Louise Fletcher, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Jack Nicholson’s brutal screen character Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” has passed away. She was 88 years old.
Fletcher died peacefully in the company of her family members in her residence at Montdurausse, France, her agent David Shaul told The Associated Press on Friday. There was no cause of death provided.
The iconic 1975 film “Cuckoo’s Nest” followed the patients and the staff of an Oregon mental health facility. The Milos Foreman-directed movie won five Oscars in 1976 including the top prize for best actress, best film and the best film director. Jack Nicholson won the best actor Oscar for his memorable performance as the patient Randle Ph. McMurphy, who flouts the rule of tyranny of the Nurse Ratched in the Ward.
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Louise Fletcher holds the Academy Award she was awarded for her performance on the screen in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” in Los Angeles, March 30 in 1976.
She was raised in Alabama to parents who were deafFletcher was born in Alabama to deaf parents – Fletcher gave an one of the more moving acceptance addresses in Oscar history following her win.
After receiving her Oscar during the ceremony in 1976, Fletcher told the audience with a smile, “It looks as though you all hated me so much. But you have given me this award for it. And I’m loving every minute of it. All I can say is, I’ve loved being hated by you.”
Then she wept as she addressed her parents who were deaf at Birmingham, Alabama, talking and signing: “I want to thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true.”
The silence of a moment was followed a roaring applause.
After placing her career on the back burner for several years in order to raise the children she had, Fletcher aged in the in her 40s, and was not well-known when she was selected to play role in the “Cuckoo’s Nest” role by Foreman who had been awed by her work earlier in the year in Robert Altman’s “Thieves Like Us.” When she was chosen she was unaware that other famous actors like Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn and Angela Lansbury, had turned her down.
Louise Fletcher received an Academy Award for her performance in the role of domineering nurse Ratched who supervises patients in the mental ward with a ferocious hand, causing one to commit suicide.
“I was the last person cast,” she told in an interview in 2004 with the Associated Press interview. “It wasn’t until we were halfway through shooting that I realized the part had been offered to other actresses who didn’t want to appear so horrible on the screen.”
The character was memorable because she was the inspiration for the Ryan Murphy Netflix series, “Ratched,” 45 years after, which starred Sarah Paulson as Nurse Mildred Ratched.
Fletcher was also seen as psychiatrist on “Exorcist II: The Heretic” (1977). In TV, she played Bajoran spiritual chief Kai Winn Adami on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” from 1993 until 1999.
“Her contributions to the Star Trek universe will never be forgotten,” the official “Star Trek” Twitter page tweeted Friday.She was the controlling mother of the famous lead character in the biopic “The Karen Carpenter Story.” In 1996, Fletcher got nominated to win the Emmy Award for a guest appearance on “Picket Fences,” playing the mother of Mayor Laurie Bey (Marlee Matlin).
Matlin has paid an ode to “brilliant actress” on Twitter.
Fletcher most recently was seen as William H. Macy’s meth-dealingand mouthy mother on”Shameless,” a show on Showtime “Shameless,” appeared in the Liev Schreiber film “A Perfect Man” (2013) as well as on”Girlboss,” the Netflix the series “Girlboss.” starring Britt Robertson.