Louise Fletcher Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trivia (16)  | Personal Quotes (18)

Overview (3)

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Birth NameEstelle Louise Fletcher
Height 5' 9½" (1.77 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, to Episcopal minister Robert Fletcher and his wife Estelle, both of whom were deaf, Louise Fletcher was introduced to performing at a young age by the aunt who taught her to speak. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, she took a trip out west with her roommates, finding herself in Los Angeles without enough money to return home. She took a temporary job as a receptionist and signed up for acting classes at night. Soon she was working regularly in television and film, but after marrying producer Jerry Bick and having two sons, the actress took a long hiatus to raise her children.

Returning to work in 1974 in Robert Altman's Thieves Like Us (1974), Fletcher came to the attention of director Milos Forman, who was casting the difficult role of the nurse in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). She won the role -- and then the Academy Award -- portraying deadly, inflexible Nurse Ratched, who has since become a cultural icon. Numerous film roles followed, including co-starring turns with Peter Falk in The Cheap Detective (1978) and with Richard Burton in Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977). Fletcher has appeared in a number of science fiction and horror classics such as Firestarter (1984), Brainstorm (1983), and Flowers in the Attic (1987).

Though she earned an Emmy Award nomination for her recurring role on Picket Fences (1992), Fletcher is perhaps best known to recent television audiences as Kai Winn from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) and as Nora Bloom from the cult classic VR.5 (1995).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: GL <goddesslouise@writeme.com>

Family (4)

Spouse Jerry Bick (18 July 1959 - 30 November 1978)  (divorced)  (2 children)
Children Bick, John R
Bick, Andrew Wilson
Parents Fletcher, Robert
Fletcher, Estelle
Relatives Fletcher, Georgianna (sibling)
Fletcher, John (sibling)
Fletcher, Roberta (sibling)

Trivia (16)

Learned sign language at a very young age, as both of her parents were deaf. When Fletcher neared the end of her (spoken) Best Actress Oscar acceptance speech for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), she finished with a unique (unspoken) touch in American Sign Language: "For my mother and my father, I want to say thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true. Thank you." (29 March 1976).
Lily Tomlin's role in Robert Altman's Nashville (1975) was originally written for, and in part by, Fletcher, whose then-husband had been Altman's producer. When the two men had a falling-out, Altman chose to cast Tomlin instead.
Was a leading choice to play the mother in Terms of Endearment (1983).
After her divorce from producer Jerry Bick in the late 1970s she caused a stir when she, then in her 40s, began dating 21-year-old Morgan Mason, the son of actor James Mason.
Her role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) had been turned down by Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn, Colleen Dewhurst and Jane Fonda. Bancroft and Dewhurst turned down the role because they found it anti-feminist and downright misogynistic.
Was cited for reckless driving in 2000 when she slammed into a police officer near her Virginia home.
Her Oscar-winning role as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) was ranked #5 in the American Film Institute's Villains list in their 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains.
One of the other Best Actress nominees in 1976 was Ann-Margret, who was nominated for her role Tommy (1975). Coincidentally, both that film and the one Fletcher was nominated for/won, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, featured Jack Nicholson.
She was in several scenes that were later deleted from Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America (1984).
The mother of two sons with Jerry Bick, John Dashiell Bick and Andrew Wilson Bick, for whom she took an 11-year hiatus from acting to raise.
Was the 77th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) at The 48th Annual Academy Awards (1976) on March 29, 1976.
Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 28, a son Andrew Wilson Bick in December 1962. Child's father is her [now ex] husband, Jerry Bick.
Gave birth to her 1st child at age 26, a son John R. Bick in April 1961. Child's father is her [now ex] husband, Jerry Bick.
Is one of 12 actresses who won the Best Actress Oscar for a movie that also won the Best Picture Oscar (she won for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)). The others are Claudette Colbert for It Happened One Night (1934), Luise Rainer for The Great Ziegfeld (1936), Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind (1939), Greer Garson for Mrs. Miniver (1942), Diane Keaton for Annie Hall (1977), Shirley MacLaine for Terms of Endearment (1983), Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Jodie Foster for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love (1998), Hilary Swank for Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Frances McDormand for Nomadland (2020).
Daughter of Robert (1901-1988), born in the state of Alabama, and Estelle (née Caldwell) Fletcher (1901-1992), born in the state of Texas.
Sister of John (1931-2004), Roberta (b. 1938) and Georgiana Fletcher (b. 1939).

