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People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- June 20, 2005
- Vol. 63
- No. 24
What's That You Say, Mrs. Robinson? the Versatile Actress Won An Oscar and Tonys but Was Best Known as The Graduate's Seducer
Who can blame them? As the husky-voiced suburban matron who seduces Dustin Hoffman in 1967's The Graduate, the actress left an indelible impression on a generation of moviegoers. For Bancroft, who died at 73 of uterine cancer June 6, it was simply another role. "She wasn't a 'personality' type of performer; she tried to become the character she played," says Entertainment Tonight film historian Leonard Maltin. Off-camera, "she was so warm and generous and sweet and a complete toughie all at the same time," says Jenna Elfman, her costar in 2000's Keeping the Faith.
Born in The Bronx as Anna Maria Louisa Italiano, she began her career in the '50s as a B-movie actress in Hollywood before gaining Broadway acclaim. In 1961 she met Mel Brooks, whom she wed three years later, and had a son, Max, now 33 and a voice-over actor. "She was the consummate everything," says their friend, producer David Geffen. "Actress, comedienne, beauty, mother and wife. She made it all look easy."
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