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Estelle Louise Fletcher
July 22, 1934
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
|Known for||One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest|
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
(m. 1960; div. 1977)
Estelle Louise Fletcher (born July 22, 1934) is an American actress, best known for her portrayal of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), which earned her an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe Award. She was praised for her guest-starring roles in the television series Picket Fences (1996) and Joan of Arcadia (2004).
Fletcher was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the second of four children of Estelle Caldwell and the Reverend Robert Capers Fletcher, an Episcopal missionary from Arab, Alabama. 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 so she was taught to speak by a hearing aunt.
Fletcher began appearing in several television series including Lawman (1958) and Maverick (1959). (The Maverick episode, "The Saga of Waco Williams" with James Garner, 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. Fletcher recalled having greater success being cast in Westerns due to her height: "I was 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall, and no television producer thought a tall woman could be sexually attractive to anybody. I was able to get jobs on westerns because the actors were even taller than I was."
In 1960, Fletcher made two guest appearances on Perry Mason, as 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 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 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 the Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as a BAFTA Award and Golden Globe. She was only the third actress ever to win an Academy Award, BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award for a single performance, after Audrey Hepburn and Liza Minnelli. When Fletcher accepted her Oscar, she used sign language to thank her parents.
After Cuckoo's Nest, Fletcher had mixed success in film. She made several financially and critically successful films, 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 Aurora Borealis (2005), alongside Joshua Jackson and Donald Sutherland, and appeared in the Fox Faith film The Last Sin Eater (2007).
Fletcher co-starred in TV movies such 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 Picket Fences (1996), and later on Joan of Arcadia (2004). In 2009, Fletcher appeared in Heroes as the physician mother of character Emma Coolidge. In 2011, she appeared in 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. She portrayed the recurring role of Rosie on the series Girlboss (2017).
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: Fletcher took an 11-year break from acting to raise them. Fletcher received an honorary degree from Gallaudet University in 1982.
In 1998, Fletcher was charged with reckless driving after she allegedly struck a police officer who was removing a deer carcass from a roadway. The police officer was injured in both legs and had to be hospitalized.
|1963||A Gathering of Eagles||Mrs. Kemler|
|1974||Thieves Like Us||Mattie|
|1975||One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest||Nurse Ratched|
|1977||Exorcist II: The Heretic||Dr. Gene Tuskin|
|1978||The Cheap Detective||Marlene DuChard|
|1979||The Lady in Red||Anna Sage|
|1979||The Magician of Lublin||Emilia|
|1979||Natural Enemies||Miriam Steward|
|1980||The Lucky Star||Loes Bakker|
|1980||Mama Dracula||Mama Dracula|
|1981||Strange Behavior||Barbara Moorehead|
|1981||Be Pretty and Shut Up||Herself||Documentary|
|1982||Talk to Me||Richard's Mother|
|1983||Strange Invaders||Mrs. Benjamin|
|1984||Once Upon a Time in America||The Cemetery Directress||Only Appears in the Extended Cut|
|1984||Overnight Sensation||Evie Peregrine aka "E.K. Hamilton"||Short Film|
|1986||Invaders from Mars||Mrs. McKeltch|
|1986||The Boy Who Could Fly||Dr. Granada|
|1987||Flowers in the Attic||Grandmother|
|1988||Two Moon Junction||Belle Delongpre|
|1989||Best of the Best||Mrs. Grady|
|1990||Blue Steel||Shirley Turner|
|1992||The Player||Louise Fletcher|
|1992||Blind Vision||Miss Taylor|
|1994||On Deadly Ground||Bartender||uncredited|
|1995||Return to Two Moon Junction||Belle Delongpre|
|1996||Edie & Pen||Judge|
|1996||Frankenstein and Me||Mrs. Perdue|
|1996||2 Days in the Valley||Evelyn|
|1996||High School High||Principal Evelyn Doyle|
|1997||Gone Fishin'||Restaurant Owner||uncredited|
|1997||The Girl Gets Moe||Gloria|
