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Kathy Bates Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (39)  | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (4)

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Birth NameKathleen Doyle Bates
Nickname Bobo
Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Multi-talented, multi-award-winning actress Kathleen (Doyle) Bates was born on June 28, 1948, and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls born to Bertye Kathleen (Talbot), a homemaker, and Langdon Doyle Bates, a mechanical engineer. Her grandfather was author Finis L. Bates. Kathy has English, as well as Irish, Scottish, and German, ancestry, and one of her ancestors, an Irish emigrant to New Orleans, once served as President Andrew Jackson's doctor.

Kathy discovered acting appearing in high school plays and studied drama at Southern Methodist University, graduating in 1969. With her mind firmly set, she moved to New York City in 1970 and paid her dues by working everything from a cash register to taking lunch orders. Things started moving quickly up the ladder after giving a tour-de-force performance alongside Christopher Walken at Buffalo's Studio Arena Theatre in Lanford Wilson's world premiere of "Lemon Sky" in 1970, but she also had a foreshadowing of the heartbreak to come after the successful show relocated to New York's off-Broadway Playhouse Theatre without her and Walken wound up winning a Drama Desk award.

By the mid-to-late 1970s, Kathy was treading the boards frequently as a rising young actress of the New York and regional theater scene. She appeared in "Casserole" and "A Quality of Mercy" (both 1975) before earning exceptional reviews for her role of Joanne in "Vanities". She took her first Broadway curtain call in 1980's "Goodbye Fidel," which lasted only six performances. She then went directly into replacement mode when she joined the cast of the already-established and highly successful "Fifth of July" in 1981.

Kathy made a false start in films with Taking Off (1971), in which she was billed as "Bobo Bates". She didn't film again until Straight Time (1978), starring Dustin Hoffman, and that part was not substantial enough to cause a stir. Things turned hopeful, however, when Kathy and the rest of the female ensemble were given the chance to play their respective Broadway parts in the film version of Robert Altman's Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982). It was a juicy role for Kathy and film audiences finally started noticing the now 34-year-old.

Still and all, it was the New York stage that continued to earn Kathy awards and acclaim. She was pure textbook to any actor studying how to disappear into a role. Her characters ranged from free and life-affirming to downright pitiable. Despite winning a Tony Award nomination and Outer Critic's Circle Award for her stark, touchingly sad portrait of a suicidal daughter in 1983's "'night, Mother" and the Obie and Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for her powerhouse job as a romantic misfit in "Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune," Kathy had no box-office pull, however, and was never a strong consideration when the roles transferred to the screen. Her award-winning stage went to established film stars. First Sissy Spacek took over her potent role as the suicidal Jessie Cates in 'night, Mother (1986), then Michelle Pfeiffer seized the moment to play her dumpy lover character in Frankie and Johnny (1991). It would take Oscar glory to finally rectify the injustice.

It was Kathy's fanatical turn as the drab, chunky, porcine-looking psychopath Annie Wilkes, who kidnaps her favorite author (James Caan) and subjects him to a series of horrific tortures, that finally turned the tide for her in Hollywood. With the 1990 shocker Misery (1990), based on the popular Stephen King novel, Bates and Caan were box office magic. Moreover, Kathy captured the "Best Actress" Oscar and Golden Globe award, a first in that genre (horror) for that category. To add to her happiness she married Tony Campisi, also an actor, in 1991.

Quality film scripts now started coming her way and the 1990s proved to be a rich and rewarding time for her. First, she and another older "overnight" film star, fellow Oscar winner Jessica Tandy, starred together in the modern portion of the beautifully nuanced, flashback period piece Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). She then outdid herself as the detached and depressed housekeeper accused of murdering her abusive husband (David Strathairn) in Dolores Claiborne (1995). Surprisingly, she was left out of the Oscar race for these two excellent performances. Not so, however, for her flashy political advisor Libby Holden in the movie Primary Colors (1998), receiving praise and a "Best Supporting Actress" nomination.

