Anne Bancroft Dies
Anne Bancroft Dies
Jun 7 2005, 11:38 PM
Joined: 22-December 02
Member No.: 125
Anne Bancroft, the original Mrs Robinson, dies aged 73
Dan Glaister in Santa Maria
Wednesday June 8, 2005
The Oscar-winning actor Anne Bancroft, who immortalised the role of the graduate-seducing Mrs Robinson on the big screen, has died at the age of 73.
A spokesman for her husband, Mel Brooks, announced yesterday that she had died of uterine cancer at a hospital in Los Angeles on Monday.
Bancroft, who chose her name from a book of names handed to her by a Hollywood studio, is best remembered for her portrayal of the bored housewife in The Graduate.
The poster of the middle-aged seductress peeling off a stocking before the bewildered gaze of her daughter's boyfriend, played by Dustin Hoffman, is one of Hollywood's most enduring images.
In a statement released yesterday to Associated Press, Mike Nichols, who directed Bancroft in The Graduate, said: "Her combination of brains, humour, frankness and sense were unlike any other artist. Her beauty was constantly shifting with her roles, and because she was a consummate actress she changed radically for every part."
But although Bancroft was nominated for an Oscar for The Graduate, she did not win. But she did receive the accolade for her work in the other major film performance in her career, as the teacher of a young Helen Keller in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker.
Despite that success, it was as Mrs Robinson of Beverly Hills that she will be remembered, the bored housewife who is challenged by Dustin Hoffmann with the words: Mrs Robinson, you're trying to seduce me ... Aren't you?"
The focus on that one role in an acting career that spanned 50 years of work in film, television and the theatre frustrated Bancroft. She told an interviewer in 2003: "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."
Born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano on September 17 1931 in the Bronx, New York, she wanted to be an actor at an early age. But it was only at her mother's insistence that she abandoned her plans to be a laboratory technician and enrolled in New York's Academy of Dramatic Arts.
She appeared in 50 television shows in two years during the heydey of live television, later describing the work as "the greatest school that one could go to".
In 1952 Hollywood came calling and she left New York to sign for 20th Century Fox. At the studio's insistence she changed her name to Bancroft - "because it sounded dignified"- and appeared in several low-budget features, including Gorilla at Large, Demetrius and the Gladiators and Treasure of the Golden Condor.
Disheartened and after the end of her first brief marriage she returned to New York and the theatre in 1958. She appeared in Two for the Seesaw opposite Henry Fonda for which she won a Tony award. Shortly after, she met her second husband, Mel Brooks.
Theatre and film versions of The Miracle Worker followed. Her other Oscar nominations were for The Pumpkin Eater, The Turning Point and Agnes of God. She worked with Brooks in three of his films, and attempted a return to the stage in 2002, abandoned when she was taken ill with pneumonia.
But none of her roles matched her early success with The Graduate and film The Miracle Worker.
Despite her disappointment at the focus on The Graduate she nevertheless valued her performance. "Film critics said I gave a voice to the fear we all have," she said in 2003, "that we'll reach a certain point in our lives, look around and realise that all the things we said we'd do and become will never come to be - and that we're ordinary."
Yin To Your Yang
All of those rocks there, all of them,
Thrown at us for as long as we can remember.
All of our dreams, all of them,
Flattened and crushed, as soon as they start taking shape.
Ah baby, who do they take us for.
Battered and bruised,
Killing? Not their aim.
Keeping us in an unimportant place is what this is about.
Ah baby, who do they think we are.
Jun 8 2005, 12:19 AM
Joined: 21-June 03
Member No.: 483
she was such a great actress
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