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Louise Fletcher, Oscar winner for ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ dies at 88

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Reuters

Reuters

Actress Louise Fletcher attends the premiere reception for Showtime's "Shameless" Season 2 at Haus Los Angeles on Jan. 5, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Actress Louise Fletcher attends the premiere reception for Showtime's "Shameless" Season 2 at Haus Los Angeles on Jan. 5, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo by David Livingston /Getty Images

Actress Louise Fletcher, who won an Academy Award for her role in the 1975 film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” has died at 88, the Associated Press reported late Friday.

Fletcher died in her sleep surrounded by family at her home in Montdurausse, France, her agent David Shaul told the news agency, without giving a cause for her death.

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

Reuters was not immediately able to reach Fletcher’s agent or son for comment.

The actress won the Academy Award for Best Leading Actress in 1976 for her portrayal of ruthless nurse Mildred Ratched in Milos Forman’s adaptation of Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel of the same name. The movie also won awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Leading Actor and Best Screenplay.

Louise Fletcher and Jack Nicholson are pictured in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Louise Fletcher and Jack Nicholson are pictured in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” Photo by supplied /Postmedia Network files

In her acceptance speech that night, she used American Sign Language to thank her deaf parents and thanked audiences for hating her.

Her portrayal of the character in the film was so memorable, streaming platform Netflix made a series called “Ratched” in 2020, which tells the origin story of the nurse-turned-villain.

Born Estelle Louise Fletcher on July 22, 1934, she was the second of four children.

She married producer Jerry Bick in the early 1960s and had two sons, John and Andrew. Fletcher divorced Bick in 1977 and is survived by her sons, according to the Associated Press.