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1930s & Earlier / Ann Bancroft
Born as Anna Maria Italiano in the Bronx in 1931, Anne Bancroft didn't quite fall into the category of a 'classic' actress. She didn't break into films until 1952. But she appeared on screen with Marilyn Monroe, Richard Widmark, Cornel Wilde, Susan Hayward, and Victor Mature. After appearing in her first film, but not really finding the roles she wanted, she returned to New York and the stage, finding success, and a Tony award opposite Henry Fonda in 'Two For the Seesaw' (1958). The following year she appeared in the stage version of 'The Miracle Worker', and eventually returned to Hollywood in 1962, starring with Patty Duke in the film adaptation of the play, and winning a Best Actress Oscar with her first nomination. She was on a roll throughout the 60's, including a second Best Actress Oscar nomination for 'The Pumpkin Eater' (1964), then '7 Women' (1966), and finally her famous role as Mrs. Robinson in 'The Graduate' (1967), resulting in another Oscar nomination and a lifetime association with the part. She was nominated five times for Best Actress. Ann was married to the great comedy director Mel Brooks since 1964, and worked with him many times. She was still a very young 73 years old when she passed away on June 6, 2005, and is missed by so many of us.