Happy Birthday, Dustin Hoffman!

Dustin Hoffman became an octogenarian today! Among his many acting roles, one of Hoffman’s most famous is that of Benjamin Braddock, the hapless title character of 1967’s The Graduate. He starred alongside Anne Bancroft, known as the older seductress Mrs. Robinson. Anne Bancroft: A Life by Douglass K. Daniel mentions that Hoffman “had been impressive in stage work in New York and brought [a] kind of sweet goofiness to the part.”

Below is an excerpt from the book. Here, Hoffman and Bancroft are presenting together at the Oscars nearly three decades after The Graduate was released.

Those films had not yet been released when, in March 1993, Anne appeared on the Academy Awards show to present an Oscar for screenwriting. Presenting with her was her Graduate costar, Dustin Hoffman. In the years since their film Hoffman had starred in three best picture winners in three different decades—Midnight Cowboy, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Rain Man—and had won Oscars for the latter two films. None was more popular than The Graduate. Hoffman played off that nostalgia when he and Anne presented the awards for screenwriting via satellite from New York. It seems that Anne had not completed the description of the award for a screenplay written directly for the screen, and Hoffman added, “and not previously published or produced.” She turned to him and said, “Thank you,” but continued to hold him in her gaze.

Her former costar looked at her not once but twice before asking, “Are you trying to seduce me?” As the reference to the line from The Graduate drew laughter and applause, Anne smiled and turned to the audience and said, “Not anymore.” Both cracked up along with those in the room. “Oh, boy,” she said after Hoffman hugged her, “are we having fun.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Bancroft’s role in The Graduate and other films, pick up Anne Bancroft: A Life by Douglass K. Daniel, forthcoming from UPK in September 2017.

THE GRADUATE, from left: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, 1967

Anne and Dustin Hoffman in the seduction scene in The Graduate (1967). The huge financial and critical success forever set her in the public’s mind as the sexy Mrs. Robinson. Everett Collection

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About University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky has a dual mission—the publication of books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields for a largely academic audience and the publication of books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia. The Press is the statewide mandated nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, operated as an agency of the University of Kentucky and serving all state institutions of higher learning, plus five private colleges and Kentucky's two major historical societies.

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