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Anonymous Critics Annoy Anne Bancroft (The Times Dispatch, October 1960)

The Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia); 30 Oct. 1960; pg. 98.

Author: Earl Wilson

NEW YORK–I rushed down to West 12th St. in Greenwich Village to interview Anne Bancroft. I was late and she was in a hurry so we talked in clipped phrases (I clipped them personally). 

“Have you got a favorite beef?” I asked.

“My favorite beef is people who write criticizing letters after I’ve done a Jack Paar show and don’t sign their names. I’d love to answer them and tell them they’re nuts. Because they are!”

Miss Bancroft spoke from a sitting position. Her legs were crossed and I noticed that they were pretty. So was she. In a forthright sort of way.

“What could they possibly criticize?” I said.

“The way I talk,” she said, “they say it’s too Bronx. Well, it’s better than not talking at all. Or the way I wear my hair.”

“I like your hair.” I said.

“So do I,” Anne Bancroft said. “They’re just nuts.”

“You’ve been in The Miracle Worker a year–are you happy in it?” I inquired.

“I pretend I’m happy in it,” she shrugged.

Then I asked her a very daring question. I asked her if she wears padding. And she gave me a very daring answer. She said yes.

We were talking about the padding she wears for the knock-down scenes with Patty Duke in the play.

“My shoes are padded, my knees and shins are padded, and I’m also padded in a few other vulnerable places,” she smiled.

“You’re the first girl I’ve met who brags that she’s padded,” I said. “By the way, wouldn’t you like to have your next play give you a chance to show you’re attractive?”

“Sure,” she said, “but I wouldn’t do a play to prove I’m attractive. If the script is great I’d do Abraham Lincoln.”

“Literally?”

“Well, no, I can’t grow a beard.”

Miss Bancroft will be making the movie based on the play next spring and summer. Her last movie, before she got so famous in Two for the Seesaw was *The Lawless Breed with Scott Brady.

“Would you make that movie now?” I asked.

“No.”

“Then what did you make it for?”

“Money.”

“Where do you like to hang out in the village?” I said.

“It’s all according to whether I’m in a drinking mood. I like to sit around in one of the garden places if I’m not in a drinking mood.”

“Miss Bancroft,” I said, “I was reading an interview with Juliette Greco in a French paper in which she said it wasn’t so unusual for Brigitte Bardot to try to kill herself. She said, ‘I, too, have attempted suicide.’ Do you think most actresses have tried to commit suicide?”

“Well I haven’t, if that’s what you’re getting at,” she said.

“That’s what I was getting at.”

“No,” she said, “there are some things I haven’t tried.”

*Anne Bancroft never appeared in the film The Lawless Breed, which was actually released in 1953, starring Rock Hudson and Julie Adams. I believe Wilson meant The Restless Breed (1957), which did actually star Anne Bancroft and Scott Brady.

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