Anne Bancroft, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Helen Keller's teacher in 1962's The Miracle Worker but secured a place in pop culture history five years later as Mrs. Robinson in 1967's The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman, shown here, died of uterine cancer on Monday, June 7, 2005, at Mount Sinai Hospital. She was 73. She was born Anna Maria Louise Italiano on Sept. 17, 1931, in the Bronx to Italian immigrant parents. She recalled scrawling "I want to be an actress" on the back fence of her flat when she was 9. By the '50s she was a B movie and television regular and renamed. She chose Bancroft "because it sounded dignified." She escaped to Broadway in 1958 and won her first Tony opposite Henry Fonda in Two for the Seesaw. The stage and movie versions of The Miracle Worker followed. She received critical acclaim for other movies, including The Turning Point in 1977 and Agnes of God in 1985. After an unhappy three-year marriage to builder Martin May, Bancroft married comedian-director-producer Mel Brooks in 1964. A son, Maximilian, was born in 1972. Bancroft appeared in three of Brooks' comedies. She also was the one who suggested that he make a stage musical of his movie The Producers. She explained that when he was afraid of writing a full-blown musical, including the music, "I sent him to an analyst."
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