(*88*) Fletcher, a late-blooming star whose riveting efficiency because the merciless and calculating Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” set a brand new normal for display screen villains and gained her an Academy Award, has died at age 88.
Fletcher died in her sleep surrounded by household at her house in Montdurausse, France, her agent David Shaul informed The Associated Press on Friday. No trigger was given.
After placing her profession on maintain for years to lift her youngsters, Fletcher was in her early 40s and little identified when chosen for the position reverse Jack Nicholson within the 1975 movie by director Milos Forman, who had admired her work the 12 months earlier than in director Robert Altman’s “Thieves Like Us.” At the time, she didn’t know that many different outstanding stars, together with Anne Bancroft, Ellen Burstyn and Angela Lansbury, had turned it down.
“I used to be the final particular person solid,” she recalled in a 2004 interview. “It wasn’t till we have been midway by way of taking pictures that I noticed the half had been provided to different actresses who didn’t wish to seem so horrible on the display screen.”
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” went on to grow to be the primary movie since 1934′s “It Happened One Night” to win greatest image, greatest director, greatest actor, greatest actress and greatest screenplay.
Clutching her Oscar at the 1976 ceremony, Fletcher informed the viewers, “It seems to be as if you all hated me.”
She then addressed her deaf dad and mom in Birmingham, Alabama, speaking and utilizing signal language: “I wish to thanks for instructing me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true.”
A second of silence was adopted by thunderous applause.
Later that night time, Forman made the wry remark to Fletcher and her co-star, Jack Nicholson: “Now all of us will make great flops.”
In the quick run, at least, he was proper.
Forman subsequent directed “Hair,” the film model of the hit Broadway musical that did not seize the attraction of the stage model. Nicholson directed and starred in “Goin’ South,” typically thought to be one in every of his worst movies. Fletcher signed on for “Exorcist II: The Heretic,” a misconceived sequel to the landmark authentic.
Far greater than her male friends, Fletcher was hampered by her age to find main roles in Hollywood. Still, she labored constantly for many of the remainder of her life. Her post-“Cuckoo’s Nest” movies included “Mama Dracula,” “Dead Kids” and “The Boy Who Could Fly.”
She was nominated for Emmys for her visitor roles on the TV collection “Joan of Arcadia” and “Picket Fences,” and had a recurring position as Bajoran non secular chief Kai Winn Adami in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” She performed the mom of musical duo Carpenters in 1989′s “The Karen Carpenter Story.”
Fletcher’s profession was additionally hampered by her top. At 5-feet-10, she would typically be dismissed from an audition instantly as a result of she was taller than her main man.
Fletcher had moved to Los Angeles to launch her performing profession quickly after graduating from North Carolina State University.
Working as a physician’s receptionist by day and learning at night time with famous actor and instructor Jeff Corey, she started getting one-day jobs on such TV collection as “Wagon Train,” “77 Sunset Strip” and “The Untouchables.”
Fletcher married producer Jerry Bick within the early Sixties and gave start to 2 sons in fast succession. She determined to place her profession on maintain to be a stay-at-home mom and didn’t work for 11 years.
“I made the selection to cease working, however I didn’t see it as a alternative,” she stated within the 2004 interview. “I felt compelled to remain at house.”
She divorced Bick in 1977 and he died in 2004.
In “Cuckoo’s Nest,” based mostly on the novel Ken Kesey wrote whereas collaborating in an experimental LSD program, Nicholson’s character, R.P. McMurphy, is a swaggering, small-time felony who feigns madness to get transferred from jail to a psychological establishment the place he gained’t should work so arduous.
Once institutionalized, McMurphy discovers his psychological ward is run by Fletcher’s chilly, imposing Nurse Mildred Ratched, who retains her sufferers tightly beneath her thumb. As the 2 conflict, McMurphy all however takes over the ward together with his bravado, resulting in stiff punishment from Ratched and the establishment, the place she restores order.
The character was so memorable she would grow to be the idea for a Netflix collection, “Ratched,” 45 years later.
Estelle (*88*) Fletcher was born the second of 4 youngsters on July 22, 1934, in Birmingham. Her mom was born deaf and her father was a touring Episcopal minister who misplaced his listening to when struck by lightning at age 4.
“It was like having dad and mom who’re immigrants who don’t converse your language,” she stated in 1982.
The Fletcher youngsters have been helped by their aunt, with whom they lived in Bryant, Texas, for a 12 months. She taught them studying, writing and talking, in addition to learn how to sing and dance.
It was these latter research that satisfied Fletcher she wished to behave. She was additional impressed, she as soon as stated, when she noticed the film “Lady within the Dark” with Ginger Rogers.
That and different movies, Fletcher stated, taught her “your dream might grow to be actual life in case you wished it unhealthy sufficient.”
“I knew from the films,” she would say, “that I wouldn’t have to remain in Birmingham and be like everybody else.”
Fletcher’s loss of life was first reported by Deadline.
She is survived by her two sons, John and Andrew Bick.