Louise Fletcher (born July 22, 1934) is an American actress perhaps best known for her Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning role as Nurse Ratched in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Fletcher, the second of four children, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the daughter of Estelle Caldwell and Reverend Robert Capers Fletcher, who was an Episcopal priest from Arab, Alabama. Both of her parents were deaf and worked with the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Fletcher's father founded more than 40 churches for the deaf in Alabama. Fletcher and her siblings, Roberta, John and Georgianna, were all born without any hearing loss; she was taught to speak by a hearing aunt, who also introduced her to acting. After attending the University of North Carolina, she traveled to Los Angeles, California, where she found work as a secretary by day and took acting lessons by night.
Fletcher began appearing in several television productions, including the highest-rated episode of Maverick. She married Jerry Bick and took time off to raise her two children; they divorced in 1977. In 1974, she returned to film in Thieves Like Us co-produced by her husband and Robert Altman, who also directed. When the two men