Personal Quotes (18)

Milos Forman doesn't want to discuss anything with his actors.
[In sign language to her deaf parents, upon winning the Oscar for Best Actress] I want to thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true.
The Communist Party was my Nurse Ratched! [Milos Forman, in Milos Forman: What doesn't kill you... (2009)].
That's the main reason I gave up my career after John was born and I was pregnant with Andrew. I could not handle going away day after day. The thought of going away before they got up and coming back after they were in bed was intolerable.
Live television drama was like live theater, because you moved without thinking about the camera. It followed you around. In film you have to be more aware of what the camera is doing.
[on Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)] Life had stopped for her a long time ago. She was so out of touch with her feelings that she had no joy in her life and no concept of the fact that she could be wrong. She delivered her care of her insane patients in a killing manner, but she was convinced she was right.
I really would rather have gone to New York, since all my training had been in theater, but I didn't have the guts to go there alone. I knew only one person in New York, and that was a man. What I needed was a woman. That's the way Southern girls thought.
From the time I was very young, maybe five or six, I thought a lot about being an actress. I didn't tell my friends about my ambitions, though, especially when I got older, because I thought they would not receive them well. I never talked about what I wanted to do.
If I fell down and hurt myself, I never cried. There was no one to hear me.
She and my uncle were very sociable and would have a lot of people over at night to play cards or whatever. The high spot of those evenings was when we kids got dressed up to do a skit or something to amuse the guests. I loved it.
[2012, on why she can no longer bear to watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)] I find it too painful. It comes with age. I can't watch movies that are inhumane. I was really shocked in those scenes where I was actually so cruel.
[1995, reflecting on wining an Oscar in 1976] Just enjoy it; it'll make you wonderfully happy for a night. But don't expect that it'll do anything for your career... Sure, it changes your life enormously in personal ways, but it was not a guarantee of anything. I'm realistic. I have to be. I got the Oscar when I was 41. If I was 23, it would have been hard to deal with. Hell, at my age it was hard to deal with. It was like being thrown an explosive.
You know, I lived in the real world. I grew up around handicapped people, lots of times deaf people. My father was a missionary to the deaf. You cannot come from that kind of background and suddenly feel like a movie star.
[speaking in 1995] Frankly, how many parts are out there for people like me? I'm not going to be a person who complains about roles for women; there's a long line of people doing that. I'm working. Even if I don't think something is so great, I still do it. I'm one of those actresses who have to work for a living. I don't have huge savings... I was up for a lot of good parts, but the competition is keen. I think I'm not that easy to cast. Other actresses are associated with different kinds of roles. I'm associated with strong, sort of realistic women. I'm trying to do some comedy now. I would have loved to have done the mother's part in Terms of Endearment (1983), but if I was casting that movie, I wouldn't have put me in it either.
When I die, I know that'll be at the top of my obituary, 'Louise Fletcher, who won an Oscar for . . .' That changes your life. People around you change; they think you have some special wisdom or magic touch. You become familiar-looking. With me it's usually, 'Do you work in my bank?' or 'Do you teach at my son's school?'
One of the biggest -how should I put this?- struggles that I have had in my career was [when] I did a part in a movie called Flowers in the Attic (1987). It was the most miserable time of my life because I was not allowed to make her a human being. She had to be like this scarecrow, this witch. "Scare me to death" - that was my direction. And I had to do a lot of reshoots because I was just so uncomfortable. It was against my grain, against the way I work.
[on Brainstorm (1983)] I had the most wonderful time making that movie because I loved my part, and I loved Douglas Trumbull. I was looking forward to playing a kind of heroine. She was a sympathetic character, even though she had her issues. I got to spend one whole week alone with the crew, being the only actor on the set. It was insane. I've never had that before.
There is competition in our business and rejection. People ask me, "I want to be an actor. What's your advice?" My advice is "Don't do it."

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