Louise Fletcher, who received an Oscar for playing Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, has passed away at the age of 88.
According to her agent, the American actress passed away at home in the south of France.
Despite being most remembered for playing Nurse Ratched, Fletcher had a career that lasted for six decades in both cinema and television.
Former coworkers and admirers paid the actress tribute, praising her as “absolutely fantastic.”
When Fletcher was chosen to play Nurse Ratched in 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, she was comparatively unknown. She started acting in the 1950s but put it on hold to raise her children for more than ten years.
Leading actresses like Ellen Burstyn and Angela Lansbury all declined 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 set and shot in an Oregon mental hospital in the United States.
The movie was extremely well-liked and made it onto numerous lists of the best American movies ever in addition to winning a slew of prizes.
Fletcher’s ruthless and cunning Nurse Ratched, a terrifying representation of institutional power who is juxtaposed against Jack Nicholson’s Randle McMurphy’s individualism, was central to the film’s popularity.
In its list of the top villains in movies, the American Film Institute placed Nurse Ratched just below The Wicked Witch of the West, Darth Vader, Norman Bates, and Hannibal Lecter.
For her part, Fletcher received an Oscar in 1976, part of a rare clean sweep for the movie, which also took home awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay.
She expressed her gratitude to her hearing parents in sign language during her acceptance speech.
Fletcher received Emmy nominations for her guest appearances in Picket Fences and Joan of Arcadia in 1996 and 2004, respectively, even though her career never again reached the same heights. She also had a recurring role in the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
In the 1960s, she wed producer Jerry Bick; they later divorced in 1977. John and Andrew, her two sons, are her only heirs.
Social media was used by friends and admirers to pay tribute.
Deaf American actress Marlee Matlin, who co-starred with Fletcher in Picket Fences, 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 pleasure to write for Louise Fletcher, one of the absolute great A blazing talent and a complete class act,” remarked Robert Hewitt Wolfe, a writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.