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Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates

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Also Known As: Kathleen Doyle Bates, Bobo Bates, Bobo Bates Died:
Born: June 28, 1948 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Memphis, Tennessee, USA Profession: actor, director, songwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

To the general moviegoer, Kathy Bates seemed to materialize from nowhere, giving an Academy Award-winning performance as a psychotic literary fan-turned-kidnapper in the screen adaptation of Stephen King's "Misery" in 1990. Unbeknownst to those outside theater circles, Bates had already enjoyed an over 20-year career as a Tony Award-winning actress on Broadway. Even more impressive, she was over 40 when she first made a dent in Hollywood; a town with a poor track record for accepting anyone who is past society's idea of "a woman's prime" â¿¿ never mind if she was also plus-sized. But this challenge gave the honest, unflinching actress opportunities to sink her teeth into eccentric character roles like her revered turn in "About Schmidt" (2002), as well as charismatic supporting roles in "Titanic" (1997) and "Primary Colors" (1998). Bates enjoyed a third career incarnation as a director, beginning with network police dramas, before earning acclaim both behind and in front of the camera on HBO's darkly comic "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05). Her work in films like the marital drama "Revolutionary Road" (2008), the crowd-pleasing "The Blind Side" (2009), and as the star of the legal drama series...

To the general moviegoer, Kathy Bates seemed to materialize from nowhere, giving an Academy Award-winning performance as a psychotic literary fan-turned-kidnapper in the screen adaptation of Stephen King's "Misery" in 1990. Unbeknownst to those outside theater circles, Bates had already enjoyed an over 20-year career as a Tony Award-winning actress on Broadway. Even more impressive, she was over 40 when she first made a dent in Hollywood; a town with a poor track record for accepting anyone who is past society's idea of "a woman's prime" â¿¿ never mind if she was also plus-sized. But this challenge gave the honest, unflinching actress opportunities to sink her teeth into eccentric character roles like her revered turn in "About Schmidt" (2002), as well as charismatic supporting roles in "Titanic" (1997) and "Primary Colors" (1998). Bates enjoyed a third career incarnation as a director, beginning with network police dramas, before earning acclaim both behind and in front of the camera on HBO's darkly comic "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05). Her work in films like the marital drama "Revolutionary Road" (2008), the crowd-pleasing "The Blind Side" (2009), and as the star of the legal drama series "Harryâ¿¿s Law" (NBC, 2010- ) kept the performer in high esteem with both critics and audiences. Still in her prime, Bates continued to break the Hollywood law of averages by letting her talent rather than her age define her as an actress.

Kathy Bates was born June 28, 1948, and raised in a middle class home in Memphis, TN. As a teenager, she loved creative writing enough to churn out an abundance of dark, introspective song lyrics before deciding to pursue English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. She changed her course quickly when she discovered the school's drama department, graduating in 1969 with a BFA in theater and moving to New York City to pursue a career onstage. Her earliest break came in the form of a small character role as an auditioning singer (performing one of her own compositions) in Milos Forman's "Taking Off" (1971), but Bates spent most of the ensuing two decades in theater. After several productions with Playwrights Horizons she got her first taste of success as a Texas belle in the off-Broadway hit "Vanities," which went on to tour in Los Angeles and Chicago. Bates appeared on the big screen as Gary Busey's put-upon wife in "Straight Time" (1978), before moving to Kentucky to work with the Actor's Theater of Louisville, where she originated the role of Lenny, the shy, eldest sibling, in Beth Henley's "Crimes of the Heart."

