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Louise Fletcher (born July 22, 1934) is an American actress perhaps best known for her role as Nurse Ratched in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest and as Kai Winn Adami in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Early life

Fletcher, the second of four children, was born in Birmingham, Alabamamarker, the daughter of Estelle Caldwell and Reverend Robert Capers Fletcher, who was an Episcopal priest from Arab, Alabamamarker. 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; she was taught to speak by a hearing aunt, who also introduced her to acting. After attending the University of North Carolinamarker, she traveled to Los Angeles, Californiamarker, where she found work as a secretary by day and took acting lessons by night.


Fletcher began appearing in several television productions, including the highest-rated episode of Maverick. She married Jerry Bick and took time off to raise her two children; they divorced in 1977. In 1974, she returned to film in Thieves Like Us co-produced by her husband and Robert Altman, who also directed. When the two men 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 her in Thieves and cast her as McMurphy's nemesis Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. When Fletcher accepted her Oscar, she used sign language to thank her parents, having spent two hours on the phone with her sister the previous night brushing up on her signing skills.

She also appeared in such films as Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), The Cheap Detective (1978), The Lady in Red (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 as Sebastian's aunt in Cruel Intentions (1999). She played the character of 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). She had a recurring role in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–99) as the scheming Bajoran religious leader Kai Winn Adami. She also earned Emmy Award nominations for her guest roles on the television series Picket Fences (1996) and Joan of Arcadia (2004).

Personal life

Fletcher married literary agent and producer Jerry Bick in 1960, divorcing in 1977. The couple had two sons, John Dashiell Bick and Andrew Wilson Bick, for whom Fletcher took an 11 year hiatus from acting to raise. After her divorce, Fletcher caused a stir when she began dating 21 year old Morgan Mason, the son of actor James Mason.


Year Film Role Other notes
1963 A Gathering of Eagles Mrs. Kemler uncredited
1974 Thieves Like Us Mattie
1975 One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest Nurse Mildred Ratched Academy Award for Best Actress
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama

Russian Roulette Midge
1977 Exorcist II: The Heretic Dr. Gene Tuskin
1978 The Cheap Detective Marlene DuChard
1979 Natural Enemies Miriam Steward
The Magician of Lublin Emilia
The Lady in Red Anna Sage
1980 Mamma Dracula Mama Dracula
The Lucky Star Loes Bakker
1981 Strange Behavior Barbara Moorehead
1983 Brainstorm Dr. Lillian Reynolds Saturn Award for Best Actress
Strange Invaders Mrs. Benjamin
Overnight Sensation Eve Peregrine – 'E. K. Hamilton'
1984 Firestarter Norma Manders
Talk to Me Richard's mother
1986 Nobody's Fool Pearl
The Boy Who Could Fly Psychiatrist
Invaders from Mars Mrs. McKeltch
1987 Flowers in the Attic Grandmother – Olivia Foxworth Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
Predator: The Concert Park Supervisor
1988 Two Moon Junction Belle Delongpre
1989 Best of the Best Mrs. Grady
1990 Blue Steel Shirley Turner
Shadowzone Dr. Erhardt
1994 Giorgino Innkeeper
Tryst Maggie
Tollbooth Lillian
1995 Return to Two Moon Junction Belle Delongpre
Virtuosity Elizabeth Deane
1996 The Stepford Husbands Miriam Benton
Edie & Pen Judge
Mulholland Falls Esther uncredited
Frankenstein and Me Mrs. Perdue
High School High Principal Evelyn Doyle
2 Days in the Valley Evelyn
1997 Breast Men Mrs. Saunders Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
The Girl Gets Moe Gloria
Gone Fishin' Restaurant Owner uncredited
1998 Love Kills Alena Heiss
1999 A Map of the World Nellie Goodwin
Cruel Intentions Helen Rosemond
The Contract Grandma Collins
2000 More Dogs Than Bones Iva Doll
Very Mean Men Katherine Mulroney
Big Eden Grace Cornwell
Silver Man Val
2001 After Image Aunt Cora
Touched by a Killer Judge Erica Robertson
Dial 9 for Love Abbie
2002 Manna from Heaven Mother Superior
2003 Finding Home Esther
2004 Clipping Adam Grammy
2005 Aurora Borealis Ruth Shorter
Dancing in Twilight Evelyn
2006 Fat Rose and Squeaky Bonnie
Me and Luke Grandmother Glennie
2007 The Last Sin Eater Miz Elda


  1. Louise Fletcher. Yahoo Movies.
  2. Rev. John Fletcher, 87; Ministered to the Deaf. New York Times. 16 March 1988.
  3. Robertson, Nan. The Fletchers: Family That Heard The Silent Thanks. New York Times. 5 April 1976.
  4. Weinraub, Bernard. Oscar's Glory Is Fleeting. Ask One Who Knows. New York Times. 27 March 1995.
  5. Jerry Bick, Literary agent, producer. Variety Obituaries. 22 November 2004.

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