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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Here's To You Anna Louisa Italiano

Of course, the public knew her as Anne Bancroft and she died of uternine cancer the other day. She was born Anna Louisa Italiano in 1931 in the Bronx. Her parents were working class Italian immigrants. She traveled a long way from the streets of the Bronx. And yet ended up only a few miles away, with a home in Manhattan. She passed away in New York's Mount Sinai Hospital

Tonight, the lights on Broadway have been dimmed in memory of this magnficent actress. Her memorable roles include Annie Sullivan, the beloved teacher of Helen Keller, in both the Broadway play and the movie, The Miracle Worker, for which both she and Patty Duke won Oscars. The role of Gittel Mosca, in the Broadway play Two For The Seesaw, for which she won her first Tony. She also won a Tony for The Miracle Worker. And, of course, her iconic role of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate.

As she matured, she went on to play a mother superior in Agnes of God and a former ballerina who gave up her career for motherhood in The Turning Point.

She played so many challenging and wonderful roles. And equally important, she had that one extemely rare extra that few in Hollwyood or Broadway managed to achieve, a happy marriage of 40 years to comic genius Mel Brooks.

I once wanted to be an actress and Anne Bancroft served as a role model and inspiration to me because of her talent, genius, and dedication to the art and craft of acting.

Rest in Peace Anna Louisa.

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