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The actress who played one of the greatest villains in film history, Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, has died.

Oscar winner Louise Fletcher dies at 88

Oscar winner Louise Fletcher dies at 88

A photo: GLOBAL LOOK PRESS

Here, perhaps, you can really say “an actress of one role.” Well, what was in the filmography of Louise Fletcher, except for the film that made her famous all over the planet? Belgian horror comedy Mama Dracula? Horror films “The Exorcist 2” and “Grizzly 2”? Erotic melodrama “Merge of two moons”? Dozens of other now forgotten films and television films?

Well, yes, she received two Emmy nominations, yes, she worked very hard – but she only really got lucky once. When Milos Forman approved her for the role of Nurse Ratched in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She not only received an Oscar – you never know who, in the end, received it. Her character was eventually ranked fifth on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movie Villains. Only Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates from Hitchcock’s Psycho, Darth Vader from Star Wars and the witch from The Wizard of Oz were able to get ahead of Ratched.

Louise Fletcher was born in 1934 in Alabama, her father and mother were both deaf (her father, a priest, founded 40 churches especially for the deaf in the state). Louise studied acting at the University of North Carolina, in the 50s she began acting on television in serials, and they were successful. However, already in the early 60s she took a break for more than ten years – she devoted this time to raising her sons. And when she returned, she starred in Robert Altman’s film Thieves Like Us.

There she was seen by Milos Forman, who was looking for an actress for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But she did not get the role right away: the producers were desperately looking for a more popular actress, turned to Angela Lansbury, Ellen Burstyn, Anne Bancroft … And everyone refused – because they considered Ratched too vile, unbearably evil.

The story about the duel in the psychiatric hospital of the rebel McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) and the nurse, who looks impeccable and looks perfectly correct, but is ready for any meanness, simply blew up America and the whole world. At the box office, the film grossed 163 million (in terms of today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation – almost 900 million). And the picture got five “Oscars” – the most important, the most important: for the best film of the year, best director, script and performance of two main roles.

Accepting the award, Fletcher thanked the Academy: “It seems that you hated me so much that it was for this that they gave the award. And I really like that you hate me!” She didn’t seem to realize how much of a creepy character she had created until the moment she got to a regular movie show in Chicago. “The moment Jack Nicholson’s character throws himself at me and starts to choke me, everyone jumped up from their seats and started screaming with delight. Everyone is up! That was incredible”. Well, this is also a recognition of acting skills, and any actress can dream about it.

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