'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' actress Louise Fletcher dies aged 88

The celebrated star won an Oscar, Bafta and Golden Globe for her role in the 1975 film

Louise Fletcher, who played Mildred Ratched in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', died from natural causes in her sleep, according to loved ones. Photo: Eilise Ward / The Oregonian
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Actress Louise Fletcher, who won an Academy Award for her role in the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, has died aged 88.

Fletcher died in her sleep surrounded by family at her home in Montdurausse, France, her agent David Shaul told Associated Press.

Andrew Bick, her son, told The Hollywood Reporter that she died on Friday of natural causes. She had survived two battles with breast cancer.

The actress won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1976 for her portrayal of ruthless nurse Mildred Ratched in Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, an adaptation of Ken Kesey's 1962 novel of the same name.

The movie also won awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay.

In an emotional acceptance speech that night, the actress used American Sign Language to thank her deaf parents for having a dream, and thanked audiences for hating her villainous character.

Her portrayal of the character in the film was so memorable, it inspired streaming platform Netflix to make a series called Ratched, which tells the origin story of the nurse-turned-villain.

Fletcher also won a 1975 Golden Globe for her performance and a Bafta for Best Actress in a Leading Role a year later.

Fans of Star Trek know the actress best for her role as the cunning Winn Adami, who frequently fought with Captain Sisko and crew. It was a role she reprised for 14 episodes over a seven season run.

Born in Alabama as Estelle Louise Fletcher on July 22, 1934, she was the second of four children born to her parents, who had been deaf since childhood.

She married producer Jerry Bick in the early 1960s and had two sons, John and Andrew. She retired from acting for more than a decade to raise them.

Fletcher divorced Bick in 1977 and is survived by her sons.

Updated: September 24, 2022, 6:59 AM