Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy birthday Anne Bancroft

I've loved Anne Bancroft for a long time now. Probably since seeing her in the 1982 To Be Or Not To Be. Not one of her greatest roles, by any stretch, but she's positively radiant and funny and sexy.



After that I saw The Graduate. Talk about funny. Talk about sexy. A mere 6 years older than Dustin Hoffman, she's unflinching as the original cougar.


I met Anne about 6 or 7 years ago--in a doctor's office. She was not expecting to be introduced to people while there, but she was absolutely gracious, charming and every bit as nice as I could have ever hoped. There was a small stretch of time where I got to meet several celebrities and meeting Bancroft was probably the pinnacle. Cyndi Lauper a very close second. I won't mention who the jerks were, but one of them sings "Doctor My Eyes."

I was helping with a charity event and was originally slated to go to her and Mel Brooks's house, to pick up autographed memorabilia for an auction. And instead I had to drive someone to his beach house in Laguna. D'oh! The guy who got to pick up the stuff said he met her and Mel Brooks. Grrrr.

Anne is among the few actors who have won the "triple crown" of acting: a Tony and an Oscar for The Miracle Worker; and Emmys for Annie: the Women in the Life of a Man (which I know nothing about) and Deep in My Heart (ditto). Lucky for us, here's a clip from her first Emmy win--watching it now, it's fucking hysterical:


Aside from her win, Anne was nominated for 4 other Oscars, her last from 1985's Agnes of God. Directed by Norman Jewison, and starring Jane Fonda and Meg Tilly, it's something of a mess, plot-wise, but I think that's the play itself (sorry John Pielmeier, cause I know you're reading this). But it's an interesting piece inasmuch as it features 3 major roles for women, with no major roles for men. Tilly also received an Oscar nomination (losing to Anjelica Houston in Prizzi's Honor). All 3 women have their moments, but Bancroft gets to chew the scenery as a chain smoking nun... you can't beat that (unless you're Geraldine Page in The Trip to Bountiful, who actually won Best Actress that year--a well deserved award, and her 8th nomination). Here's the trailer:


Here she is back a million years ago on What's My Line? (I love these clips, by the way):


Bancroft took a stab at writing and directing, with 1980's Fatso (which I've never seen).

In the 90s she had 2 interesting turns, as a southern Senator in G.I. Jane (the accent is unfortunate, but otherwise she's fun--it's a movie I like a lot). And as an assassin's trainer in Point of No Return.


We lost Bancroft 4 years ago, but her work, and her glow, live on.

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