Bates hit Broadway in 1980 in the short-lived "Goodbye Fidel" supporting Jane Alexander, and originated the role of the loudmouthed Stella May in the Broadway production "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" in 1982, reprising her role in Robert Altman's film version later that year. A starring role as a desperate, Southern divorcee bent on committing suicide in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "'night Mother" established Bates as one of Broadway's top talents with a Tony nomination and a year-long stage run to prove it. The following year, she had a recurring role on ABC's daytime soap "All My Children" (ABC, 1970- ) as the cell mate of incarcerated Erica Kane (Susan Lucci). She went on to appear off-Broadway in Sam Shepard's dark comedy "The Curse of the Working Class" and gave an Obie and Drama Desk Award-winning performance as a frustrated waitress discovering love in "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune," a part written expressly for her by playwright Terrence McNally. Bates replaced Amy Irving in a role as a South African schoolteacher in Athol Fugard's "The Road to Mecca" (1988-89) before setting down roots in L.A. and focusing her attention on breaking into films.

She landed character roles in such films as "Men Don't Leave" (1990) and "Dick Tracy" (1990) before Rob Reiner, having seen her in a stage performance in L.A., cast the mainstream unknown in a co-starring role in Stephen King's "Misery" (1990). Bates gave a superlative performance as Annie Wilkes, a psychotic super fan of a romance novelist (James Caan) whom she holds hostage after he kills off her favorite character. For her chilling display, the Hollywood newcomer earned both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Despite her acclaim, good film roles for an over-40 stage actress were a challenge to find; due partly to the lack of imagination by casting agents and producers and partly because of Bates' full figure and mom-next-door looks. But she did find work, delivering a strong turn as Aidan Quinn's repressed missionary wife whose grief over the death of their son causes her to have a breakdown in "At Play in the Fields of the Lord" (1991). In another Golden Globe-winning performance, she played the attendant of nursing home resident (Jessica Tandy) in "Fried Green Tomatoes" (1991).

The Tony winner proved to be better than her material in lackluster offerings like "Used People" (1992) and "A Home of Our Own" (1993) before getting a boost as another of Stephen King's crusty characters. As "Dolores Claiborne" (1995), Bates was terrific, delivering a showy turn as a murder suspect with a dark past. Although some felt her miscast as a hard-boiled detective investigating a possible homicide in the pallid remake "Diabolique" (1996), she injected a much needed spark to the otherwise forgettable Sharon Stone film. Similarly, her foul-mouthed, aggressive agent-turned-producer in the HBO movie "The Late Shift" (1996) proved both her ability to handle comedy as well as earned her a Golden Globe and the first of many Emmy Award nominations. Admiring her spunk, director James Cameron tapped Bates to portray another larger-than-life character, Molly Brown, in his disaster epic "Titanic" (1997), which went onto become the highest grossing film of all time. Though her appearances in full Victorian finery were brief, the actress made a memorable impression as the nouveau riche Coloradan who implored the lifeboat crew members to row back for survivors from the sunken ocean liner. "Primary Colors" (1998) offered Bates a juicy role as a straight-talking, no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners political campaign advisor and earned her an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for her work. And while "The Waterboy" (1998) was hardly Broadway thespian territory, Bates brought down-home inspiration to her role as underachiever Sandler's white trash mother.

During the late 1990s, Bates began to branch out with behind-the-camera work directing TV dramas. She helmed episodes of police dramas "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-99) and "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005), as well as the gritty HBO prison drama "Oz" (HBO, 1997-2003). In 1999, she was nominated for a Best Directing Emmy for putting Sam Shepard and Judy Davis through their paces as Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman in the A&E biopic "Dash and Lilly." The same year, her zesty performance as Miss Hannigan in the TV movie version of the stage hit "Annie" (1999) shed light on her powerful singing voice and snagged her an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. In 2001, Bates directed the first of many episodes of Alan Ball's acclaimed dark dramedy "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05) and stuck close to that dark sensibility with a supporting role in the little-seen indie "Love, Liza" (2002) where she played the grieving mother-in-law of a widower (Seymour Hoffman) who turns to sniffing gasoline fumes as a way of dealing with his wife's suicide.

