Louise Fletcher
Louise Fletcher 2014.jpg
Fletcher in 2014
Estelle Louise Fletcher

(1934-07-22) July 22, 1934 (age 88)[1]
Years active1958–present
Known forOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Jerry Bick
(m. 1960; div. 1977)

Estelle Louise Fletcher (born July 22, 1934)[1] is an American actress, best known for her portrayal of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), which earned her an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe Award. She is also well-known for her recurring role as the Bajoran religious leader Kai Winn Adami in the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–99). She was nominated for Emmy Awards for her guest starring roles in the television series Picket Fences (1996) and Joan of Arcadia (2004).

Early life

Fletcher was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the second of four children of Estelle (née Caldwell)[2] and the Reverend Robert Capers Fletcher, an Episcopal missionary from Arab, Alabama. Both of her parents were deaf and worked with the deaf and hard-of-hearing.[3][4]

Fletcher's father founded more than 40 churches for the deaf in Alabama.[5] Fletcher and her siblings Roberta, John,[6] and Georgianna[5] were all born without any hearing loss[7] so she was taught to speak by a hearing aunt.[3]


James Garner and Fletcher in Maverick (1959)
James Garner and Fletcher in Maverick (1959)
Fletcher at the National Film Society convention (1979)
Fletcher at the National Film Society convention (1979)

Fletcher began appearing in several television series including Lawman (1958) and Maverick (1959). (The Maverick episode "The Saga of Waco Williams" with James Garner was the series' highest-rated episode.)[8] Also in 1959, she appeared in the second episode of the original Untouchables TV series, (starring Robert Stack), "Ma Barker and Her Boys", as Elouise.[9] Fletcher recalled having greater success being cast in Westerns due to her height:

"I was 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m; 178 cm) tall, and no television producer thought a tall woman could be sexually attractive to anybody. I was able to get jobs on westerns because the actors were even taller than I was."

— Louise Fletcher (November 1975)[3]

In 1960, Fletcher made two guest appearances on Perry Mason, as defendant Gladys Doyle in "The Case of the Mythical Monkeys", and as Susan Connolly in "The Case of the Larcenous Lady". In the summer of 1960, she was cast as Roberta McConnell in the episode "The Bounty Hunter" of Tate, starring David McLean.[citation needed]

In 1974, Fletcher returned to film in Thieves Like Us, co-produced by her husband and Robert Altman, who also directed. When the two had a falling out on Altman's next project (Nashville (1975)), Altman decided to cast Lily Tomlin for the role of Linnea Reese, initially created for and by Fletcher. Meanwhile, director Miloš Forman saw Fletcher in Thieves and cast her as McMurphy's nemesis Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975).[3] Fletcher gained international recognition and fame for the role, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as a BAFTA Award and Golden Globe. She was only the third actress ever to win an Academy Award, BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award for a single performance, after Audrey Hepburn and Liza Minnelli. When Fletcher accepted her Oscar, she used sign language to thank her parents.[10]

After Cuckoo's Nest, Fletcher had mixed success in film. She made several financially and critically successful films, while others were box-office failures. Fletcher's film roles were in such features as Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), The Cheap Detective (1978), The Lady in Red (1979), The Magician of Lublin (1979), Brainstorm (1983), Firestarter (1984), Invaders From Mars (1986), Flowers in the Attic (1987), Two Moon Junction (1988), Best of the Best (1989), Blue Steel (1990), Virtuosity (1995), High School High (1996), and Cruel Intentions (1999, as Sebastian's aunt). Additionally, she played the character Ruth Shorter, a supporting role, in Aurora Borealis (2005), alongside Joshua Jackson and Donald Sutherland, and appeared in the Fox Faith film The Last Sin Eater (2007).[citation needed]

Fletcher co-starred in TV movies such as The Karen Carpenter Story (1989) (as Karen and Richard Carpenter's mother, Agnes), Nightmare on the 13th Floor (1990), The Haunting of Seacliff Inn (1994), and The Stepford Husbands (1996). From 1993 to 1999, she held a recurring role in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the scheming Bajoran religious leader Kai Winn Adami.[11] She also earned Emmy Award nominations for her guest roles on Picket Fences (1996), and later on Joan of Arcadia (2004).[12] In 2009, Fletcher appeared in Heroes as the physician mother of character Emma Coolidge. In 2011, she appeared in Shameless as Grammy Gallagher, Frank Gallagher's foul-mouthed and hard-living mother who is serving a prison sentence for manslaughter related to a meth lab explosion. She portrayed the recurring role of Rosie on the series Girlboss (2017).[citation needed]

