Table of Contents
Louise Fletcher Biography
Estelle Louise Fletcher was an American actress who was born on July 22, 1934 and passed away on September 23, 2022. She was best known for her portrayal of Nurse Ratched in the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe Award. Estelle Louise Fletcher died on September 23, 2022. She was also well-known for her performance as Helen Rosemond in the film Cruel Intentions and her recurring role as the Bajoran religious leader Kai Winn Adami in the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999). Both of these roles brought her a great deal of fame (1999). She was recognized for her work in the television shows Picket Fences (1996) and Joan of Arcadia, for which she was considered for two Emmy Award nominations (2004). Her most recent appearance was as Rosie in the Girlboss series on Netflix (2017).
Fletcher was the second of four children to be born to Estelle (whose maiden name was Caldwell) and the Reverend Robert Capers Fletcher, an Episcopalian missionary who was originally from Arab, Alabama. Fletcher was born on July 22, 1934, in Birmingham, Alabama. Her parents were both hard of hearing and worked in a facility for the hearing impaired and the deaf.
More than forty churches in Alabama geared specifically toward the deaf were started by Fletcher’s father.
Due to the fact that Fletcher, along with her siblings Roberta, John, and Georgianna, was born with normal hearing, her hearing aunt was the one who helped her learn how to speak.
“I was 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m; 178 cm) 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.”— Louise Fletcher (November 1975)
In 1960, Fletcher appeared as a guest on two episodes of Perry Mason. The first episode, titled “The Case of the Mythical Monkeys,” featured her as the defendant Gladys Doyle. The second episode, titled “The Case of the Larcenous Lady,” featured her as Susan Connolly. During the summer of 1960, she was offered the role of Roberta McConnell in the episode of Tate titled “The Bounty Hunter,” which was portrayed by David McLean.
In 1974, Fletcher made her comeback to the film industry with the film Thieves Like Us. Her husband Jerry Bick and Robert Altman, who also directed the picture, served as co-producers. After the two had a disagreement while working on Robert Altman’s next film, Nashville (1975), Altman made the decision to cast Lily Tomlin in the character of Linnea Reese, which Fletcher had originally conceived of for and written for herself. Milo Forman, who was directing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the time, saw Fletcher in Thieves and placed her in the role of Nurse Ratched, who was McMurphy’s adversary in the film (1975).  As a result of her performance in the part, Fletcher received widespread acclaim and celebrity on a global scale, including the Academy Award for Best Actress as well as Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards. She was just the third actress in the history of acting to ever win an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe Award for a single performance, following in the footsteps of Liza Minnelli and Audrey Hepburn. Fletcher expressed her gratitude to her parents through the use of sign language as she won her Oscar.
After Cuckoo’s Nest, Fletcher went on to have varying degrees of success in the film industry. She directed a number of films that were commercially and critically successful, while some of her films were box office bombs. Fletcher’s film roles include those in the movies Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), The Cheap Detective (1978), The Lady in Red (1979), and 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 Intention In addition, she acted in the film The Last Sin Eater, which was produced by Fox Faith, and she played the part of Ruth Shorter, a supporting character, in Aurora Borealis (2005), which she starred in opposite Joshua Jackson and Donald Sutherland (2007).
Fletcher has had co-starring roles in a number of television movies, including The Karen Carpenter Story (1989) (in which she played Agnes Carpenter, Karen and Richard Carpenter’s mother), Nightmare on the 13th Floor (1990), The Haunting of Seacliff Inn (1994), and The Stepford Husbands (1995). (1996). She played the part of Kai Winn Adami, a manipulative religious leader of the Bajorans, in recurrent episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine between the years 1993 and 1999. She was also nominated for Emmy Awards for her guest roles on the television shows Picket Fences (1996) and Joan of Arcadia (both in later years) (2004). Fletcher made her debut on the NBC series Heroes in 2009, playing the role of the character Emma Coolidge’s medical mother. She appears on four episodes of Shameless in 2011 and 2012, playing the role of Grammy Gallagher, Frank Gallagher’s foul-mouthed and hard-living mother. Grammy Gallagher is currently serving a jail sentence for manslaughter connected to an explosion that occurred in a meth lab. On the sitcom Girlboss, she played the role of Rosie, who appears multiple times (2017).
Jerry Bick, a literary agency and producer, was Fletcher’s spouse when the couple wed in 1960; they divorced in 1977. Fletcher took a vacation from acting for 11 years in order to raise his two kids, John Dashiell Bick and Andrew Wilson Bick. The couple went on to have more children. In the year 1982, Fletcher was presented with an honorary degree from Gallaudet University.
In 1998, Fletcher was accused of driving recklessly when she allegedly collided with a police officer who was clearing a road of a dead deer carcass. The incident allegedly occurred in 1998. The injured police officer required hospitalization after suffering injuries to both of his legs.
On September 23, 2022, Fletcher passed away at the age of 88 in the comfort of her own home in Montdurausse, France.