1. People & Relationships

Discuss in our forum

Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks Marriage Profile

By

Photo: Paul Hawthorne / Getty Images

Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks at opening night party for "Squeeze Box" in New York City, July 27, 2004

Photo: Paul Hawthorne / Getty Images

What You Can Learn From the Marriage of Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks:

You can learn that interfaith marriages can be happy and long-lasting. Their interfaith marriage was described as one of the happiest marriages in the entertainment business. The 41-year marriage of Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks ended on June 6, 2005, when Anne died of uterine cancer.
Fast Marriage Facts - Mel and Anne
Met: 1961.
Married: August 5, 1964.
Marriage Ended: 2005, Anne's death.
First Marriage: No.

Did You Know?
The witness for their wedding was Andrew Boone, a stranger Mel met in the Clerk's office on their wedding day.

Born:

Anne Bancroft aka Anna Maria Louisa Italiano: September 17, 1931 in the Bronx, New York. She also used the name Anne Marno early in her acting career.

Mel Brooks aka Melvin James Kaminsky: June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York.

Died:

Anne: At 73 years of age, Anne died from uterine cancer on June 6, 2005 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, New York. Although the funeral services were private, on Broadway, the lights of the Great White Way were dimmed in Bancroft's honor.
Susan Stroman, director and choreographer, about Mel's grief: "I speak to him almost every day. He is grieving and it is hard for him to be out in crowds. He misses her so. They were inseparable."
Source: Washington Times

How Anne and Mel Met:

Anne and Mel met when she was rehearsing for the Perry Como television show the musical number, "Married I can Always Get." She was wearing a white suit. Mel Brooks called from offstage, "I'm Mel Brooks." She told her psychiatrist the next day that she had met the right man.

Mel bribed an employee of the television show to find out where Anne was going to have dinner that evening. He wanted to appear to accidentally meet her again so he could talk with her some more.

Anne: "Mel had a lethal weapon: he made me laugh to death. I fell instantly in love with him."
Source: James Robert Parish. It's Good to Be the King: The Seriously Funny life of Mel Brooks. 2008. pg. 159.
James Robert Parish: "Bancroft claimed that Brooks never actually proposed to her, but that she asked him to get married and he finally said yes."
Source: James Robert Parish. It's Good to Be the King: The Seriously Funny life of Mel Brooks. 2008. pg. 161.
Mel on first meeting Anne: "I fell in love with her then and there."
Source: Eonline in an interview with columnist Liz Smith.

Wedding Date and Ceremony:

Anne and Mel were married on August 5, 1964 at the New York City Hall. They asked a stranger, Andrew Boone to be the witness for their wedding. They forgot the wedding rings so Anne used one of her silver earrings as a ring.

Previous Marriages:

Anne Bancroft married Martin A. May, a building contractor, on July 1, 1953 in a secret civil ceremony. They later remarried in a Catholic ceremony in New York. Their marriage ended in divorce on February 13, 1957.
Anne: "Call it different temperaments. He's blond and I'm brunette ... He's from Texas and I'm from the Bronx. Texans will never understand Latins, and vice versa."
Source: James Robert Parish. It's Good to Be the King: The Seriously Funny life of Mel Brooks. 2008. pg. 137.
Martin: "Annie was intense about everything ... She was either a hungry tiger or a lovable lap dog ... She tried to combine two loves -- one a marriage and the other a career. The career turned out to be the greater of the two."
Source: James Robert Parish. It's Good to Be the King: The Seriously Funny life of Mel Brooks. 2008. pg. 137.

Mel Brooks married Florence Baum in 1951. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1962.

Children:

Anne and Mel had one son, Maximilian (Max) Michael Brooks, who was born in 1972 in New York.

Mel and Florence had three children: Stefanie, Nicky, and Eddie.

Education:

Anne attended the American Academy for Dramatic Arts, the Actors Studio, and the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women at UCLA.

Mel attended the Eastern District High School in Brighton Beach, NY.

Occupations:

Anne Bancroft: Actress, director, and screenwriter.

Mel Brooks: Served as a combat engineer defusing landmines in North Africa in the U.S. Army during World War II. Comedian, director, and film producer.

Religion:

Mel, Judaism. Anne, Catholic.
James Robert Parish: "Although neither Brooks nor Bancroft was especially religious, it was important to Anne to have her infant undergo a ritual celebrating his birth. The couple agreed that if Mel permitted Max to be baptized, then Anne would go along with the youngster being bar mitzvahed when he turned 13."
Source: James Robert Parish. It's Good to Be the King: The Seriously Funny life of Mel Brooks. 2008. pgs. 194-195.

Residences:

Anne and Mel owned homes on both coasts of the U.S.

Quotes About the Marriage of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft:

Anne: "People think we're an unlikely couple. Wrong; we're perfect. He's terribly funny all the time. i'm not above competing, and at first maybe I would try to top him. Now, I'd rather just sit back, laugh and enjoy, y'know? Maybe 'cause I discovered early, I couldn't."
Source: James Robert Parish. It's Good to Be the King: The Seriously Funny life of Mel Brooks. 2008. pg. 162.

Mel: "She [Anne] is a remarkable woman. Every year I see her grow more as a person and as an artist. I really like her, you know? As well as love her ... I think that that's really what a good relationship is based on -- liking each other. If someone tried to pin me down on what makes a relationship work -- 'Is it having enough money?' 'Is it sex?' -- I would say, 'It's good company."
Source: James Robert Parish. It's Good to Be the King: The Seriously Funny life of Mel Brooks. 2008. pg. 224.

Anne: "We have the same values. We think alike about what's important and what makes us happy."
Source: James Robert Parish. It's Good to Be the King: The Seriously Funny life of Mel Brooks. 2008. pg. 252.

Anne on the key to long term marital success: "Just working hard."
Source: News Star.

Anne giving another marriage tip about not talking about business: "We rarely talk about work. I think it's very difficult to be married no matter whether it's in Hollywood or Pocatello, Idaho."
Source: CNN.com

Anne: "The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they're too old to do it."
Source: HealthBehavior.com.

Anne: "When Mel told his Jewish mother he was marrying an Italian girl, she said: 'Bring her over. I'll be in the kitchen - with my head in the oven'."
Source: BBC

Anne about having her heart flutter when Mel comes home: "I don't quite jump for joy, but I am awfully glad to see him."
Source: News Star

Anne about her funeral: In 1995, Anne said she wanted a big funeral and that she would like her husband, Mel, to sing at it. "I'd like my husband to sing at it."
Source: Eonline.com.

Suggested Reading

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.