Wednesday, June 08, 2005

R.I.P. Anne Bancroft

Her career speaks for itself. And don’t overlook her many stage credits.

I would not be the first to point out that her legendary role as Mrs. Robinson in THE GRADUATE typed her as “the older woman” far too early. As a result, much of her best work surfaces in unexpected places. Her single scene as an alcoholic selling out her daughter for a bottle in MALICE is like a mini-tribute to Thelma Ritter. In an appearance as Marge’s psychiatrist on THE SIMPSONS, her delivery permanently enshrined one line – “Let’s not go nuts” – in the Keenan family pantheon.

Most of all, I admired Anne Bancroft for her marriage to Mel Brooks. Largely because it seemed so improbable: elegance and boisterousness, joined for four decades. Brooks stood in such awe of his wife that he referred to her by both names. Bancroft once said of her husband, “I get excited when I hear his key in the door. It’s like, ‘Ooh! The party’s going to start!”

If there’s a better model in this life, I can’t think of one.