater; ballet drama, The
Turning Point (1978) and for her portrayal of a nun in thriller,
Agnes of God (1985).
According to her publicist, she died of uterine cancer on Monday,
June 6, 2005, at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York.
Born Anna Maria Italiano in 1931, in New York's Bronx, she developed
her love of acting at an early age and began as a regular on live
television dramas, using the name Anne Marno.
However, upon her move into films in the early 1950s, that name
was deemed 'too ethnic' and filmmakers gave her a choice of new
She subsequently chose Bancroft because 'it sounded dignified'.
Her big breakthrough came on the stage, however, when she won
a Tony Award in 1958 for Two For The Seesaw, opposite Henry Fonda,
on Broadway in 1958.
She also first appeared in The Miracle
Worker on stage, and it was that role that helped launch her big
screen career, quickly earning a reputation as one of the most
talented leading ladies of her generation.
In the 1960s alone, she earned three Oscar nominations despite
only appearing ina few films.
While her popularity continued to grow throughout the Seventies,
with films such as Richard Attenborough's Young Winston and The
Prisoner of Second Avenue, with Jack Lemmon.
In 1964, she married comedian, Mel Brooks, whom she went on to
appear alongside in the 1980s film, To Be Or Not To Be.
And she also delivered another memorable performance alongside
Anthony Hopkins in 84 Charing Cross Road.
Despite moving away from the movie limelight as she got older,
her television work generated just as much acclaim and she received
six Emmy nominations since 1992.
Of her recent movie roles, she contributed memorably to films
such as Great Expectations, Keeping The Faith and animated hit,
Given her love and background in theatre, she was also credited
with persuading her husband to work on a stage musical version
of his film The
Producers, which can currently be seen in both the West End
and on Broadway.
The Graduate was also turned into a West End hit, with Kathleen
Turner delivering an equally memorable performance as Mrs Robinson.
Incredibly, Bancroft did come to view the iconic role as something
of a mixed blessing, in that she felt it had overshadowed many
of her other acting achievements.
Speaking in 2003, she was quoted as saying: "I am quite
surprised that with all my work - and some of it is very, very
good - that nobody talks about The Miracle Worker.
"We're talking about Mrs Robinson. I understand the world...
I'm just a little dismayed that people aren't beyond it yet."