Kathy has continued to work prolifically on TV as a 14-time Emmy winner or nominee thus far. She has also taken to directing a couple of TV-movies on the sly. As most actors, she has been in hit and miss TV shows. On the hit side, she has earned a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Jay Leno's manager playing tough politics in The Late Shift (1996) and played to the hilt the cruel-minded orphanage operator, Miss Hannigan, in The Wonderful World of Disney: Annie (1999) for which she also earned an Emmy nom. She has done some eye-catching, offbeat turns on regular series such as Six Feet Under (2001) (for which she also earned a DGA award for helming an episode), The Office (2005), Harry's Law (2011) and especially American Horror Story (2011) for which she won an Emmy as Ethel Darling. She also won an Emmy for a guest episode on the hit sitcom Two and a Half Men (2003).

Interesting millennium filming have included a Catholic school's Mother Superior in the comic drama Bruno (2000); Jesse James' mother in American Outlaws (2001); a quirky, liberal mom in About Schmidt (2002) for which she earned another "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar nomination; a brief but potent turn as Gertrude Stein in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris (2011); Queen Victoria in the adventurous remake of Around the World in 80 Days (2004); wacky parent types in the comedies Failure to Launch (2006) and Relative Strangers (2006); Mother Claus in the seasonal farce Fred Claus (2007); an over-gushy foster mother in the dramedy The Great Gilly Hopkins (2015); and a wrenching performance as the mother of a suspected terrorist in Richard Jewell (2019) for which she earned her third "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar nomination.

Divorced from husband Campisi since 1997, Kathy has been the Executive Committee Chair of the Actors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Family (4)

Spouse Tony Campisi (April 1991 - 1997)  (divorced)
Children None
Parents Bates (Talbot), Bertye Kathleen
Bates, Langdon Doyle
Relatives Bates, Finis L. (grandparent)
Bates, Patricia (sibling)
Bates, Mary (sibling)

Trade Mark (2)

Often portrays kind-hearted or cold-hearted characters
Characters who are frequently tough-talking and outspoken

Trivia (39)

