Fletcher bagged the award for her role as Nurse Ratched, an iconic film antagonist, in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.'
Louise Fletcher who played the movie nemesis Nurse Ratched in the iconic 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest died last Friday of natural causes in France. She was 88 years old. "France was her favorite place on the planet; she built a home in a beautiful place that she loved," her agent David Shaul said, according to CNN. "She was a great woman — what a career." The actress is survived by her two sons, John and Andrew Bick; her sister, Roberta Ray; and a granddaughter.
Louise Fletcher, who won the best actress Oscar for her indelible performance as Nurse Ratched in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," died Friday. She was 88. https://t.co/k4XhjapZkK pic.twitter.com/qTwJAqNhvm— Variety (@Variety) September 24, 2022
The actress was relatively unknown when she played Nurse Ratched in the Jack Nicholson-starred movie. While she began her acting career in the 50s she took a long break to raise her children. Fletcher won an Oscar for her role as the authoritarian, controlling nurse, Mildred Ratched. Fletcher delivered one of the greatest Oscar acceptance speeches on March 29, 1976. Not only did she thank her colleagues using humor and wit, but she also got tearful as she used sign language to pay tribute to her parents watching at home." I want to say thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true," she said as her voice broke brimming with emotion.
RIP Louise Fletcher, whose extraordinary iconic performance as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest will forever be remembered, as will her amazing and deeply moving Oscar speech which she ended by speaking to her deaf parents in ASL. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/hLbxfk2aKl— Reel and Roll Films - Jupe & Jobu Tupaki Freak (@reelandroll) September 24, 2022
Fletcher opened up about that night over a year ago telling The Wrap, “I don’t know how so many years could go by so fast,” she sighed. “It was 45 years ago and I wasn’t too young when I made the movie. Well, I mean, I was 41, and that seemed old to me back then. Which is a funny thing to say now that I’m 86.” Her speech started off with self-deprecating humor acknowledging how her character was not liked by anyone. “I’ve loved being hated by you,” she said at the beginning. Fletcher’s husband at the time helped her with the rest of her speech. “Before the ceremony, I had said to him, ‘If somehow I won, I’d never be able to stop crying.’ So he said, ‘Say something funny then.’ He was a very funny guy and he came up with the line to praise my colleagues on the film: ‘You made being in a mental institution like being in a mental institution.’ The audience laughed, which was reassuring.'” Then she couldn't help but get emotional as she spoke to her parents in American Sign Language. Her parents told her to never give up and to always follow her dreams, and that's exactly what she did. "We had the most amazing childhood, my brother and sisters and I. My parents would tell us, ‘You can do anything you want with your life, whatever you choose is fine with us.’ I didn’t fully realize it until later how rare that is.” Her sister helped her learn sign language and the rest is history. "I needed my parents to know that they were the reason that I succeeded,” the actress shared.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Vince Bucci