Louise Fletcher, 88, has passed away. She was most known for playing Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, for which she received an Oscar.
The US actress passed away at her house in the south of France, according to her agency.
Despite being most remembered for playing Nurse Ratched, Fletcher’s career lasted six decades and included both television and movies.
The actress was honored by former coworkers and admirers who referred to her as “absolutely fantastic.”
When chosen to play Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975, Fletcher was comparatively unknown. She started performing in the 1950s but took a decade-long break to raise her children.
Angela Lansbury and Ellen Burstyn, among other well-known actors, declined to take the role.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, directed by Milos Forman and based on Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel of the same name, was filmed and set at an Oregon mental institution in the United States.
The movie gained a ton of accolades and was included on several lists of the best American movies ever made, demonstrating its enormous popularity.
The brutal and cunning Nurse Ratched, played by Fletcher, was a dreadful representation of institutional authority who was set against Jack Nicholson’s Randle McMurphy’s individualism. She was key to the film’s appeal.
Only The Wicked Witch of the West, Darth Vader, Norman Bates, and Hannibal Lecter were ranked higher by the American Film Institute in their list of the top villains in movies.
In 1976, Fletcher received an Oscar for her performance as part of a remarkable clean sweep that saw the movie win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay.
She expressed gratitude to her deaf parents, who raised her, in her acceptance speech using sign language.
Fletcher had a recurring part in the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and received Emmy nods for her guest roles in Picket Fences and Joan of Arcadia in 1996 and 2004, respectively. However, her career never again reached the same heights.
Before divorcing in 1977, she wed producer Jerry Bick in the 1960s. John and Andrew are her two surviving sons.
On social media, friends and admirers paid homage.
Fletcher’s co-star on Picket Fences, American actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, called her a “great performer” and noted that she was the first person to utilize sign language in an Oscar acceptance speech.
It was an honor and a delight to write for Louise Fletcher, one of the all-time greats with a flaming talent and a complete class act, according to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe