Louise Fletcher, a late-blooming megastar whose riveting performance because the cruel and calculating Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” set a new widespread for display screen villains and received her an Academy Award, has died at age 88.
Fletcher died in her sleep surrounded with the aid of own family at her domestic in Montdurausse, France, her agent David Shaul advised The Associated Press on Friday. No reason changed into given.
After setting her profession on keep for years to elevate her youngsters, Fletcher changed into in her early 40s and little recognized when selected for the function contrary Jack Nicholson within the 1975 movie by director Milos Forman, who had in demand her paintings the year earlier than in director Robert Altman’s “Thieves Like Us.” At the time, she didn’t realize that many different outstanding stars, including Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn and Angela Lansbury, had turned it down.
“I was the last person cast,” she recalled in a 2004 interview. “It wasn’t until we were midway through taking pictures that I realized the component have been offered to other actresses who didn’t want to appear so terrible on the display screen.”Clutching her Oscar on the 1976 ceremony, Fletcher informed the audience, “It appears as even though you all hated me.”
She then addressed her deaf mother and father in Birmingham, Alabama, speaking and using sign language: “I need to thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come authentic.”
A second of silence changed into accompanied through thunderous applause.
Later that night time, Forman made the wry comment to Fletcher and her co-megastar, Jack Nicholson: “Now all of us will make top notch flops.”
In the short run, as a minimum, he changed into right.
Forman next directed “Hair,” the movie version of the hit Broadway musical that didn’t seize the attraction of the level model. Nicholson directed and starred in “Goin’ South,” generally seemed as one in all his worst films. Fletcher signed on for “Exorcist II: The Heretic,” a misconceived sequel to the landmark original.
Far greater than her male peers, Fletcher changed into hampered with the aid of her age in finding most important roles in Hollywood. Still, she labored constantly for maximum of the relaxation of her lifestyles. Her post-“Cuckoo’s Nest” films blanketed “Mama Dracula,” “Dead Kids” and “The Boy Who Could Fly.”She became nominated for Emmys for her visitor roles on the TV series “Joan of Arcadia” and “Picket Fences,” and had a habitual role as Bajoran religious chief Kai Winn Adami in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” She performed the mother of musical duo Carpenters in 1989′s “The Karen Carpenter Story.”
Fletcher’s career turned into also hampered with the aid of her height. At five-ft-10, she might regularly be dismissed from an audition without delay due to the fact she changed into taller than her leading man.
Fletcher had moved to Los Angeles to launch her appearing profession soon after graduating from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Working as a doctor’s receptionist via day and reading at night time with noted actor and teacher Jeff Corey, she commenced getting one-day jobs on such TV collection as “Wagon Train,” “77 Sunset Strip” and “The Untouchables.”Fletcher married producer Jerry Bick inside the early 1960s and gave beginning to two sons in quick succession. She decided to place her profession on keep to be a live-at-home mother and didn’t work for eleven years.
“I made the choice to stop working, however I didn’t see it as a preference,” she said inside the 2004 interview. “I felt forced to stay at home.”
She divorced Bick in 1977 and he died in 2004.
In “Cuckoo’s Nest,” based on the novel Ken Kesey wrote while taking component in an experimental LSD program, Nicholson’s man or woman, R.P. McMurphy, is a swaggering, small-time crook who feigns madness to get transferred from prison to a mental institution where he won’t ought to work so hard.
Once institutionalized, McMurphy discovers his mental ward is run via Fletcher’s bloodless, imposing Nurse Mildred Ratched, who continues her patients tightly beneath her thumb. As the two conflict, McMurphy all but takes over the ward together with his bravado, main to stiff punishment from Ratched and the institution, in which she restores order.