Death of Louise Fletcher, the terrifying Nurse Ratched from Vol over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Louise Fletcher, an Oscar winner for her unforgettable portrayal of Nurse Ratched in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ has died at the age of 88.

United Artists / Fantasy Films

As her son Andrew Bick announced to the Hollywood Reporter, it was this Friday, September 23, that Louise Fletcher died at her home in Montdurausse, France. She had survived breast cancer with a recurrence. She died of natural causes, she was 88 years old.


Winner of the Oscar for Best Actress in 1976 for her subtle and even emotional portrayal of the cruel and despicable nurse Mildred Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) —Milos Forman’s adaptation of the Ken Kesey novel of the same name—, Louise Fletcher definitely marked the world of cinema, today in mourning.

Her acceptance speech at the prestigious ceremony will be remembered in particular: she used American Sign Language to thank her deaf parents, while thanking the public for hating her!

United Artists / Fantasy Films

The feature film, which enjoyed huge box office success, also won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Jack Nicholson and Best Adapted Screenplay, making it the first to win the famous statuette in all major categories for 4 decades: a true classic. that has consecrated the actress forever.

Her character is so cultured that Nurse Ratched was named the fifth greatest villain in movie history by the American Film Institute. But this legendary role several well-known actresses had previously turned down, fearing a possible negative effect on her career, but after seeing Fletcher in Milos Forman’s We Are All Thieves in 1974 she made up her mind. In his memoir he will talk about the actress later.

She had it all wrong for the role. [Ratched]but there was something to it. I asked her to read with me and suddenly, beneath the velvety exterior, I discovered a tenacity and drive that seemed right for the role. -Milos Forman


Recently appearing in the feature film A Perfect Man (2013) by Kees Van Oostrum, with Liev Schreiber and Jeanne Tripplehorn, Louise Fletcher has not ceased to amaze.

It is on the small screen where he started and on the small screen where he most recently starred: more precisely in 2017 in two episodes of Girlboss on Netflix. Appearing on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the scheming and deceitful spiritual leader Winn Adami from 1993 to 1999, she also starred in the cult sci-fi series VR.5 from 1995 to 1997, as well as ER and 7 home in 2005.

Emmy-nominated for her guest roles on High Secret City: Secret City in 1996 and Joan’s World in 2004, she also played matriarch Peggy “Grammy” Gallagher, a cunning ex-con who nonetheless wishes she had a relationship with her grandchildren, on Showtime’s Shameless.

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After more than a decade of absence to dedicate herself to her family, Louise Fletcher began playing again in 1974 and later gave a beautiful and strong performance in we are all thieves by Robert Altman, but when she was cast as Ratched, the actress still didn’t have much of a reputation in Hollywood, which was about to change.

After this key role, her career faltered and the actress did not stop branching out as in the 1978 noir spoof The Private of these ladies with Peter Falk, or in the 1979 drama Natural Enemies, in which she played, alongside to Hal. Holbrook, a vulnerable and fragile character without difficulty.

The actress’s other credits include Sex Intentions (1999), in which she played a cool and affectionate Long Island aristocrat, The Exorcist 2 – The Heretic (1977), starring Richard Burton and Linda Blair, Brainstorm (1983), with Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood, Charlie (1984) starring a very young Drew Barrymore or Two Days in Los Angeles (1996) by John Herzfeld.


Estelle Louise Fletcher was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Since her parents are deaf, her aunt introduced her to theater and taught her to speak when she was 8 years old. Fletcher attended the University of North Carolina and it was after taking a trip across the country that she found herself stranded in Los Angeles and soon embarked on an acting career.

For the budding actress, it all started in 1958 with a small television role in the series Flight. The following year, she made appearances on Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip and Les Incorruptibles. Appearing twice in Perry Mason in 1960, he gave up his career in 1963 after making his big screen debut in Delbert Mann’s The Red Telephone.

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In 1973, after raising her children, she resumed her profession with an appearance in the series doctors today. One television movie later, the actress is eventually cast in a supporting role in the famous we are all thieves by Robert Altman, which is produced in particular by her husband, Jerry Bick.

The story of Fletcher’s full and fulfilled life was the inspiration for one of the main characters in Robert Altman’s 1975 classic Nashville: she should have played the role then, but at that point Bick and Altman fell out and this role was given to her. escaped

In fact, Louise Fletcher was married to Jerry Bick, a Hollywood literary agent who was also a producer, from 1959 to 1978. He died in 2004. She is survived by her sons John Dashiell Bick and Andrew Wilson Bick.

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