Louise Fletcher Death – Estelle Louise Fletcher, an American actress who portrayed Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest reportedly died at the age of 88. Louise Fletcher passed away at her home in Montdurausse, France on Friday, September 23, 2022. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest movie earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe Award.
Louise Fletcher was born on July 22, 1934, in Birmingham, Alabama, the second of four children of Estelle (née Caldwell) and the Reverend Robert Capers Fletcher, an Episcopalian missionary from Arab, Alabama. Both of her parents were deaf and worked with the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Fletcher’s father founded more than 40 churches for the deaf in Alabama. Fletcher and her siblings Roberta, John, and Georgianna were all born without any hearing loss, so she was taught to speak by a hearing aunt. She received a bachelor’s degree in drama from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1957.
Louise Fletcher also had a recurring role as the Bajoran religious leader Kai Winn Adami in the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–99), as well as the role of Sebastian’s aunt Helen Rosemond in the movie Cruel Intentions (1999). She was nominated for two Emmy Awards for her roles in the television series Picket Fences (1996) and Joan of Arcadia (2004). Her final role was as Rosie in the Netflix series Girlboss (2017).
Fletcher began appearing in several television series including Lawman (1958) and Maverick (1959). (The Maverick episode “The Saga of Waco Williams” with James Garner was the series’ highest-rated episode.)Also in 1959, she appeared in the second episode of the original Untouchables TV series starring Robert Stack, “Ma Barker and Her Boys”, as Elouise.
Fletcher recalled having greater success being cast in Westerns due to her height: “I was 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m; 178 cm) tall, and no television producer thought a tall woman could be sexually attractive to anybody. I was able to get jobs on westerns because the actors were even taller than I was.”
In 1960, Fletcher made two guest appearances on Perry Mason, as defendant Gladys Doyle in “The Case of the Mythical Monkeys”, and as Susan Connolly in “The Case of the Larcenous Lady”. In the summer of 1960, she was cast as Roberta McConnell in the episode “The Bounty Hunter” of Tate, starring David McLean.
In 1974, Fletcher returned to film in the crime drama Thieves Like Us, co-produced by her husband Jerry Bick and Robert Altman, who also directed. When the two had a falling out on Altman’s next project (Nashville (1975)), Altman decided to cast Lily Tomlin for the role of Linnea Reese, initially created for and by Fletcher. Meanwhile, director Miloš Forman saw Fletcher in Thieves and cast her as McMurphy’s nemesis Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975).
She based her performance of the character on the paternalistic way she saw white people treat black people in her native Alabama. Fletcher gained international recognition and fame for the role, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as a BAFTA Award and Golden Globe.
She was only the third actress ever to win an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, and Golden Globe Award for a single performance, after Audrey Hepburn and Liza Minnelli. When Fletcher accepted her Oscar, she used sign language to thank her parents.
After Cuckoo’s Nest, Fletcher had mixed success in film. She made several financially and critically successful films, while others were box-office failures. Fletcher’s film roles were in such features as Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977),
The Cheap Detective (1978), The Lady in Red (1979), The Magician of Lublin (1979), Brainstorm (1983), Firestarter (1984), Invaders From Mars (1986), Flowers in the Attic (1987), Two Moon Junction (1988), Best of the Best (1989), Blue Steel (1990), Virtuosity (1995), High School High (1996), and Cruel Intentions (1999), as the aunt of Ryan Phillippe’s Sebastian. Additionally, she played the character Ruth Shorter, a supporting role, in Aurora Borealis (2005), alongside Joshua Jackson and Donald Sutherland, and appeared in the Fox Faith film The Last Sin Eater (2007).
Fletcher received an honorary degree from Gallaudet University in 1982. In 1998, Fletcher was charged with reckless driving near Leesburg, Virginia, when her vehicle allegedly struck a police officer who was removing a deer carcass from a roadway, resulting in his hospitalization with injuries in both legs.
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