Continuing to prove her mettle as a comedienne, Bates was nominated as Outstanding Guest Actress for a stint on "3rd Rock from the Sun" (NBC, 1996-2001) and was part of the all-star cast of the quirky indie comedy feature, "Unconditional Love" (2002). But the big news in 2002 was her supporting performance in "About Schmidt." Bates spun comic gold in her performance as the eccentric, low-class mother of a depressed retiree's (Jack Nicholson) prospective son-in-law. Bates attacked the role with comedic gusto and complete disregard for vanity, resulting in critical accolades and an Academy Award and Golden Globe nomination for her supporting turn. In 2003, Bates came out in front of the "Six Feet Under" cameras in a recurring role as the earthy, outspoken Bettina, who helps Ruth Fisher (Frances Conroy) break out of her self-repressing ways, earning an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. Behind the scenes, however, Bates was fighting a private battle with ovarian cancer in 2003, a fact she revealed in 2009 in an effort to raise awareness and offer hope to other women diagnosed with the disease. The actress stated at the time that she just wanted to deal with her cancer on her own, which went into remission following chemotherapy.

In 2004, Bates had a cameo role as Queen Victoria in the contemporary remake of "Around the World in 80 Days" and turned up in support of Brittany Murphy in the middling romantic comedy "Little Black Book" (2004) as a daytime talk show hostess. She received rave reviews for her portrayal of physical therapist Helena Mahoney, who helped Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Kenneth Branagh) come to terms with his debilitating polio in the acclaimed HBO telepic, "Warm Springs" (2005), resulting in a nomination for an Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy Award. That same year, she directed and starred in the Lifetime telepic "Ambulance Girl," playing a former food writer who overcomes a bout of clinical depression when she begins working as a paramedic. A string of uneven comedies followed, with Bates co-starring alongside Jessica Lange and Joan Allen in the little seen middle-age road flick "Bonneville" (2006) and the blockbuster "Failure to Launch" (2006), where she and Terry Bradshaw played suburban parents whose 30-year-old son (Matthew McConaughey) will not move out of the house.

After lending her voice to family films "Charlotte's Web" (2006), "Bee Movie" (2007), and "The Golden Compass" (2007), Bates returned to the big screen in a big way, co-starring as a wealthy matriarch opposite Alfre Woodard's working class mom in Tyler Perry's "The Family That Preys" (2008), a suburban drama that follows two families brought together by scandal. Bates' popularity with top directors continued unabated, and the actress was cast in supporting roles in Sam Mendes' period domestic drama "Revolutionary Road" (2008) and Stephen Frears' "Cheri" (2008). Bates next played Miss Sue, tutor to adopted football phenomenon Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), in the box office winner "The Blind Side" (2009), which she followed with a recurring role as Michael Scott's (Steve Carell) new Dunder-Mifflin boss on NBC's hit sitcom "The Office (2005- ), as well as an acclaimed performance as the Queen of Hearts in "Alice" (Syfy, 2009), a futuristic retelling of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. The latter role earned her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.

Staying on the small screen, Bates became the star of her own series, "Harryâ¿¿s Law" (NBC, 2011-12), playing a retired patent lawyer who gathers together a misfit group of attorneys and operates an unorthodox practice out of a rundown shoe store in Ohio. The role earned the exceptional actress another Emmy Award nod, this time for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series â¿¿ her ninth overall nomination but first in that category. Despite the show being canceled in early 2012, she earned another Emmy nomination in the same category, while at the same time earned an Emmy that same year for her guest starring turn as the ghost of Charlie on "Two and a Half Men" (CBS, 2003- ). Back on the big screen, she delivered a small, but memorable turn as the famed Gertrude Stein in Woody Allenâ¿¿s lighthearted romantic comedy, "Midnight in Paris" (2011). Meanwhile, Bates faced another serious medical problem when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, leading to her having a double mastectomy soon after. Unlike her ovarian cancer, Bates went public with the news right away and declared her relief with not having to undergo chemotherapy again in an interview with People magazine.

