Although Brooks went on to accomplish many things in his long career, he still considers his marriage to Bancroft his greatest accomplishment.
The Hollywood industry bears witness to a great many memorable romances and iconic couples and Mel Brooks' marriage with Anne Bancroft is one of them. According to PEOPLE, Brooks still cherishes every moment they spent together before Bancroft's death in 2005 from uterine cancer at the age of 73. "There were a lot of great kisses and great spaghetti," he said, adding that "living this life without her is not easy."
The 96-year-old Oscar winner met Bancroft for the first time on February 5, 1961, at a taping of a Perry Como TV special. According to CBS, Brooks recalls that he was stunned by her beauty the moment he laid eyes on her during one of her rehearsals. "And she's wearing a white gown and she has jet black, shiny hair and the most beautiful eyes, and the most beautiful figure. And it was just like, I said, 'Kismet? Luck? What?' Anyway, I'm in love. I know I'm just struck by her. I'm struck and I'm in love," Brooks confessed.
Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks married on August 5, 1964. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/xBWRs0hbRs— Aurora (@CitizenScreen) August 5, 2022
By the end of Bancroft's rehearsal, Brooks had screamed out his declaration of love and started pursuing the actress seriously. She soon sensed his determination to win her over, reciprocated his feelings, and three years later, in 1964, the pair tied the knot in the City Hall in Lower Manhattan. The Graduate actress became Brooks' biggest inspiration and supporter in their long and happy marriage.
"She always thought I was talented. She believed in me right from the beginning, as a songwriter as well as a screenplay writer or whatever I wanted to do. She said, 'You can do it,'" he said in 2019.
Anne Bancroft was married to Mel Brooks for 41 years, from 1964 until her death in 2005... they had (1 child... pic.twitter.com/5I2XWfqRgI— Classic Movie Hub (@ClassicMovieHub) September 17, 2021
Although Brooks went on to accomplish many things in his long career, he still considers his marriage to Bancroft his greatest accomplishment and the one he is most proud of. Unfortunately, like all great love stories which come to an end, death separated Bancroft and Brooks in 2005 with her passing away. Death might have separated them physically but Brooks has never stopped loving his wife.
The couple’s son, Max Brooks—who is a successful writer himself—said: "You know, I think my dad is at a time in his life when he's looking back on all he has achieved. And it's no small truth that much of his achievements are because of my mother. My father's the first one to tell you that she saved him."
Want to talk about sinfully underrated celebrity couple goals?— Kayleigh Donaldson (@Ceilidhann) October 21, 2020
Step forward Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft. pic.twitter.com/96wM5kgzLd
Nearly two decades after Bancroft's demise, Brooks is determined to celebrate and commemorate the legacy of his wife. "I just thought, before I die, I would like to see a couple of her movies put together in a box set," he said. The Anne Bancroft Collection box set is available on Blu-ray and it contains her eight iconic films such as, Don't Bother to Knock, The Miracle Worker, The Pumpkin Eater, The Graduate, Fatso, To Be or Not to Be, Agnes of God, and 84 Charing Cross Road. It's available for purchase on Amazon.
"She could be the leading lady or an aide-de-camp," he said. "She could help people, be quietly on their side pushing them, or she could just be on stage with the spotlight and star in something. She was a great gift. She was a gift from God."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives