Louise Fletcher, whose Academy Award-winning performance as the sadistic nurse won her in 1975 Someone flew over the cuckoo’s nest Hollywood has given one of the greatest villains of all time and given culture an image of an indelible bureaucratic evil that the character’s last name could carry into a TV series 45 years later, and she died Friday at her home in Montdoraus, France. She was 88 years old.
Her death was announced to deadline by her family through agent David Shaul. Although a cause has not been identified, Shaul said she died in her sleep in the house she had built on a 300-year-old farmhouse, surrounded by her family. Earlier today, she told her family of her beloved home, “I can’t believe I have created something meaningful for my well-being.”
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Although Fletcher has been forever associated with her most famous character, Fletcher has enjoyed an acting career that spanned over 60 years and included numerous performances in both television and film. She had a recurring role in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine As religious leader Bajoran Kai Win Adami, and guest starring in roles picket fences And the Jean Arcadia It brought in Emmy nominations in 1996 and 2004, respectively.
Born on July 22, 1934, in Birmingham, Alabama, to deaf parents—she used sign language in her Academy Award acceptance speech, one of the Academy’s most memorable moments (watch it below)—Fletcher began her acting career in the late 1950s in Like this episode. TV series Lawman, Pat Masterson, Maverick, Untouchables And the 77 Sunset Strip.
Similar roles followed in a steady clip throughout the 1960s, with appearances Sugarfoot, Perry Mason And the The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. Appeared in the 1963 film Eagles gathering Fortunately in 1974 Thieves like usDirected by Robert Altman. It was her performance in the last film that caught the attention of director Milos Forman, who was in the process of selecting his film adaptation of Someone flew over the cuckoo’s nest, Ken Casey’s 1962 novel is set in a mental institution and centers on the conflict between a man who pretends to be insane to avoid prison and a tyrannical chief nurse who demands compliance at all costs.
with Jack Nicholson slated to star as Randall McMurphy, the stubborn anti-hero patient, Foreman spent the greater part of the year searching for a potential co-star who could stand up to the actor, then jump high after her success. Chinatown. The director reportedly made offers to Colin Dewhurst, Elaine Burstyn, Anne Bancroft and Geraldine Page, among others, before deciding that he had found his despot Mildred Ratched in Fletcher.
Someone flew over the cuckoo’s nest An instant and box office hit, it would sweep this year’s Academy Awards by winning awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, and Best Screenplay for the work of Lawrence Hoppen and Beau Goldman.
By winning an Academy Award, Fletcher became the third woman to win an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe Award for a single performance. Her portrayal was so indelible that in 2020, Ryan Murphy-Evan Romansky’s Netflix series torn — a prequel of sorts for the novel and the movie, with Sarah Paulson in the title role — you’d only need a one-word title to evoke the sense of awe and cruelty conveyed by Fletcher decades ago.
I later remembered that the effect of winning an Oscar was exhilarating but fleeting. In a 1995 interview with New York timesShe advised that year’s winners, “Just enjoy it. It will make you wonderfully happy for a night. But don’t expect to do anything for your career.”
“I got an Oscar when I was 41,” said Fletcher, who was 60 at the time. “If I had been 23, it would have been hard to handle. Hell, at my age it was hard to handle. It was like throwing Explosive device “.
And in the same interview, she recalled a prophetic comment that Czech-born Foreman made behind the scenes on Oscar night. “Now we’re all going to flop,” Milos said. It was right. I made heretic – Second Exorcist – And it was a huge fluctuation. verb melos Ragtime. And Jack did [The] Missouri BRICS. This is a Czech prophecy. “
Exorcist II: Heretic (1977) heralded a series of high-profile but less successful films for Fletcher: cheap detective (1978), The lady in red (1979), Brainstorming (1983), blue steel (1990) and Bad intentions (1999), among others. In a memorable role, she played the mother of Karen and Richard Carpenter Ratched in the 1989 TV movie Karen Carpenter’s story.
A revival of her career began only a few years later when, in 1993, she landed the recurring role of disingenuous religious leader Bajaur Kai Win Adami in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In 1996 hosted picket fences As another cold-as-ice-like character, she plays the mother of the estranged mayor (portrayed by deaf actor Marley Matlin). As a woman who rejected her deaf daughter, Fletcher earned an Emmy Award nomination.
Fletcher was nominated for another Emmy for her 2004 guest appearance as an elderly music teacher in Jean Arcadia.
Subsequent television roles included appearing in 7th Heaven, Private Practice And from 2011 to 2012, shameless, in which she is memorably repeated as Frank Gallagher’s Methamphetamine Mother of William H. Macy. Her last TV credit was in the 2017 Netflix Comedy Girlboss.
Fletcher was married to film producer Jerry Peck from 1959 until their divorce in 1977. She is survived by sons John and Andrew Peck. granddaughter of Emily Kaia Beck; Sister Roberta Ray and brother-in-law Edward Ray; And 10 daughters and sons.
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