Louise Fletcher, who won an Oscar for her role as Nurse Ratched in 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and offered the culture a picture of bureaucratic evil so unforgettable that the character’s last name might carry a TV series 45 years later, died Friday at her home in Montdurausse, France. She was 88 years old.

Despite being forever associated with her most famous character, Fletcher had a successful acting career that encompassed more than 60 years and included numerous appearances on television and in films. 

Also read: Who was Louise Fletcher?

Shameless as Peggy Gallagher

Louise Fletcher played the role of Margaret ‘Peggy’ Gallagher, also identified as ‘Grammy,’ was Frank’s formidable mother and the Gallagher family matriarch in the series Shameless. Her behaviour in the Gallagher and Jackson families makes her one of the season’s two main antagonists. 

She was a very loud, overbearing woman who was primarily responsible for Frank’s personality. Peggy frequently neglected and treated her son coldly, which was mirrored in her son’s own parenthood of his children. Peggy later humiliated her grown son and was remarkable for being the only person to completely shut him down.

Also read: Louise Fletcher death: Age, family, and net worth

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Kai Winn/Vedek Winn

The character of Winn Adami was an aspirational Bajoran religious leader who was voted into power as the first Kai of Bajor after the Cardassian Occupation. Winn, a representative of an outspoken orthodox order, was steadfastly rooted in her faith even as she revealed herself to be a blatantly arrogant and deceitful opportunist.

Fletcher appeared in 14 recurring episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Thieves Like Us as Mattie

Fletcher co-starred with Keith Carradine and Shelley Duvall in Robert Altman’s 1974 film Thieves Like Us.

Milos Forman first noticed her in this film prior to casting her in 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was based on Ken Kesey’s 1962 book about life in an Oregon psychiatric hospital.

In a 2016 interview, Fletcher explained, “He was watching it to look at Shelley Duvall to play one of the girls who comes on the ward on the party night, and there I was. “He said, ‘Who is that?'”

After Anne Bancroft, Angela Lansbury, Geraldine Page, Colleen Dewhurst, and Ellen Burstyn all turned down the part of Nurse Ratched, many choosing to believe it was too difficult to play, Forman cast Fletcher.

Also read: Oscar-winning actor Louise Fletcher dies at 88

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as Nurse Ratched

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was an instant critical and box office success, and it went on to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, and Best Screenplay for the work of Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman.

Fletcher was the third woman to win the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, and Golden Globe Award for a single appearance. So memorable was her performance that, in 2020, the Ryan Murphy-Evan Romansky Netflix series Ratched — a sort of prologue to the novel and film, starring Sarah Paulson — only needed the single-word title to conjure up the feeling of unease and brutality imparted by Fletcher decades earlier.

Also read: Tudum India 2022: Guns & Gulaabs, Monica O My Darling, Khufiya, and other titles to be showcased

Exorcist II: The Heretic as Dr. Gene Tuskin

Fletcher played the role of Dr. Gene Tuskin in Exorcist II: The Heretic.

“I got the Oscar when I was 41,” said Fletcher in a 1995 interview with the New York Times. “If I was 23, it would have been hard to deal with. Hell, at my age it was hard to deal with. It was like being thrown an explosive.”

In the same discussion, she recounted Forman’s prophetic remark made backstage on Oscar night. “‘Milos said, ‘Now we’re all going to make flops.’ It was true. I made The Heretic — the second Exorcist — and it was a huge flop. Milos did Ragtime. And Jack did [The] Missouri Breaks. That’s Czech prophecy.”

Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) launched Fletcher into a string of high-profile but under-performing films, including The Cheap Detective, The Lady in Red, Brainstorm, Blue Steel, and Cruel Intentions.