Born at 11:12am-CDT.
Her two older sisters appeared briefly in Primary Colors (1998).
Is the youngest of three daughters of Langdon Doyle and Bertye Kathleen Bates.
Did her first ever nude scene at age 43 in At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1991). She disrobed again for About Schmidt (2002).
Lived with ex-husband Tony Campisi for 12 years before marrying him.
Has two older sisters: Patricia Bates and Mary Bates.
Attended and graduated from White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee.
Received her Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts for Theatre from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas (1969).
Her Oscar-winning role as Annie Wilkes in Misery (1990) was ranked #17 on the American Film Institute's villains list of the 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1983 Tony Award as Best Actress (Play) for "'night, Mother".
Playwright Terrence McNally originally wrote the role of Frankie in "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" for Bates. Johnny was played by Kenneth Welsh in the 1987 Off-Broadway production that starred Bates.
Member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Actors Branch) [1998-2007].
Auditioned for the role of Janet Wood on Three's Company (1976), which ultimately went to Joyce DeWitt. Bates says she was relieved she did not get the role because, after auditioning, she felt she really did not want it.
Her performance as Annie Wilkes in Misery (1990) is ranked #77 on Premiere magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Often mistaken for comedienne Roseanne Barr, who in turn has spoofed Bates' role as Annie Wilkes in Misery (1990) in a Saturday Night Live (1975) sketch.
Is an artist and writer and hopes to someday write and illustrate her own children's book. Has spoken at award ceremonies for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
In 2005, she and the rest of the chief creative team behind the "American Experience" documentary "Tupperware!" which aired on PBS were awarded the (George Foster) Peabody Award for excellence in electronic (i.e. television and radio) media. It was the 64th presentation of the internationally-renowned prize.
Donated $1 million to Hurricane Katrina victims.
With her role in The Family That Preys (2008), she was the first white actress to have a lead role in a Tyler Perry movie.
Has said Dolores Claiborne (1995) is her favorite film role.
Warren Beatty originally offered her a small role in his film Reds (1981), however she was unable to obtain an international visa for her to film her role overseas. He kept contact with her and gave the role of a stenographer to Bates in his follow up Dick Tracy (1990).
She was the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress in a horror/thriller for her role as Annie Wilkes in Misery (1990).
Bates' grandfather, Memphis attorney Finis Langdon Bates, wrote the book "The Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth" in 1907. It is said to be Bates' non-fiction account of hearing a deathbed confession from a man who claimed to be Abraham Lincoln's assassin, Booth, who had escaped capture and lived under another name out west (source: pbs.org).
Bates was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003, but she did not reveal her illness to the general public until 2009. She stated that she has been "in total remission" for over five and a half years, as of January 2009. In September 2012, Bates announced via Twitter that she has breast cancer and is recovering from a double mastectomy.
Is one of three actresses to have won the Best Actress Academy Award for their portrayal of a character named "Annie". The others are Anne Bancroft (for The Miracle Worker (1962)) and Diane Keaton (for Annie Hall (1977)).
Was the 102nd actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for Misery (1990) at The 63rd Annual Academy Awards (1991) on March 25, 1991.
She was awarded the 1986 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Performance for "night, Mother" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
She was awarded the 1988 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Distinguished Lead Performance for "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6927 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on September 20, 2016.
She was awarded the 1988 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Performance for "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Is one of 3 actresses who have won both the Best Actress Oscar (hers being for Misery (1990)) and the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy (hers being for Two and a Half Men (2003)). The other actresses are Emma Thompson and Gwyneth Paltrow.
As of 2018, has appeared in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: Titanic (1997), The Blind Side (2009) and Midnight in Paris (2011). Titanic won.
Daughter of Langdon (1900-1989), born in the state of Tennessee, and Bertye (née Talbert) Bates (1907-1997), born in the state of South Carolina.
In 2014, at the New York Walk for Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases, Bates announced via pre-recorded audio that, due to the double mastectomy, she has lymphedema in both arms. At that time, Bates became the National Spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) and has been actively involved in lymphedema and lymphatic disease advocacy. On May 11, 2018, Bates led advocates in a Capitol Hill Lobby Day to garner Congressional support for research funding. The next day, May 12, Bates addressed supporters at the first-ever DC/VA Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases at the Lincoln Memorial.
She has English, and some Irish, Scottish, German, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Cornish, and Welsh, ancestry.
Studied at the William Esper Studio in New York.
Although she initially did not want to play Helen "Mama" Boucher in the smash hit The Waterboy (1998) she said in an interview that taking the part turned out to be one of her best life experiences and has since called her co-star Adam Sandler "a good egg.".
The only time she has acted out giving birth in a movie was, at age 58, in Fred Claus (2007).

Personal Quotes (8)

The Oscar changed everything. Better salary, working with better people, better projects, more exposure, less privacy.
[on losing the role of Frankie, which had been written for her by playwright Terrence McNally, to Michelle Pfeiffer in the movie version of "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune"] I thought it was wonderful to see a love story about people over forty, ordinary people who were trying to connect. We haven't seen it before, and I don't think we will see it with this movie Frankie and Johnny (1991).
[on playing Terry Bradshaw's movie wife in Failure to Launch (2006)] When I was told Terry Bradshaw would be playing my husband, I was like "The star-quarterback Terry Bradshaw?".
I was never an ingénue. I've always just been a character actor. When I was younger, it was a real problem, because I was never pretty enough. It was hard, not just for the lack of work, but because you have to face up to how people are looking at you.
My mother used to tell this corny story about how the doctor smacked me on the behind when I was born and I thought it was applause, and I have been looking for it ever since.
[Excerpt from her 1991 Academy Award acceptance speech] I'd like to thank Jimmy Caan, and apologize publicly for the ankles.
It's a gift to remember my mother's voice as she read to me when I was a child. I loved to rest my head against her side and feel her voice resonating through her ribs. It seemed to me like I was putting my ear to an instrument being played.
[on Stephen King] I was a big fan of Stephen's. I'd read a lot of the books. I love his gift for observation of human beings, his characters. They're unique and quirky, like he is. I once ran into him and said, "Stephen, how are you?" And - he's quite tall - he looked down at me and said, "You're in the pink." Which was something that could come out of one of his characters' mouths.

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