Bancroft's career spanned most of the second half of the twentieth century. She made her film and theater debut in the early 1950s and continued working until shortly before her death. She was nominated for numerous awards over the course of her career, and won an Academy Award for her performance in The Miracle Worker. The role that she is most well-known for, however, is her portrayal of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, a groundbreaking film that became a pop culture icon.
Bancroft, who was married to actor Mel Brooks, died in 2005 of uterine cancer. She was buried in Kensico Cemetery, near the graves of her parents.
Kensico Cemetery was founded in 1889. At the time, many city cemeteries were becoming overcrowded and unsanitary, and city planners began to encourage rural cemeteries, which were intended to be quiet and serene, providing a peaceful place for families to visit the graves of their loved ones. Kensico's planners took advantage of the landscape, allowing roads to follow the natural curves and hills of the land.