With divorce rates as breathtakingly high as they are, love these days can seem fickle. This is especially true in the entertainment industry. But, comedian and director Mel Brooks proved that finding something real and lasting in this twinkle-town world of smoke and mirrors is possible.
Show business legend Brooks first laid eyes on his wife-to-be, Anne Bancroft, in 1961, and it didn't take long until a whirlwind romance began.
But, their love story would not have happened if it wasn't for Brooks' blind courage and unwavering approach -- an aspect that, at the time, Bancroft was quite in awe of.
Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft. │Source: Getty Images
They met at a rehearsal for "The Perry Como Show." Speaking about their initial meeting, Bancroft recounted in a vintage interview:
"A guy from way over, from the other side of the theater, said, 'Hey, Anne Bancroft. I'm Mel Brooks.'"
As a highly successful dramatic actress in the industry, Bancroft said men were generally intimidated by her and would hesitate to make any moves. So, the trouper was slightly taken aback by Brooks' straightforward and somewhat refreshing approach.
Anne Bancroft on 11th March 1955. │Source: Getty Images
His direct manner continued onwards as the comedy icon pursued her without any hesitation. This tenacious man always ensured he was in the same place as her. As she recalled, after his initial brash greeting at the rehearsal:
"He never left me from that moment on."
Bancroft thanked God for the multi-award-winning entertainers' candid approach -- she said she loved him from the moment she met him.
Mel Brooks with his wife, Anne Bancroft, at a TV Academy Ball in December 1974. │Source: Getty Images
JUST ANOTHER SILLY LOVE STORY
This would not be the first time walking down the aisle for Brooks and his bride-to-be. Brooks was married when he met Bancroft, but he eventually got divorced in 1962.
He said his "I do's" with ex-dancer Florence Baum in 1953. He and Baum had three children together during their almost-decade-long marriage.
Meanwhile, Bancroft was already a divorcee at the time -- her marriage to Martin May had already ended in 1957. Both now free to live the rest of their lives together, Brooks and Bancroft married in 1964 in New York City Hall.
Mel Brooks onstage at the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood. │Source: Getty Images
They had one son together in 1972 named Max Brooks, who became a noteworthy writer with a penchant for his parent's artistic abilities.
Brooks churned out many projects. Perhaps one of the most well-known was the original book "World War Z," adapted into a commercially successful film starring A-list actor Brad Pitt.
Max Brooks with his father Mel Brooks at the 20th anniversary screening of "The Shawshank Redemption" on November 18, 2014 in Beverly Hills. │Source: Getty Images
Bancroft was Catholic, while Brooks was Jewish. But, despite the difference in religion, the actress's mother gave Bancroft and her fiancé her blessing. Bancroft said:
"My mother was so happy; she didn't even care if he was Mel Brooks, Jewish, or what. She was just happy he was a man!"
Their marriage appeared full of laughter as the award-winning actress said that her husband always had her in stitches. This ability to keep his wife laughing is perhaps partially why their "I do's" remained so enduring.
Mel Brooks and his wife-to-be Anne Bancroft finding out that Anne won the Academy Award in April 2009. │Source: Getty Images
But, Bancroft gave much more grounded answers as to why their marriage lasted so long. The filmmaker and funny guy said:
"You know, it took because Anne and I both grew up during the marriage; we both grew up."
Beyond that, he explained, he and Bancroft had their priorities straight and were aware of what was important. He said they also knew what real love was.
Mel Brooks at the 70th EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) on February 12, 2017 in London. │Source: Getty Images
A HEARTBREAKING GOODBYE
They remained married until 2005, when Bancroft tragically passed away from uterine cancer. The death of his beloved wife was extremely difficult for Brooks. He said it would have been great if she lived up until 90 years old and expressed:
"How many people could stand their wives for 24 hours? I could cry now. She was easy… She was fun."
The two were not only lovers but also collaborators. One film they worked on together was "The Elephant Man," which Brooks produced and Bancroft starred in. The two also co-starred in the 1983 rendition of "To Be or Not To Be."
Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks at the opening night party for "Squeeze Box" in, 2004 in New York. │Source: Getty Images
NEVER TRULY OVER
He also spoke about how she supported him when they first got married and was still trying to break into the industry. He claimed that she was always his cheerleader and believed in him. Brooks stated:
"Living this life without her is not easy."
Reminiscing on their daily life together, the actor mourned the multiple daily kisses and delicious spaghetti. He spoke about how she always encouraged him to follow his heart. The filmmaker talked about how much of an adventure their life turned out to be because of this philosophy.
Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks at the Opening Night of "The Producers" in Hollywood. │Source: Getty Images
Brooks will always have a piece of his heart missing where the love of his life used to be -- a rarity and yet a beautiful example that love can last in sin-city.
Anne Bancroft with her name on two theatre marquees. She was meant to star in the new play "Golda," was to appear in the show at the Wilbur Theatre. But, a fire at the theatre forced the show across the street, resulting in identical marquis. │Source: Getty Images
SOULMATES FOR LIFE
While the gossip sites may imply otherwise, it looks like Brooks and Bancroft aren't the only ones who have been able to share ever-lasting love among the glitz and glam of Hollywood.
Actor Patrick Duffy was married to ballerina dancer Carlyn Rosser from 1974 to 2017, when she suddenly passed away. He was so heartbroken, considering himself still married to her after she died.
They met when Duffy was a narrator in a dance troupe's school performance. He spent time on the tour bus with ballerinas. One dancer caught his eye -- and from there, their love blossomed.
Patrick Duffy and his wife Carlyn Rosser at the Annual Academy Country Music Awards in California.┃Source: Getty Images
When Rosser passed away, it was a deeply painful experience for everyone involved. But, the trouper said he has no single regret about the beautiful journey he shared with Rosser.
Eventually, Duffy did manage to move on -- as slowly and surely, sparks began to form between him and an old friend, "Happy Days" actress Linda Purl. By 2020, it became public knowledge that the two were romantically involved.
Duffy believes that his late wife would have supported his relationship as she would have wanted him to be happy. We are sure he is right and that if either of these two men's wives could speak, they would tell them that all they want for both of them is to smile once again.
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