|1998||Johnny 316||unknown role|
|1998||Love Kills||Alena Heiss|
|1999||Cruel Intentions||Helen Rosemond|
|1999||A Map of the World||Nellie Goodwin|
|1999||The Contract||Grandma Collins|
|2000||Big Eden||Grace Cornwell|
|2000||Very Mean Men||Katherine Mulroney|
|2000||More Dogs Than Bones||Iva Doll|
|2001||After Image||Aunt Cora|
|2001||Touched by a Killer||Judge Erica Robertson|
|2002||Manna from Heaven||Mother Superior|
|2005||Aurora Borealis||Ruth Shorter|
|2005||Dancing in Twilight||Evelyn|
|2006||Fat Rose and Squeaky||Bonnie|
|2007||The Last Sin Eater||Miz Elda|
|2007||A Dennis the Menace Christmas||Mrs. Martha Wilson||Direct-to-Video|
|2010||The Genesis Code||Ellen Taylor|
|2011||Rewired||unknown role||Short Film|
|2011||Mistaken Identity||unknown role||Short Film|
|2012||And Out, Into the Bright Blue Sky||unknown role (Voice Role)||Short Film|
|2013||A Perfect Man||Abbie|
|2020||Grizzly II: Revenge||Eileene Draygon|
|1958||Flight||unknown role||"Red China Rescue"|
|1958||Playhouse 90||Pete's Girl||2 episodes|
|1958||Bat Masterson||Sarah Lou Conant||"Cheyenne Club"|
|1958||Yancy Derringer||Miss Nellie / Alithea||"Old Dixie"|
|1959||Lawman||Betty Horgan||"The Encounter"|
|1959||Maverick||Kathy Bent||"The Saga of Waco Williams"|
|1959||77 Sunset Strip||Julia Murphy||"A Bargain in Tombs"|
|1959||The Untouchables||Eloise||"Ma Barker and Her Boys"|
|1959||One Step Beyond||Jeannie||"The Open Window"|
|1959||Markham||Ellen Amery||"Strange Visitor"|
|1959–60||Wagon Train||Elizabeth / Martha English||2 episodes|
|1960||The Millionaire||Holly||"Millionaire Vance Ludlow"|
|1960||Sugarfoot||Julie Frazer||"Funeral at Forty Mile"|
|1960||Tate||Mrs. McConnell||"The Bounty Hunter"|
|1960||Perry Mason||Susan Connolly / Gladys Doyle||2 episodes|
|1961||The Best of the Post||unknown role||"Groper in the Dark"|
|1961||The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp||Aithra McLowery||"The Law Must Be Fair"|
|1973||Medical Center||unknown role||"Child of Violence"|
|1974||Can Ellen Be Saved?||Bea Lindsey||TV Movie|
|1978||Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery||Sally Kimball||TV Movie|
|1978||Hollywood Squares||Herself (Panelist)||"6.19.1978"|
|1979||The Muppets Go Hollywood||Herself (uncredited)||TV Special|
|1984||Islands||Maureen Davis||TV Movie|
|1985||A Summer to Remember||Dr. Dolly McKeever||TV Movie|
|1986||Last Waltz on a Tightrope||Cynthia Diamond||TV Movie|
|1986||Second Serve||Dr. Sadie M. Bishop||TV Movie|
|1987||J. Edgar Hoover||Annie M. Hoover||TV Movie|
|1988||Worlds Beyond||Karen Earl||"Home"|
|1988||The Twilight Zone||Dr. Cline||"The Hunters"|
|1989||The Karen Carpenter Story||Agnes Carpenter||TV Movie|
|1989||Final Notice||Mrs. Lord||TV Movie|
|1990||In the Heat of the Night||Catherine Tyler||"December Days"|
|1990||Nightmare on the 13th Floor||Letti Gordon||TV Movie|
|1991||The Hitchhiker||Mother Birch||"Offspring"|
|1991||Tales from the Crypt||Agent||"Top Billing"|
|1991||In a Child's Name||Jean Taylor||Miniseries
|1992||The Boys of Twilight||Genelva McPherson / Genelva||4 episodes|
|1992||The Ray Bradbury Theater||Miss Weldon||"The Dead Man"|
|1992||Civil Wars||Judge Francis Wyler||"The Triumph of DeVille"|
|1993||The Fire Next Time||Sarge||Miniseries|
|1993–99||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Kai Winn / Vedek Winn||recurring role (14 episodes)|
|1994||The Haunting of Seacliff Inn||Dorothy O'Hara||TV Movie|
|1994||Someone Else's Child||Faye Maddox||TV Movie|
|1995||Dream On||Joanna||"Try Not to Remember"|
|1995–97||VR.5||Mrs. Nora Bloom||recurring role (6 episodes)|
|1996||Picket Fences||Christine Bey||2 episodes|
|1996||The Stepford Husbands||Miriam Benton||TV Movie|
|1997||Sins of the Mind||D. Anna Bingham||TV Movie|
|1997||Married to a Stranger||Nana, Megan's Mother||TV Movie|
|1997||Heartless||Aunt Lydia McGuffy||TV Movie|
|1997||Breast Men||Mrs. Saunders||TV Movie|
|1998||Profiler||Miriam Newquay, Jack's Mother||2 episodes|
|1998||The Pratice||Judge N. Swanson||"Rhyme and Reason"|
|1998||Fantasy Island||Doris Leeman||"Dying to Dance"|
|1999||The Devil's Arithemtic||Aunt Eva||TV Movie|
|1999||Time Served||Warden Mildred Reinecke||TV Movie|
|2000||Any Day Now||Tillie Simms||"Three Lucky Ladies on the Line"|
|2003||A Time to Remember||Billy Calhoun||TV Movie|
|2004||It's All Relative||ER Nurse||"Oscar Interrupts"|
|2004||Joan of Arcadia||Eva Garrison||"Do the Math"|
|2004||Wonderfalls||Vivian Caldwell||"Barrel Bear"|
|2004||Biography||Herself (Interviewee)||"Jack Nicholson: The Joker Is Wild"|
|2005||7th Heaven||Mrs. Wagner||"Honor Thy Mother"|
