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Darlene Cates (1947–2017)


Cates' acting career ignited after she appeared on an episode of Sally Jessy Raphael (1983), titled "Too Heavy to Leave Their House". Shortly after, author and screenwriter Peter Hedges proposed to her that she play Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio's morbidly obese and housebound mother in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)--Cates accepted. Her ... See full bio »

Died:

(age 69) in Forney, Texas, USA

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What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Thu, Dec 20 3:00 PM EST on SHOW (642)

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Known For

(1993)
Billboard Penny
(2018)
Picket Fences Sophie Wallace
(1994)
Mother Mother
(2014)

Filmography

Hide Hide Show Show Actress (6 credits)
 2018 Billboard (completed)
Penny
 2014/III Mother (Short)
Mother
 2001 Wolf Girl (TV Movie)
Athena the Fat Lady
 1996 Touched by an Angel (TV Series)
Claudia Bell
- Statute of Limitations (1996) ... Claudia Bell
 1994 Picket Fences (TV Series)
Sophie Wallace
- Squatter's Rights (1994) ... Sophie Wallace
 1993 What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Bonnie Grape
Hide Hide Show Show Self (2 credits)
 1994 The Word (TV Series)
Herself
- Episode #4.15 (1994) ... Herself
 1992 Sally Jessy Raphael (TV Series)
Herself
- Too Heavy to Leave Their House (1992) ... Herself
Hide Hide Show Show Archive footage (1 credit)
 2015 No Small Parts (TV Series documentary)
Herself
- Darlene Cates (2015) ... Herself

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Personal Details

Publicity Listings:

1 Article | See more »

Height:

5' 9" (1.75 m)
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Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

I wish everyone that's kind of hiding away at home still could understand or could have the same experience that I did. Once I did the [Sally Jessy Raphael (1983)] show, all of a sudden I realized that if I went out and people stared at me, I wouldn't know if they were staring at me because I was fat or because they recognized me from being on TV. That empowered me. See more »

Trivia:

Author and screenwriter Peter Hedges saw a tape of her on the segment of Sally Jessy Raphael (1983) entitled, "Too Heavy to Leave Their House." On the show she spoke of her self-imposed imprisonment. Hedges, writer of What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) offered her the role of the morbidly obese mother in the film, which she accepted. See more »

Star Sign:

Sagittarius

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