Louise Fletcher

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Louise Fletcher
Louise Fletcher (1979).jpg
Fletcher at the National Film Society convention in May 1979.
BornEstelle Louise Fletcher
(1934-07-22) July 22, 1934 (age 79)
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Years active1958–present
Spouse(s)Jerry Bick (1960-1977) (divorced); 2 sons
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Louise Fletcher
Louise Fletcher (1979).jpg
Fletcher at the National Film Society convention in May 1979.
BornEstelle Louise Fletcher
(1934-07-22) July 22, 1934 (age 79)
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Years active1958–present
Spouse(s)Jerry Bick (1960-1977) (divorced); 2 sons

Estelle Louise Fletcher (born July 22, 1934), is an American film and television actress. She initially debuted in television series such as Maverick in 1959 before being cast in Robert Altman's Thieves Like Us (1974). The following year, Fletcher gained international recognition for her performance as Nurse Ratched in the 1975 film One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. Other notable film roles include Brainstorm (1983), Firestarter (1984), Flowers in the Attic (1987), 2 Days in the Valley (1996), and Cruel Intentions (1999).

Later into her career, Fletcher returned to television, appearing as Kai Winn Adami in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as receiving Emmy nominations for her guest starring roles in Picket Fences and Joan of Arcadia. Most recently, Fletcher has appeared in a recurring role on the Showtime television series Shameless in 2011 and 2012, as Frank Gallagher's foul-mouthed and hard-living mother who is serving a prison sentence for manslaughter.

Early life[edit]

Fletcher was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the second of four children to Estelle Caldwell and the Reverend Robert Capers Fletcher, an Episcopal priest from Arab, Alabama. Both of her parents were deaf and worked with the deaf and hard-of-hearing.[1] Fletcher's father founded more than 40 churches for the deaf in Alabama.[2] Fletcher and her siblings, Roberta, John and Georgianna,[2] were all born without any hearing loss;[3] she was taught to speak by a hearing aunt, who also introduced her to acting. After attending the University of North Carolina, she traveled to Los Angeles, California, where she found work as a secretary by day and received acting lessons by night.


With James Garner in Maverick (1959)

Fletcher began appearing in several television series, including Lawman in 1958 and Maverick in 1959. (The Maverick episode, "The Saga of Waco Williams", 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.[4] In 1960 Fletcher made two guest appearances on Perry Mason, both times as the defendant: Gladys Doyle in "The Case of the Mythical Monkeys," and 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 the NBC western television series, Tate, starring David McLean.

In 1974, she returned to film in Thieves Like Us, co-produced by her husband 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 consequently cast her as McMurphy's nemesis Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Fletcher gained international recognition and fame for the role, winning Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as a BAFTA Award and Golden Globe. When Fletcher accepted her Oscar, she used sign language to thank her parents.[5]

After Cuckoo's Nest, Fletcher had mixed success in film. She made several financially and critically successful film, 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 Sebastian's aunt). Additionally, she played the character Ruth Shorter, a supporting role, in the 2005 film Aurora Borealis alongside Joshua Jackson and Donald Sutherland, and appeared in the Fox Faith film The Last Sin Eater (2007).

Fletcher co-starred in such made-for-TV movies as The Karen Carpenter Story (1989) (as Karen and Richard Carpenter's mother, Agnes), Nightmare on the 13th Floor (1990), The Haunting of Seacliff Inn (1994), and The Stepford Husbands (1996). From 1993 to 1999, she held a recurring role in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the scheming Bajoran religious leader Kai Winn Adami. She also earned Emmy Award nominations for her guest roles on the Tom Skerritt's CBS television series, Picket Fences (1996), and later on Joan of Arcadia (2004). In 2009, Fletcher appeared in the NBC series Heroes as the physician mother of character Emma Coolidge. In 2011, she appeared in the Showtime series Shameless as Grammy Gallagher, Frank Gallagher's foul-mouthed and hard-living mother who is serving a prison sentence for manslaughter related to a meth lab explosion.

