Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Here's To You, Mrs. Robinson

Mrs. Robinson: "Would you like me to seduce you?"

Anne Bancroft seduced us all. Over and over again in movies and plays and TV dramas and interviews. And now she's gone. Far too soon.

I don't know about you, but I feel genuine grief -- similar, in fact, to how I felt when Johnny Carson died. It's like losing a member of the family. I find myself sadly wondering how poor "Uncle Mel" is going to survive without "Aunt Annie."

Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft. We're not talking Ben and Jen here, kids. This is the Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward league.

Especially for those of us near the start of the Boomer curve, Anne Bancroft was a seminal figure in our entertainment universe. More than a star, she was a full-blown planet. She may have been best known for her unforgettable role as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, but she touched most of us first in the virtually antithetical persona of Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker.

No matter what her role, she brought an elegance and an intelligence to everything she did. She took us into her character's heads and hearts, and gave us one hell of a ride.

As a woman, an actress and-by all accounts-a wife, she set the bar very high. She was was smart and funny and real -- a great broad and a tough cookie, on screen and off.

Younger Boomers will remember her as the Texas senator who helped Demi Moore become the first female Navy SEAL in the movie G.I. Jane. She had it already, but she won my heart all over again in an interview for that movie when asked how she felt about women in combat. She said, "I don't think even men should be in combat."

Here's to you, Mrs. Brooks. We all love you more than you will know.

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