In 2013, Bates joined the cast of Ryan Murphy's series "American Horror Story" (FX 2011- ) for its third season, and stayed for the fourth. She returned to the big screen as well, opposite Dustin Hoffman and Eddie Izzard in the drama "Boychoir" (2014) and opposite Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon in the raucous comedy "Tammy" (2014).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  Talking With (1995) Director
3.
  Dash and Lilly (1999) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Michelle Darnell (2016)
2.
 Complete Unknown (2016)
3.
 Bad Santa 2 (2016)
4.
 Tammy (2014)
6.
7.
 Valentine's Day (2010)
8.
 Blind Side, The (2009)
9.
 Chéri (2009)
10.
 Personal Effects (2009)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Memphis, TN
1970:
Moved to NYC to pursue career
1971:
Feature film debut in bit role as a singer auditioning in Milos Forman's "Taking Off"; also wrote song "And Even Horses Had Wings" she performed in film; credited as Bobo Bates
1973:
Stage debut as a duck in "Virginia Folk Tales" at Wayside Children's Theatre in Middletown, VA
1976:
Off-Broadway debut as Joanne, one of the Texas Southern belles in the three-character drama "Vanities"
1977:
Reprised her stage role in L.A. production of "Vanities"
1977:
Made TV debut on an episode of "The Love Boat" (ABC)
1978:
Was a member of the company of the Actors Theatre of Louisville (Kentucky); appeared in Beth Henley's "Crimes of the Heart"
:
Acted on stage in "The Art of Dining"
1980:
Made Broadway debut in support of Jane Alexander in the short-lived production "Goodbye Fidel"
1981:
Appeared in the Actors Theatre of Louisville production of "Extremities"
1982:
Originated role of Stella May in the short-lived Broadway production of "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean"; staged by Robert Altman; reprised part in Altman's film version
1983:
Starred on Broadway in "'night Mother"; received Tony nomination for her portrayal of a depressed woman bent on suicide
1984:
Played Belle, the cellmate of Erica Kane on the ABC daytime drama "All My Children"
1986:
TV-movie debut, "Johnny Bull" (ABC)
1987:
Cast in supporting role in the CBS miniseries "Murder Ordained"
1987:
Starred off-Broadway and in Los Angeles (1988) in "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" in a role written for her by playwright Terrence McNally
1988:
Replaced Amy Irving in the off-Broadway production of Athol Fugard's play "The Road to Mecca"; reprised role in 1981 feature version
1988:
Appeared in a two-part episode of the ABC drama "China Beach"
1990:
Made breakthrough screen performance as obsessed fan Annie Wilkes in feature adaptation of Stephen King's "Misery"
1991:
Co-starred with Jessica Tandy in "Fried Green Tomatoes"
1992:
Played supporting role in "Prelude to a Kiss"
1994:
Made uncredited appearance in the ABC miniseries "Stephen King's The Stand"
1995:
Starred as the title character, a woman accused of murder in the feature adaptation of King's "Dolores Claiborne"
1995:
TV directorial debut, the PBS production "Talking With"; also acted in one segment
1996:
Helmed episodes of "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "NYPD Blue"
1996:
Portrayed Jay Leno's manager Helen Kushnick in the HBO movie "The Late Shift"
1996:
Cast as the tenacious police woman investigating the disappearance of the school's headmaster in the remake of "Diabolique"
1997:
Directed the failed pilot "Fargo"
1997:
Portrayed 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' in James Cameron's blockbuster "Titanic"
1998:
Delivered a scene-stealing supporting turn as a political advisor Libby Holden in "Primary Colors"
1998:
Directed an episode of the HBO series "Oz"
1998:
Portrayed Adam Sandler's mother in the suprise hit "The Waterboy"
1999:
Helmed the TV-movie "Dash & Lilly" (A&E) about Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman
1999:
Starred as Miss Hannigan in Disney's remake of "Annie" (ABC)
2001:
Portrayed the mother of the James brothers in the revisionist Western "American Outlaws"
2002:
Co-starred in the television feature "My Sister's Keeper"
2002:
Landed recurring role as Bettina on the acclaimed HBO series "Six Feet Under"; also directed episodes
2002:
Played a fan who helps the male lover of a murdered pop star investigate the killing in "Who Shot Victor Fox?"
2002:
Had a bravura turn as the future in-law to Jack Nicholson in "About Schmidt"
2004:
Played Queen Victoria in the Disney live action feature "Around the World in 80 Days" based on the classic novel by Jules Verne
2004:
Starred with Brittany Murphy in the romantic comedy "Little Black Book"
2005:
Earned an Emmy nomination for her role as FDR's physical therapist in the HBO Films original movie "Warm Springs"
2005:
Cast in Rob Reiner's "Rumor Has It" with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston
2006:
Earned an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for "Ambulance Girl"
2006:
Voiced Bitsy the cow in live-action/computer-animated feature film "Charlotte's Web," based on the book by E.B. White
2007:
Voiced one of the winged characters in the computer-animated "Bee Movie"
2007:
Cast as Mother Claus opposite Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti in the comedy "Fred Claus"
2008:
Cast as the Secretary of Defense in the remake of the 1951 science fiction movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still"
2008:
Re-teamed with "Titanic" co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet for "Revolutionary Road"
2009:
Co-starred with Michelle Pfeiffer in Stephen Frears' "Cheri"
2009:
Co-starred as Miss Sue, Oher's tutor in "The Blind Side" opposite Sandra Bullock
2010:
Played a 'love therapist' in the Garry Marshall directed romantic comedy "Valentine's Day"
2009:
Played the Queen of Hearts in SyFy's "Alice"
2011:
Cast as Gertrude Stein in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris"
2011:
Landed first role as a series regular in "Harry's Law" (NBC)
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in Drama Series
2012:
Co-starred in the romantic drama "A Little Bit of Heaven"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Southern Methodist University: Dallas , Texas - 1969

