Anna Maria Louisa Italiano (September 17, 1931 – June 6, 2005), known professionally as Anne Bancroft, was an American actress, director, screenwriter, and singer associated with the method acting school, having studied under Lee Strasberg. Respected for her acting prowess and versatility, Bancroft was acknowledged for her work in film, theatre, and television. She won one Academy Award, three BAFTA Awards, two Golden Globes, two Tony Awards, and two Emmy Awards, and several other awards and nominations.After her film debut in Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) and a string of supporting film roles during the 1950s, she won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her lead role in The Miracle Worker (1962) as the teacher of young Helen Keller, reprising her role from the 1959 Broadway stage play in which she had won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. On Broadway in 1965, she played a medieval nun obsessed with a priest (Jason Robards) in John Whiting’s play The Devils, based on the Aldous Huxley novel The Devils of Loudun.
She was perhaps best known as the seductress, Mrs. Robinson, in The Graduate (1967), a role that she later said had come to overshadow her other work.
Bancroft received several other Oscar nominations and continued in lead roles until the late 1980s; notable film roles during this time include The Turning Point (1977) and Agnes of God (1985). In 1987, she starred with Anthony Hopkins in 84 Charing Cross Road. She appeared in several movies directed or produced by her second husband, comedian Mel Brooks, including the award-winning drama The Elephant Man (1980), as well as comedies To Be or Not to Be (1983) and Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995). She received an Emmy Award nomination for 2001’s Haven, and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (2003). She died two years later, in 2005, after battling cancer.