Personal life

Fletcher married literary agent and producer Jerry Bick in 1960, divorcing in 1977.[10] The couple had two sons, John Dashiell Bick and Andrew Wilson Bick:[13] Fletcher took an 11-year break from acting to raise them.[10]

Fletcher received an honorary degree from Gallaudet University in 1982.[14]

In 1998, Fletcher was charged with reckless driving after she allegedly struck a police officer who was removing a deer carcass from a roadway. The police officer was injured in both legs and had to be hospitalized.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
1963 A Gathering of Eagles Mrs. Kemler
1974 Thieves Like Us Mattie
1975 Russian Roulette Midge
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Nurse Ratched
1977 Exorcist II: The Heretic Dr. Gene Tuskin
1978 The Cheap Detective Marlene DuChard
1979 The Lady in Red Anna Sage
1979 The Magician of Lublin Emilia
1979 Natural Enemies Miriam Steward
1980 The Lucky Star Loes Bakker
1980 Mama Dracula Mama Dracula
1981 Strange Behavior Barbara Moorehead
1981 Be Pretty and Shut Up Herself Documentary
1982 Talk to Me Richard's Mother
1983 Strange Invaders Mrs. Benjamin
1983 Brainstorm Lilian Reynolds
1984 Firestarter Norma Manders
1984 Once Upon a Time in America Cemetery Directress Only appears in the Extended Cut
1984 Overnight Sensation Evie Peregrine aka "E.K. Hamilton" Short Film
1986 Invaders from Mars Mrs. McKeltch
1986 The Boy Who Could Fly Dr. Granada
1986 Nobody's Fool Pearl
1987 Flowers in the Attic Grandmother
1988 Two Moon Junction Belle Delongpre
1989 Best of the Best Mrs. Grady
1990 Shadowzone Dr. Erhardt
1990 Blue Steel Shirley Turner
1992 The Player Louise Fletcher
1992 Blind Vision Miss Taylor
1994 On Deadly Ground Bartender uncredited
1994 Giorgino Innkeeper
1994 Tryst Maggie
1994 Tollboth Lillian
1995 Return to Two Moon Junction Belle Delongpre
1995 Virtuosity Elizabeth Deane
1996 Mulholland Falls Esther uncredited
1996 Edie & Pen Judge
1996 Frankenstein and Me Mrs. Perdue
1996 2 Days in the Valley Evelyn
1996 High School High Principal Evelyn Doyle
1997 Gone Fishin' Restaurant Owner uncredited
1997 The Girl Gets Moe Gloria
1998 Johnny 316 unknown role
1998 Love Kills Alena Heiss
1999 Cruel Intentions Helen Rosemond
1999 A Map of the World Nellie Goodwin
1999 The Contract Grandma Collins
2000 Big Eden Grace Cornwell
2000 Very Mean Men Katherine Mulroney
2000 More Dogs Than Bones Iva Doll
2001 After Image Aunt Cora
2001 Touched by a Killer Judge Erica Robertson
2002 Manna from Heaven Mother Superior
2003 Silver Man Val
2003 Finding Home Esther
2004 Clipping Adam Grammy
2005 Aurora Borealis Ruth Shorter
2005 Dancing in Twilight Evelyn
2006 Fat Rose and Squeaky Bonnie
2007 The Last Sin Eater Miz Elda
2007 A Dennis the Menace Christmas Mrs. Martha Wilson Direct-to-Video
2010 The Genesis Code Ellen Taylor
2011 Cassadaga Claire
2011 Rewired unknown role Short Film
2011 Mistaken Identity unknown role Short Film
2012 And Out, Into the Bright Blue Sky unknown role (Voice Role) Short Film
2013 A Perfect Man Abbie
2020 Grizzly II: Revenge Eileene Draygon


