Anna Maria Louisa Italiano, better known as Anne Bancroft (September 17, 1931 June 6, 2005), was an American actress associated with the school of method acting and respected for her acting prowess and versatility.
She was born The Bronx to the children of Italian immigrants, and raised in the Belmont neighborhood. She graduated from Christopher Columbus High School and later attended HB Studio, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Actors Studio, and the American Film Institute's Directing Worship for Women at the University of California. After appearing in several live television dramas as Anne Marno, she was told to change her surname for her film debut in 1952.
Bancroft led an award-winning career across film, theater, and television that spanned more than fifty years and ended with her death to uterine cancer in 2005. She was also married to comedian Mel Brooks from 1964 until her death.
Theater roles with TV Tropes pages:
Film roles with TV Tropes pages:
- Don't Bother to Knock (1952)
- Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)
- The Miracle Worker (1962)
- 7 Women (1966)
- The Graduate (1967)
- The Hindenburg (1975)
- Silent Movie (1976)
- The Turning Point (1977)
- Fatso (1980, also director and writer)
- The Elephant Man (1980)
- To Be or Not to Be (1983)
- Agnes of God (1985)
- Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
- Love Potion Number Nine (1992)
- Malice (1993)
- Point of No Return (1993)
- How to Make an American Quilt (1995)
- Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)
- G.I. Jane (1997)
- Great Expectations (1998)
- Keeping the Faith (2000)
- Heartbreakers (2001)
Television roles with TV Tropes pages:
- What's My Line? (19621964, Mystery Guest, three episodes)
- Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
- Curb Your Enthusiasm (2004, episode: "Opening Night")
Voice acting roles with TV Tropes pages:
- The Simpsons (1994, episode "Fear of Flying")
- Antz (1998)
- Delgo (2008, her final role, released posthumously)
Tropes associated with her work:
- Actor Allusion: In Agnes of God, a birth certificate reveals her character's name as Anna Maria, which was her birth name.
- Adam Westing: In Heartbreakers she plays the mentor to a conwoman who makes her money seducing less attractive men.
- As Herself:
- Casting Gag: In a modern version of Great Expectations of course she plays the Mrs Havisham equivalent (named Mrs Dinsmoor).
- The Danza: She plays Annie in The Miracle Worker and Anna in To Be or Not To Be.
- Directed by Cast Member: She directed and starred in Fatso, which she co-wrote the script of.
- Evil Is Hammy: She embraces this in G.I. Jane.
- I Am Not Spock: You'd think she only starred in The Graduate and nothing else, from how everyone refers to her as Mrs. Robinson. She herself said the film came to overshadow all her other work.
- Method Acting: To prepare for Agnes of God, she spoke to a reverend mother of a convent and attended vespers in that same convent.
- Playing Gertrude:
- Famously in The Graduate, she was only eight years older than her on-screen daughter Katharine Ross and wore make-up to appear older. The director even turned down Ava Gardner for being too old at 45.
- Also in Young Winston, she was only ten years older than on-screen son Simon Ward.
- Posthumous Credit: Delgo, her final role, was released in 2008, three years after her death.
- Stage Names: Her last name Marno was considered "too ethnic", so she chose Bancroft.
- What Could Have Been:
- She was the original choice for Mommie Dearest, but backed out of the project when she was dissatisfied with the screenplay. The film's initial vision was of Joan Crawford as a glamorous Hollywood martyr, but Christina Crawford wanted it to focus more on her abusive behavior.
- She had to pass on the role of Chris in The Exorcist because she was pregnant at the time. Ellen Burstyn played the role in the end.
- She was in the running for Aurora in Terms of Endearment. Shirley MacLaine got it and won an Oscar for her performance.