Anne Bancroft


  "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away."

September 30, 2010

The passing of another great: Arthur Penn. Vanity Fair's excellent piece here.

Watch The Miracle Worker in his honor.

One of the most ferocious slugging matches in town has been waged nightly for the past eight weeks between an amateur fighter from the Bronx, standing 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 122 pounds, and a novice from Manhattan, standing 4 feet 4 3/4 inches tall and weighing 60 pounds.

September 17, 2010

Anne Bancroft, who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Anne Sullivan in The Miracle Worker (1962), was born September 17, 1931. Two conjunctions in Virgo (Sun-Venus and Mercury-Neptune), gave her exceptional attention to detail. The Venus and Neptune influences heightened her creativity and imagination. Mars in Scorpio intensified her drive, focus and charisma, while Jupiter in Leo opened doors in her career as an entertainer on stage and screen.... In her personal life, Moon in Sagittarius gave her an adventurous, fun-loving side, which is what probably caught the attention of her husband, comedian Mel Brooks.

September 13, 2010

I miss your warmth. I miss your grace.
I miss your laugh. I miss your face.

Grab some refreshments, time for some updates! Here are some of the goodies that amassed in my mailbox over the summer.

Beautiful words about Fatso here. My favorites:

I’m writing this the day after Anne Bancroft passed away. Shame on me, in this age of instant electronic communication, for never having even tried to let her know how much this warm, lovely film meant to me and my sisters. And now she is gone. (The fact that Ms. Bancroft, apart from June Allyson, was the only genuine, certifiable star of stage and screen to hail from my part of The Bronx – Throgg’s Neck – just made it that much more special.) But perhaps, in some small measure, I can make up for my lamentable omission by Spreading The Good Word about “Fatso.”

First off – don’t be fooled by the title. The trials and tribulations of tubbiness are definitely NOT what this movie is principally about. To paraphrase a line from her husband’s masterpiece, “The Producers,” this wonderful movie is practically a love letter to growing up Italian-American in New York anywhere from 1940 to 1980. (To my knowledge, the only other film that even comes close is “Marty.”) From the sausage-and-pepper heroes to the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the stairwell to the tomato sauce simmering for hours in the chipped white enamel pots, THIS is the most truthful picture of typical Italian-American family life ever brought to the big screen. I’ve long suspected that Anne Bancroft, Dom DeLuise and Ron Carey weren’t really acting here – they were just reminiscing.

But the MOST authentic and MOST important thing about “Fatso” is the evident affection that the members of the DiNapoli family have for one another – warts, tempers, avoirdupois, and all. Just as in real life, even when the characters are arguing, you can tell that it’s just momentary – not born of lasting anger or hatred, but out of genuine love and concern for the other’s well-being. From every standpoint, this is The Way It Was. It’s The Real Thing.

My sincere condolences go out to Mel Brooks, their son Max and the whole family. May they find solace in wonderful memories and – as Dom DeLuise assures Zi’ Mari’ in the opening scene of the picture – the certainty that she is “in paravise con i santi” even now.

and this nice idea:

In memory of my father, who introduced the film to our large Italian-Irish family, we organized a “Fatso” party where we served food seen/eaten/talked about in the film (including buttered beets and kale), with looping showings of the movie all day.

Meanwhile, other folks are pondering the Italian spoken in a scene from Fatso here.

Mel Brooks sells Water Mill home for $5.3 million

Funnyman Mel Brooks sold his home in Water Mill last month for $5.3 million, according to the Long Island Real Estate Report. The Flying Point Road beach house is just down the street from a home owned by supermodel Christie Brinkley.

Public records show that Brooks purchased the home with his late wife, actress Anne Bancroft, for $2.995 million in 2000. The waterfront home has three bedrooms, two baths and a fireplace and sits on .74 acres. Prior to the couple’s purchase of the home, it was rented for two summers by socialites Alexander and Alexandra Von Furstenberg, published reports say.

Bancroft died in 2005. She was married to Brooks for 40 years. The pair owned property in Lonelyville on Fire Island for many years before moving to the Hamptons, where they briefly owned a home in Southampton before settling in Water Mill.

Poor Peter Walker.

There also was a botched screen test Walker did with Anne Bancroft for “Casablanca” director Michael Curtiz.

“I was nervous as hell,” Walker laughs. “When I get nervous, I get a lot of saliva. This great wad of spit came down and hit Anne, and Curtiz yelled, ‘Cut!’”

So Walker turned to TV.

A star-struck person encounters Anne & Mel (link).

Mel Brooks Remembers Love Anne Bancroft: "We Were Glued Together"

Mel Brooks has made audiences laugh for more than a half century, but it was his wife, the late Anne Bancroft, who made him smile.

It's been nearly five years since the actress passed away, but not a day goes by that Brooks doesn't think about her.

"I had 45 of the greatest years of my life," Brooks says.


