Louise Fletcher, Star Trek’s Kai Winn, Dies at 88

Louise Fletcher, Star Trek’s Kai Winn, Dies at 88

Louise Fletcher, actor in works such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine passed away in her home in France on Friday. Per her son Andrew Bick, the 88-year-old actor died of natural causes.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1934, Fletcher began her acting career with the 1958 series Flight, followed by onetime roles throughout 1959 and the early 60s on shows such as Maverick and The Untouchables. Because she was 5’10 — which, according to a 1975 interview, made producers think no one would see her as attractive — she would mostly wind up in westerns.

In 1974, she would be cast as Nurse Ratched in Miloš Forman’s adaptation of the Ken Kesey novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. That role gave her international recognition, and she would go on to win a Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Academy Award for Best Actress. From there, Fletcher would have a healthy career in both film and TV: movie wise, she appeared or starred in films such as Exorcist II (1977), Virtuosity (1995), and Invaders from Mars (1986). On TV, she appeared in Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, and The Muppets Go Hollywood.

Fletcher’s longest TV role would come with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She first appeared in the season one finale “In the Hands of the Prophets” as a Bajoran cleric named Kai Winn who successfully manages to draw the Bajoran students of the Deep Space Nine school to her side. She’d go on to become a recurring antagonist throughout the series, often allying with extremists or making power plays to advance her own career. Winn has been called one of the best villains in the overall franchise, and our own James Whitbrook would agree. “Fletcher played one of the biggest arseholes in all of Star Trek,” he wrote. “Just a remarkable performance on a truly evil piece of work character.”

More recently, Fletcher was a recurring actor on Showtime’s Shameless as Peg Gallagher, and as Rosie on Netflix’s Girlboss. The latter series would serve as her final role.

Our thoughts are with the Fletcher family at this time.

[via The Hollywood Reporter]

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