|2005||ER||Roberta "Birdie" Chadwin||2 episodes|
|2006||A Dad for Christmas||Glennie||TV Movie|
|2009||Heroes||Dr. Coolidge||2 episodes|
|2010–11||Private Practice||Frances Wilder||2 episodes|
|2011–12||Shameless||Peg Gallagher||recurring role (4 episodes)|
|2012||Of Two Minds||Aunt Will||TV Movie|
|2012||Bad Girls||unknown role||TV Movie|
|AARP Movies for Grownups Awards||2007||Best Grownup Love Story (shared with Donald Sutherland)||Aurora Borealis||Nominated|
|Academy Awards||1976||Best Actress||One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest||Won|||
|BAFTA Awards||1977||Best Actress in a Leading Role||One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest||Won|
|CinEuphoria Awards||2020||Career — Honorary Award||N/A||Won|
|Faro Island Film Festival||1975||Jury Prize Special Mention||One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest||Won|
|Genie Awards||1981||Best Performance by a Foreign Actress||The Lucky Star||Nominated|
|Gold Derby Awards||2012||Drama Guest Actress||Shameless||Nominated|||
|Golden Globes||1976||Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama||One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest||Won|||
|Golden Raspberry Awards||1987||Worst Supporting Actress||Invaders from Mars||Nominated|
|New York Film Critics Circle Awards||1975||Best Supporting Actress||One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest||Nominated|
|Online Film & Television Association||1997||Best Guest Actress in a Syndicated Series||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Won|||
|Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series||Won|
|1998||Best Guest Actress in a Syndicated Series||Won|||
|1999||Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series||Nominated|||
|Best Guest Actress in a Syndicated Series||Won|
|2012||Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series||Shameless||Won|||
|Palm Beach International Film Festival||2005||Legend in Film Award||N/A||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||1996||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (for episode "Bye Bye, Bey Bey")||Picket Fences||Nominated|||
|2004||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (for episode "Do the Math")||Joan of Arcadia||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||1998||Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television||Breast Men||Nominated|
|2016||Mary Pickford Award||N/A||Won|
|Saturn Awards||1984||Best Actress||Brainstorm||Won|
|1988||Best Supporting Actress||Flowers in the Attic||Nominated|
- Harmetz, Aljean (November 1975). "The Nurse Who Rules the Cuckoo's Nest". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
- "Louise Fletcher". Yahoo Movies. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011.
- "Rev. John Fletcher, 87; Ministered to the Deaf". The New York Times. March 16, 1988. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
- Robertson, Nan (April 1976). "The Fletchers: Family That Heard The Silent Thanks". The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
- Video on YouTube[dead link]
- Weinraub, Bernard (March 27, 1995). "Oscar's Glory is Fleeting. Ask One Who Knows". The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
- "Jerry Bick: Literary agent, producer". Variety. November 22, 2004. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
- "Honorary Degree Recipients" (PDF). Gallaudet University. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
- "Louise Fletcher Charged with Driving into a Cop". Chicago Tribune. May 27, 1998. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
- "Browser Unsupported - Academy Awards Search | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences". awardsdatabase.oscars.org. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
- Derby, Gold (March 7, 2016). "2012 GOLDDERBY TV AWARDS". GoldDerby. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
- "Louise Fletcher". www.goldenglobes.com. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
- "1st Annual TV Awards (1996-97) - Online Film & Television Association". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
- "2nd Annual TV Awards (1997-98) - Online Film & Television Association". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
- "3rd Annual TV Awards (1998-99) - Online Film & Television Association". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
- "16th Annual TV Awards (2011-12) - Online Film & Television Association". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
- "Louise Fletcher". Television Academy. Retrieved June 28, 2021.