His first feature film, 1968's "The Producers," won an Academy Award for best screenplay. It became a Broadway hit in 2001.

"Anne was responsible," Brooks says of turning his Oscar script into a Tony-winning musical. Story continues below Advertisement

Brooks says he was approached by David Geffen to do the musical version of the film, but was reluctant at first. Tensions increased when Geffen suggested bringing in Jerry Herman to write the remainder of the songs. It was then that Bancroft intervened.

"I won't let you do this, if they don't let you do the score," she told him. "That's the only reason to do it, the score."

Brooks went back to Geffen, and told him: "It's me or no musical." And the rest is history as "The Producers" won a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards.

Brooks says Bancroft always had his best interests at heart right until the end. One of the last things she did was help him structure "Young Frankenstein" as a musical.

"She suggested where and when to sing, and what to save (from the film version)," Brooks said. "She was wonderful."

Bancroft did not live to see the show's Broadway opening in late 2007.

"I had to open it without her," Brooks says, choking up. "It was hard. It's still hard."

A Comic History of the Cocktail -- from Life (click on the link for the pic)

"Yes, I'm drinking, Mike. You told me Jon Voight was playing the part!"

We marked the passing of the great Patricia Neal this summer. She and Anne were very dear friends, and as you all know, Anne stepped in for Patricia in Seven Women. David Ehrenstein wrote:

Actually she (Neal) shot several weeks on Seven Women. Anne Bancroft (who so memorably took over for her) told me all about it several years back when I had the unspeakable joy of interviewing her (and having lunch with her, and hanging out and laughing uproariously over her tales of Hollywood, Broadway and her fabulously wacky hubster.) Neal had appeared with Bancroft on stage in The Miracle Worker. When she was asked to step in she did so immediately. "I read the script on the plane to L.A. I had no idea what it was." She had a great time doing it, and she and Ford became a mutual admiration society.

Side note: if you enjoy reading biographies/autobiographies as much as I do, the finest I've ever read is Neal's As I Am. The honesty takes your breath away.

New York Confidential was released on DVD in June! It features a restored print with many extras i.e. the trailer, stills, lobby cards, restoration demo. Commentary track by Alan K. Rode and Kim Morgan. Read all about this film here.

Click here to order!

Did you guys ever read Ebert's 1997 review of The Graduate? Interesting stuff. Here.

...a movie about a young man of limited interest, who gets a chance to sleep with the ranking babe in his neighborhood, and throws it away in order to marry her dorky daughter.

New Yorkers got to see a nice half hour show about Anne & Mel on July 20th -- did any of you see this?

10:30-11pm GREAT ROMANCES OF THE 20TH CENTURY -- Brooks & Bancroft - The relationship between actor Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft, whose marriage has lasted more than 30 years.

Anne and Mel met when she was rehearsing for the Perry Como television show the musical number, "Married I can Always Get." She was wearing a white suit. Mel Brooks called from offstage, "I'm Mel Brooks." She told her psychiatrist the next day that she had met the right man.

Mel bribed an employee of the television show to find out where Anne was going to have dinner that evening. He wanted to appear to accidentally meet her again so he could talk with her some more.

Anne and Mel were married on August 5, 1964 at the New York City Hall. They asked a passer-by to be the witness for their wedding.

Anne and Mel had one son, Maximilian (Max) Michael Brooks, who was born in 1972 in New York. He married Michelle Kholos, a playwright, in 2003. Max is a screenwriter and wrote for "Saturday Night Live."

John Ford and Seven Women -- nice commentary, here.

I truly love this type of genius. Visit the site for cooking instructions!

Dinner en homage to Mrs. Robinson

Cafe Drake is merely preaching to the choir and reading to the already literate when we state the obvious fact that legendary stage and screen actor Anne Bancroft has the most distinguished of careers spanning decades and dozens of awe-inspiring character performances (or more correctly, inhabitations). Still, we're partial to her iconic performance in 1967's The Graduate as the absolute pinnacle of chic perfection and icy glamor. Only more endearing (and disturbing) are the flawed aspects of this semi-tragic figure, but indulging our superficial side we can't get past the wardrobe, the witty sarcasm, the enchanting ennui of the elegant housewife.

In honor of both Ms. Bancroft and her timeless alter ego (though Bancroft stated many times in interviews she found the association tiresome), Cafe Drake presents below an imaginary menu for a guest we will never host, and never could in reality given her fictional status. Then again, that's never stopped us before. Appropriately, we have tailored the evening's meal (food and wine selections) to the time and milieu of Mrs. Robinson, drawing from our archives of retro classics still withstanding time's test.

Cream of Mushroom Soup
Garlic Croutons
California Pinot Noir

Rack of Lamb Dijonnaise
Broiled Tomatoes
Salad of Boston Lettuce and Endive

Cantaloupe in Port

This page is gobs of fun. I love stuff like this.

