In a statement announced through Deadline Hollywood by her agent David Shaul, no cause of death was given but Shaul stated the actress died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Montdurausse, France.
She was surrounded by her family at the time of her death in the 300-year-old farmhouse she had built.
Fletcher started her career on television with roles in Lawman in 1958 and Maverick in 1959, but it was her role in 1975’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest that brought her both fame and infamy for the ruthlessness of her character.
Who did Louise Fletcher play in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest?
A foil to Jack Nicholson’s leading role, Randle McMurphy, Ratched ruled the Salem State Hospital with an iron first, striking fear into the hearts of the inmates committed to the hospital and had a particularly sadistic relationship with Billy Bibbit (played by Brad Dourif - the voice of Chucky from Child’s Play.)
Ratched saw McMurphy’s lively, rebellious presence as a threat to her authority, which she responded to by confiscating and rationing the patients’ cigarettes and suspending their card-playing privileges engaging in a battle of wills against the hero of the film.
Her portrayal of Nurse Ratched earned her universal acclaim, culminating in winning the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 1976 Academy Awards, alongside earning a BAFTA and Golden Globe for the role in the same year.
What other roles did Louise Fletcher play?
Her multi-award winning role in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest led her to play another role as a character in the medical field, Dr Gene Tuskin in 1977’s Exorcist II: The Heretic, while in the 80s she could be seen in the Stephen King adaptation of Firestarts, alongside Drew Barrymore.
She once again took to the role of an unusually cruel character in the cult classic Flowers In The Attic in 1987.