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Anne Bancroft Quelled Accent (The Miami Herald, April 1953)

The Miami Herald (Miami, Florida); 20 Apr. 1953; pg. 26.

Author: Jimmie Fidler

Hollywood, Cal.–It is a matter of accent with Anne Bancroft, whether Bronxese or English. Handsome Anne was ad libbing cheerily and animatedly with a group of friends when I came on the scene this week at 20th Century Fox. She of the snappy dark eyes was telling how she learned pure English at the age of 16. Before that she spoke Bronxese. 

Only the day before she had been working in scenes in The Kid From Left Field at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, and the matter of American versions of the English language came up. A number of opinions had been advanced. 

It seems the discussions were held over until the day I ran into the group in the studio. I wanted to know more about the background that had produced the language discussion, and Anne told me. She said:

“I’d wanted to be a singer. But I had a bit of bad luck. I got a throat infection, and throat infections do things to one’s voice. Not nice things. So I went to the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York when I was 16 years old.”

“Associating with all those theater people who make a fetish of fine diction soon got rid of my Bronx accent–or at least painted it over.”

“But last year I went back to the Bronx–where I was brought up–and all the old way of speech came back. But I can turn that accent off and on like a faucet. If any producer is thinking of making Destination Bronx, just tell him that Annie doesn’t live there any more–but she still speaks the language.”

I assured Anne that if I got a tip on such production plans I’d pass along her request.

*Classic spoof: the photo that accompanies this column features actress Anne Baxter, not our Anne Bancroft.

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