If you don't already know, everything at the top of today's page is from Fatso.

June 14, 2010

I'll Be So Ladylike, They Won't Notice I've Come!

I'm headed south to Texas for the next few weeks, and the only reason a person should ever do that is if said person is going to visit family (or teach a little girl how to spell w-a-t-e-r). Not a fan of heat here! We're already having unbelievable temps here in the Ann Arbor area.

A sad Texan prayed once: "I wish it would rain -- not so much for me, cuz I've seen it -- but for my 7-year-old." Unless you've ever burned your hand opening a car door, or gotten branded by a seat belt, or driven with two fingers in July....... you just don't understand!

Reid writes with the following:

I thought you would be interested to know that Anne's 1986 film 'night, Mother is receiving its first-ever U.S. DVD release on August 3rd, 2010. Here is a link to pre-order:

I was wondering if you could also mention that some fans are concerned that the DVD does not include a widescreen presentation of the film. If anyone would like to request that a widescreen version be added to the disc, they should do ASAP via this form. Thanks!

How could they possibly, possibly release this film without a widescreen option?? Thank you so much for letting us know.

And thanks to Jody for this wonderful piece of DVD news -- Anne's earliest TV appearances:

The documentary Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg will be released by Docurama Films in a special two-disc special edition DVD set on August 24. Aviva Kempner has directed the film.

The documentary focuses on Gertrude Berg, who wrote, starred in and produced the first successful American sitcom, The Goldbergs, tracing her rise to stardom from her childhood in New York to her early radio days to her work on the sitcom, which earned Berg the first Best Actress Emmy in history. The sitcom ultimately inspired the Broadway musical Molly in 1973.

In addition to the documentary, the DVD set includes interviews with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actor Ed Asner, producers Norman Lear and Gary David Goldberg, and NPR correspondent Susan Stamberg, as well as early career appearances of Anne Bancroft and Steve McQueen. The bonus features have over two hours of additional material including an audio commentary with Aviva Kempner, episodes of The Goldbergs, Gertrude Berg's guest appearances with Edward R. Murrow and on Ed Sullivan, additional scenes and interviews, a Gertrude Berg recipe, and an essay from the director. source 

A great interview with Mel here.

At the Kennedy Center, he sat in the seats of honor alongside President and Mrs. Obama and Bruce Springsteen.

"[The president] was really very sweet. He actually put his arm around me at intermission and said, 'I'm very sorry for your loss. Your wife [Anne Bancroft] was a great actress.' It really was a very lovely moment, very personal."

More of fannetastic Mel here.

His next big project for the stage, he said, is a full-on musical adaptation of “Blazing Saddles,” his irreverent 1974 take on Westerns. If his son, “Zombie Survival Guide” author Max Brooks, has his way, Brooks will also pull together an autobiography.

“Max keeps prodding me,” Brooks said. “He's such a good writer. What I might do, really, is get one of those old-fashioned Walkman tape recorders and think and talk and have somebody put it on paper. It might get very interesting.”

If he does get around to doing it, the memoir might touch on his long marriage to actress Anne Bancroft, who died in 2005 just shy of their 41st anniversary.

“I miss her a lot,” he said. “And you know, they say, ‘Maybe you'll meet somebody.' Meet somebody? You're crazy. A woman is a pain in the neck. You're got to be so lucky to find someone you can both kiss and have a cup of coffee with. Spare me. I'm doing fine.”

Did you see this one? One of Anne's earliest performances (as Anne Marno) -- a small role as Maria Cassini in The Man Who Had Influence for Studio One... from 1950!

We'll have a fine time on Annie's birthday this year (don't we always?):

September 17, Friday – Roddy McDowall and Anne Bancroft both celebrate birthdays today, so TCM will split the day in two to honor two distinguished performers. The Roddy portion kicks off at 6am with Man Hunt (1941), followed by The White Cliffs of Dover (1944; 7:45am) and Holiday in Mexico (1946; 10am). Anne takes over at 12:45pm with The Girl in Black Stockings (1957), followed by The Pumpkin Eater (1964; 2:15pm) 7 Women (1966; 4:15pm) and Young Winston (1972; 5:45pm). (Well, I didn’t say it was an even split.) All times are EST. source

And don't forget TCM's special junior classics lineup -- a great way to spend the summer introducing classic movies to the next generation! Here.

The Hirshhorn began their Summer Camp Apesploitation series with Gorilla at Large. Kelly Gordon, associate curator, said:

I caught Gorilla at Large on TV and was entranced. And let’s face it, you want to see Anne Bancroft and Raymond Burr in ANYTHING, no?

Why, yes. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. Succinctly put!

One of the best assessments of Mrs. Robinson I've ever read here. I agree with Fritz completely.

Today's photo at the top courtesy of Playfilms Productions.

More "Notes"



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