Year Title Role Notes
1958 Flight unknown role "Red China Rescue"
1958 Playhouse 90 Pete's Girl 2 episodes
1958 Bat Masterson Sarah Lou Conant "Cheyenne Club"
1958 Yancy Derringer Miss Nellie / Alithea "Old Dixie"
1959 Lawman Betty Horgan "The Encounter"
1959 Maverick Kathy Bent "The Saga of Waco Williams"
1959 77 Sunset Strip Julia Murphy "A Bargain in Tombs"
1959 The Untouchables Eloise "Ma Barker and Her Boys"
1959 Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond Jeannie "The Open Window" (broadcast Nov. 3rd., US)
1959 Markham Ellen Amery "Strange Visitor"
1959–60 Wagon Train Elizabeth / Martha English 2 episodes
1960 The Millionaire Holly "Millionaire Vance Ludlow"
1960 Sugarfoot Julie Frazer "Funeral at Forty Mile"
1960 Tate Mrs. McConnell "The Bounty Hunter"
1960 Perry Mason Susan Connolly / Gladys Doyle 2 episodes
1961 The Best of the Post unknown role "Groper in the Dark"
1961 The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp Aithra McLowery "The Law Must Be Fair"
1973 Medical Center unknown role "Child of Violence"
1974 Can Ellen Be Saved? Bea Lindsey TV Movie
1976 Dinah! Herself "#2.116"
1978 Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery Sally Kimball TV Movie
1978 Hollywood Squares Herself (Panelist) "6.19.1978"
1979 The Muppets Go Hollywood Herself (uncredited) TV Special
1984 Islands Maureen Davis TV Movie
1985 A Summer to Remember Dr. Dolly McKeever TV Movie
1986 Last Waltz on a Tightrope Cynthia Diamond TV Movie
1986 Second Serve Dr. Sadie M. Bishop TV Movie
1987 J. Edgar Hoover Annie M. Hoover TV Movie
1988 Worlds Beyond Karen Earl "Home"
1988 The Twilight Zone Dr. Cline "The Hunters"
1989 The Karen Carpenter Story Agnes Carpenter TV Movie
1989 Final Notice Mrs. Lord TV Movie
1990 In the Heat of the Night Catherine Tyler "December Days"
1990 Nightmare on the 13th Floor Letti Gordon TV Movie
1991 The Hitchhiker Mother Birch "Offspring"
1991 Tales from the Crypt Agent "Top Billing"
1991 In a Child's Name Jean Taylor Miniseries

2 episodes

1992 The Boys of Twilight Genelva McPherson / Genelva 4 episodes
1992 The Ray Bradbury Theater Miss Weldon "The Dead Man"
1992 Civil Wars Judge Francis Wyler "The Triumph of DeVille"
1993 The Fire Next Time Sarge Miniseries
1993–99 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Kai Winn / Vedek Winn recurring role (14 episodes)
1994 The Haunting of Seacliff Inn Dorothy O'Hara TV Movie
1994 Someone Else's Child Faye Maddox TV Movie
1995 Dream On Joanna "Try Not to Remember"
1995–97 VR.5 Mrs. Nora Bloom recurring role (6 episodes)
1996 Picket Fences Christine Bey 2 episodes
1996 The Stepford Husbands Miriam Benton TV Movie
1997 Sins of the Mind D. Anna Bingham TV Movie
1997 Married to a Stranger Nana, Megan's Mother TV Movie
1997 Heartless Aunt Lydia McGuffy TV Movie
1997 Breast Men Mrs. Saunders TV Movie
1998 Profiler Miriam Newquay, Jack's Mother 2 episodes
1998 The Practice Judge N. Swanson "Rhyme and Reason"
1998 Fantasy Island Doris Leeman "Dying to Dance"
1998 Brimstone Evelyn McNabb "Encore"
1999 The Devil's Arithemtic Aunt Eva TV Movie
1999 Time Served Warden Mildred Reinecke TV Movie
2000 Any Day Now Tillie Simms "Three Lucky Ladies on the Line"
2003 A Time to Remember Billy Calhoun TV Movie
2004 It's All Relative ER Nurse "Oscar Interrupts"
2004 Joan of Arcadia Eva Garrison "Do the Math"
2004 Wonderfalls Vivian Caldwell "Barrel Bear"
2004 Biography Herself (Interviewee) "Jack Nicholson: The Joker Is Wild"
2005 7th Heaven Mrs. Wagner "Honor Thy Mother"
2005 ER Roberta "Birdie" Chadwin 2 episodes
2006 A Dad for Christmas Glennie TV Movie
2009 Heroes Dr. Coolidge 2 episodes
2010–11 Private Practice Frances Wilder 2 episodes
2011–12 Shameless Peg Gallagher recurring role (4 episodes)
2012 Of Two Minds Aunt Will TV Movie
2012 Bad Girls unknown role TV Movie
2017 Girlboss Rosie 2 episodes


