Oral History: Anne Bancroft and the Art of Fighting with Mel Brooks

by Jack Tewksbury July 25, 2019
Actress Anne Bancroft, Golden Globe winner

hfpa archives

For over 40 years the HFPA has recorded famous and celebrated actresses, actors and filmmakers. The world's largest collection of its kind - over 10,000  items - is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Margaret Herrick Library. In this excerpt from our archives from 1986, Anne Bancroft speaks openly about home life with husband Mel Brooks.

“Well, we usually wake up and have a fight. That is the first thing we do. Clear the air, you know. We kiss and make-up. Then Mel goes off to work and then I have fun and then our boy (actor and author Max Brooks) comes home from school and then we have a fight, and we kiss and make-up and then  I  go about my day and see my friends and party all day long and then he comes home. Well, no, that isn’t really the truth but we do have a pretty volatile household, everybody wanting their way own way.  We all fight but mostly it’s really just involved in our work and our getting the food on the table and mending our clothes and, you know, just doing those things. Honestly. We just happen to do it in a very wonderful way.

I fell in love with Mel because he looks like my father and looks like my mother. He’s also very controlling guy but you see I can see through it and I know when he wants to control me and I know why he wants to control and so I let him a lot of the time and sometimes I don’t, but he’s able to accept  this so that’s kind of what keeps us going. We love each other deeply and respect each other and also he’s also a good dancer. Okay?”