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Wednesday, June 15, 2005
SHE LAY DOWN ON BED, and her svelte leg made an inverted V, faming poor Benjamin Braddock. Against the bleak will of such a woman, theyouing man was no match -- just a light lunch for the spider queen. That seduction scene from The Graduate showed the uses to which ANNE BANCROFT, 73, who died last week of uterine cancer, could apply her fierce intelligent and bold sexuality. As the predatory mother figure Mrs. Robinson, Bancroft (though she was only six years older than her co-star Dustin Hoffman) created a Francis Bacon portrait of brains gone to waste, and lust as idle combat.

Smart and stinging -- that was Bancroft at her best.

Born Anna Maria Louisa Italiana, she was groomed as a standard babe when Hollywood singed her at 20. It was like fitting a firestorm for a corset. She returned to New York City, and in 1958 became a Broadway star as the spitrited Gittel in William Gibson's Two for the Seesaw. The next year she found her great role, as Anne Sullivan, teh half-blind teacher of the blind and deaf Helen Keller, in Gibson's The Miracle Worker. Bancroft's ferocity, starkly colliding and beautifully meshing with Patty Duke's as Helen, made the paly (and the 1962 film) a pure, intense parable of love. As Mrs. Robinson sucked life out of her prey, Anne forced life into Helen's isolated mind.

Bancroft got to exercise her hauteur in a a few later films (The Turning Point, Agnes of God), but her longest most piquant role was as wife, muse and keeper of Mel Brooks. They made an implausable endearing couple; the crazy Brooklyn boy and the Bronx girl who, when they let her, could work miracles.

(abstracted from TIMEMAG by: Richard Vorliss)
posted by infraternam meam @ 2:09 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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