Notes

"You're either young and glamorous and you're going to get the lead and get the man at the end of the picture, or it's the opposite: you're a character actress, you're not attractive enough for the other role, and so you're playing the friend or the killer or the lesbian or the doctor or whatever. But the one who gets to play the young, pretty, gets-the-boy-at-the-end role doesn't have any power. And vice-versa: a character can have power, but not femininity."---Kathy Bates, quoted in INTERVIEW, 1990.

"I have always had a problem with my weight. I'm not a stunning woman. I never was an ingenue; I've always just been a character actor. When I was younger it was a real problem, because I was never pretty enough for the roles that other young women were being cast in. The roles I was lucky enought to get were real stretches for me; usually a character who was older, or a little weird, or whatever. And it was hard, not just for the lack of work but because you have to face up to how people are looking at you. And you think, 'Well, y'know, I'm a real person.'"---Kathy Bates quoted in 'I Was Never an Ingenue' by David Sacks, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, January 27, 1991.

"The Oscar changed everything. Better salary, working with better people, better projects, more exposure, less privacy."---Bates to DAILY NEWS, March 9, 1998.

"I really love movie crews. They just work so hard, and we sometimes take them for granted."---Bates quoted in USA TODAY, March 30, 1998.

What happened after losing Best Supporting Actress to Catherine Zeta-Jones in March 2003: "Meryl Streep sailed by, grabbed my arm, and said, 'Let's go have a drink.' We slammed our bags onto the bar and she said, 'Two vodkas.' It was a real Bette Davis/Joan Crawford moment, it just took the sting out of losing."---Bates quoted to Entertainment Weekly, June 27/July 4, 2003.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Tony Campisi. Actor. Together from c. 1977; married in April 1991; divorced in 1997.
companion:
Bernard Hill. Actor. Appeared together in "Titanic".

Family close complete family listing

father:
Langdon Doyle Bates. Mechanical engineer. Deceased.
mother:
Bertye Kathleen Bates. Died on February 15, 1997 at age 91.
sister:
Mary Bates. Older.
sister:
Patricia Bates. Older.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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