Louise Fletcher was most known for her iconic portrayal of Nurse Ratched in Milos Forman’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” She won the Oscar for best actress. The veteran actor sadly passed away. She was 88 years old.
According to Variety, Louise Fletcher passed away at her home in France. Her agent David Shaul told The Associated Press that she died in her sleep surrounded by family at her home in Montdurausse. The cause of her death was not revealed.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” won the main awards for best picture, director, actor, actress, and screenplay for the first time in more than 40 years. It was also a big box office success and received four additional Oscar nominations. The iconic movie, which was adapted from a novel by Ken Kesey and focused on the patients and personnel of a mental hospital, won five Oscars in 1976, including best picture and best actor for Jack Nicholson.
Fletcher’s Nurse Ratched was ranked as the second-greatest villain in movie history, just after the Wicked Witch of the West, in the American Film Institute TV special “AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Heroes & Villains.” Ironically, the script softened the Ratched character compared to Kesey’s original, and Fletcher gave a more understated performance, frequently expressing the character’s feelings through simple facial expressions, which is why she originally deserved her Oscar.
In fact, the actress succeeds in making us feel sad for Ratched at a number of crucial points in the movie. Fletcher most recently starred in the 2013 feature “A Perfect Man,” starring Liev Schreiber and Jeanne Tripplehorn. On television, Fletcher had portrayed family matriarch Peggy “Grammy” Gallagher on Showtime’s “Shameless,” a crafty ex-con who nevertheless desired a relationship with her grandkids.
The actress appeared in reruns of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” from 1993 to 1999 as the cunning, deceitful spiritual leader Winn Adami, “VR.5” from 1995 to 1997, and “ER” in 2005. For her guest appearances on “Picket Fences” in 1996 and “Joan of Arcadia” in 2004, she received Emmy nominations.
After spending more than a decade raising a family, Fletcher returned to acting in 1974 and had a supporting performance in Robert Altman’s “Thieves Like Us” that Pauline Kael praised as “impressively forceful.” However, the actress had little high profile in Hollywood when she was cast as Ratched. Check out the videos below. RIP.