Anna Maria Louisa Italiano was born on September 17, 1931 in the Bronx, New York. She made her professional debut on television in an adaptation of Turgenev's Torrents of Spring. She had a supporting role in "Don't Bother To Knock" , starring Marilyn Monroe. In search of better roles, she headed back to New York and the stage, and there met with great success opposite Henry Fonda in the 1958 production of Two for the Seesaw (for which she won a Tony) and with what was to become the first of her signature roles as Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker which in 1959 brought her another Tony as well as a New York Drama Critics Award. She returned to Hollywood in 1962, to reprise her role as Annie Sullivan in the film version of "The Miracle Worker", with Patty Duke. Her outstanding performance earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress.
She followed with an Oscar-nominated performance in the British-made "The Pumpkin Eater" (1964), a bleak tale of marital strife scripted by celebrated playwright Harold Pinter. She also appeared in John Ford's final feature, "7 Women" (1966). The second of her signature roles was as Mrs. Robinson, the sexually frustrated upper-middle-class wife who icily seduces Dustin Hoffman in 1967's "The Graduate" (The role brought her another Oscar nomination).
She appeared in roles both comic and dramatic throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including an unbilled cameo in her husband Mel Brooks' Silent Movie (1976) and a full lead opposite him in a 1983 remake of Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be She also appeared in several pictures made by Brooks' production company Brooksfilms, including David Lynch's "The Elephant Man" (1980) and the 1987 sleeper "84 Charing Cross Road" Her directing and screenwriting debut, 1979's Fatso received mixed notices. Along the way she earned yet another Best Actress nomination, for her role opposite Shirley MacLaine in the battle-of-the-bitchy-exballet-dancers melodrama "The Turning Point" (1977), and one more as the Mother Superior, opposite Jane Fonda, in "Agnes of God" (1985). In 1985, she starred in "Garbo Talks" (1985) a film about a dying Mother whose last wish is to meet Great Garbo.
In recent years, Anne has made many cameo appearances in such films as "Love Potion No. 9" (1992), "Honeymoon in Vegas" (1992),as Nicolas Cage's dying mother, "Point of No Return" (1993), "Malice" (1993), playing Nicole Kidman's "dead" mother, and "Mr. Jones" (1993).