Association Year Category Nominated Work Results Ref
AARP Movies for Grownups Awards 2007 Best Grownup Love Story (shared with Donald Sutherland) Aurora Borealis Nominated
Academy Awards 1976 Best Actress One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Won [16]
BAFTA Awards 1977 Best Actress in a Leading Role One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Won
CinEuphoria Awards 2020 Career — Honorary Award Won
Faro Island Film Festival 1975 Jury Prize Special Mention One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Won
Genie Awards 1981 Best Performance by a Foreign Actress The Lucky Star Nominated
Gold Derby Awards 2012 Drama Guest Actress Shameless Nominated [17]
Golden Globes 1976 Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Won [18]
Golden Raspberry Awards 1987 Worst Supporting Actress Invaders from Mars Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle Awards 1975 Best Supporting Actress One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Nominated
Online Film & Television Association 1997 Best Guest Actress in a Syndicated Series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Won [19]
Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series Won
1998 Best Guest Actress in a Syndicated Series Won [20]
1999 Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series Nominated [21]
Best Guest Actress in a Syndicated Series Won
2012 Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series Shameless Won [22]
Palm Beach International Film Festival 2005 Legend in Film Award Won
Primetime Emmy Awards 1996 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (for episode "Bye Bye, Bey Bey") Picket Fences Nominated [23]
2004 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (for episode "Do the Math") Joan of Arcadia Nominated
Satellite Awards 1998 Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Breast Men Nominated
2016 Mary Pickford Award Won
Saturn Awards 1984 Best Actress Brainstorm Won
1988 Best Supporting Actress Flowers in the Attic Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Louise Fletcher". The Encyclopedia of Alabama.
  2. ^ Estelle Caldwell Fletcher obituary, Los Angeles Times
  3. ^ a b c d Harmetz, Aljean (November 1975). "The Nurse Who Rules the Cuckoo's Nest". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  4. ^ "Louise Fletcher". Yahoo Movies. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Rev. John Fletcher, 87; Ministered to the Deaf". The New York Times. March 16, 1988. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  6. ^ John "Caldwell" Fletcher obituary, Legacy.Com
  7. ^ Robertson, Nan (April 1976). "The Fletchers: Family That Heard The Silent Thanks". The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  8. ^ "This date in MAVERICK TV History: "The Saga of Waco Williams", the most-watched episode of the entire Maverick series, airs on Feb. 15, 1959". televisionconfidential.com. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  9. ^ Video on YouTube[dead link]
  10. ^ a b c Weinraub, Bernard (March 27, 1995). "Oscar's Glory is Fleeting. Ask One Who Knows". The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  11. ^ "Winn-ing With DS9's Louise Fletcher". startrek.com. CBS Studios Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, and CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  12. ^ "Louise Fletcher". emmys.com. Television Academy. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  13. ^ "Jerry Bick: Literary agent, producer". Variety. November 22, 2004. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  14. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients" (PDF). Gallaudet University. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  15. ^ "Louise Fletcher Charged with Driving into a Cop". Chicago Tribune. May 27, 1998. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  16. ^ "Browser Unsupported - Academy Awards Search | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences". awardsdatabase.oscars.org. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  17. ^ Derby, Gold (March 7, 2016). "2012 GOLDDERBY TV AWARDS". GoldDerby. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  18. ^ "Louise Fletcher". www.goldenglobes.com. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  19. ^ "1st Annual TV Awards (1996-97) - Online Film & Television Association". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  20. ^ "2nd Annual TV Awards (1997-98) - Online Film & Television Association". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  21. ^ "3rd Annual TV Awards (1998-99) - Online Film & Television Association". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  22. ^ "16th Annual TV Awards (2011-12) - Online Film & Television Association". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  23. ^ "Louise Fletcher". Television Academy. Retrieved June 28, 2021.