Personal life[edit]

Fletcher married literary agent and producer Jerry Bick in 1959, divorcing in 1978.[5] The couple had two sons, John Dashiell Bick and Andrew Wilson Bick.[6] Fletcher took an 11-year hiatus from acting to raise her sons.[5]


List of acting credits in film and television
1963A Gathering of EaglesMrs. Kemleruncredited
1974Thieves Like UsMattie
1975One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestNurse Mildred RatchedAcademy Award for Best Actress
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (2nd place)
Russian RouletteMidge
1977Exorcist II: The HereticDr. Gene Tuskin
1978The Cheap DetectiveMarlene DuChard
1979Natural EnemiesMiriam Steward
The Magician of LublinEmilia
The Lady in RedAnna Sage
1980Mama DraculaMama Dracula
The Lucky StarLoes Bakker
1981Strange BehaviorBarbara Moorehead
1983BrainstormDr. Lillian ReynoldsSaturn Award for Best Actress
Strange InvadersMrs. Benjamin
Overnight SensationEve Peregrine – 'E. K. Hamilton'
1984FirestarterNorma Manders
Talk to MeRichard's mother
1986Nobody's FoolPearl
The Boy Who Could FlyPsychiatrist
Invaders from MarsMrs. McKeltch
1987Flowers in the AtticGrandmother – Olivia FoxworthNominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
Grizzly II: The PredatorPark Supervisor
1988Two Moon JunctionBelle Delongpre
1989Best of the BestMrs. Grady
The Karen Carpenter StoryAgnes Carpenter
1990Blue SteelShirley Turner
ShadowzoneDr. Erhardt
1991In A Child's NameJean Taylor
1993–1999Star Trek: Deep Space NineWinn Adami
Someone Else's ChildFaye
1995Return to Two Moon JunctionBelle Delongpre
VirtuosityElizabeth Deane
1996The Stepford HusbandsMiriam Benton
Edie & PenJudge
Mulholland FallsEstheruncredited
Frankenstein and MeMrs. Perdue
High School HighPrincipal Evelyn Doyle
2 Days in the ValleyEvelyn
1997Breast MenMrs. SaundersNominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
The Girl Gets MoeGloria
Gone Fishin'Restaurant Owneruncredited
1998Love KillsAlena Heiss
1999A Map of the WorldNellie Goodwin
Cruel IntentionsHelen Rosemond
The ContractGrandma Collins
2000More Dogs Than BonesIva Doll
Very Mean MenKatherine Mulroney
Big EdenGrace Cornwell
Silver ManVal
2001After ImageAunt Cora
Touched by a KillerJudge Erica Robertson
Dial 9 for LoveAbbie
2002Manna from HeavenMother Superior
2003Finding HomeEsther
2004Clipping AdamGrammy
2005Aurora BorealisRuth Shorter
Dancing in TwilightEvelyn
ERRoberta 'Birdie' Chadwick
2006Fat Rose and SqueakyBonnie
Me and LukeGrandmother Glennie
2007A Dennis the Menace ChristmasMartha Wilson
The Last Sin EaterMiz Elda
2009HeroesDoctor Coolidge
2010Private PracticePete Wilder's mother
2011–2012ShamelessPeggy GallagherGuest Star season 1 and 2


  1. ^ Louise Fletcher. Yahoo Movies.
  2. ^ a b "Rev. John Fletcher, 87; Ministered to the Deaf", The New York Times, 16 March 1988.
  3. ^ Robertson, Nan. "The Fletchers: Family That Heard The Silent Thanks", The New York Times, 5 April 1976.
  4. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlyGH4G39KE
  5. ^ a b c Weinraub, Bernard. "Oscar's Glory is Fleeting. Ask One Who Knows", The New York Times, 27 March 1995.
  6. ^ "Jerry Bick, Literary agent, producer", Variety, 22 November 2004.

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