Kathy Bates

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For the songwriter, see Katharine Lee Bates. For the soap character, see Kathy Glover.
Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates 2006.jpg
Bates in 2006
Born Kathleen Doyle Bates
(1948-06-28) June 28, 1948 (age 66)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Alma mater Southern Methodist University
Years active 1971–present
Spouse(s) Tony Campisi (m. 1991; div. 1997)

Kathleen Doyle "Kathy" Bates (born June 28, 1948)[1] is an American actress and film director. After appearing in several minor roles in film and television during the 1970s and the 1980s, Bates rose to prominence with her performance in Misery (1990), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, making her the first person to win an Oscar for a performance in a horror film; she also received a Golden Globe.[2] She followed this with major roles in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and Dolores Claiborne (1995), before playing a featured role as Molly Brown in Titanic (1997).

She received a Tony Award nomination for her 1983 performance in the Broadway play 'night, Mother. She won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in Primary Colors (1998), for which she also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for About Schmidt (2002).

Her television work has resulted in twelve Emmy Award nominations, two of which were for her starring role on the television series Harry's Law[3] and most recently, a win for her highly praised appearance on the third series of FX horror-thriller series American Horror Story, where she portrayed Delphine LaLaurie. She as well won another Emmy Award in 2012 for her portrayal as the ghost of Charlie Harper on CBS comedy series Two and a Half Men, a role formerly portrayed by Charlie Sheen.[4]

Early life[edit]

Bates was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the youngest of three daughters of Bertye Kathleen (née Talbert; 1907–97), a homemaker, and Langdon Doyle Bates (1900–89), a Mechanical Engineer.[1] Her paternal grandfather was lawyer and author Finis L. Bates. One of her great-great-grandfathers, who emigrated from Ireland to New Orleans, Louisiana, served as President Andrew Jackson's doctor.[5] She graduated from White Station High School and from Southern Methodist University (1969), where she majored in Theatre and became a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She moved to New York City in 1970 to pursue an acting career.[6] She was raised Methodist.[citation needed]


Bates' history of Broadway appearances includes Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July and the Robert Altman-directed Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean opposite Karen Black and Cher. She received a Tony Award nomination in 1983 for her stage role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play 'night, Mother opposite Anne Pitoniak. The production of 'night, Mother ran for more than a year. One of her other successful New York stage productions was, Off Broadway, in Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune which ran 533 performances. McNally specifically wrote the play for Bates and F. Murray Abraham, who had to drop out and was replaced by Kenneth Welsh. The play was later filmed as Frankie and Johnny, starring Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer. She succeeded Amy Irving in the off-Broadway production of The Road to Mecca in 1988.

Bates' first feature film was the 1971 Miloš Forman comedy Taking Off (credited as "Bobo Bates"), wherein she sings an original song "Even Horses Had Wings". Bates' next feature was the Dustin Hoffman film Straight Time (1978). In 1977, Bates made her soap opera debut as Phyllis on NBC's soap opera The Doctors. From 1983 to 1984, she played prison inmate Belle Bodelle on All My Children and from 1984 to 1985, she played Evelyn Maddox on One Life to Live.

In 1990, she would appear again with Hoffman in Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy as a stenographer. She appeared in films like The Morning After and Summer Heat, while guest-starring on television's L.A. Law, before landing the role of obsessed fan Annie Wilkes, who holds her favorite author (played by James Caan) captive, in the 1990 thriller film Misery, based on the Stephen King novel. Bates received her first Academy Award nomination for that role, winning Best Actress. Soon after, she starred with Jessica Tandy in the acclaimed 1991 movie Fried Green Tomatoes, based on the novel by comedic actress Fannie Flagg.

In 1995, Bates played the title character in Dolores Claiborne, a film adaption of another Stephen King novel, although she was not nominated for an Oscar. In 1997, Bates played Molly Brown in James Cameron's Titanic. Based on the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic, the film went on to earn more than US$1.8 billion in box-office receipts worldwide.[7]

Bates also excelled in her role as the acid-tongued "dustbuster" political advisor Libby Holden in the 1998 drama film Primary Colors, which was adapted from the book in which political journalist Joe Klein novelized his experiences on the Presidential campaign trail in 1991–1992. For this performance, she received her second Academy Award nomination, for Best Supporting Actress. In 2002 she received her third nomination, for About Schmidt. More recently, she and Terry Bradshaw played the parents of Matthew McConaughey's character in the 2006 film Failure to Launch. Bates was featured in an uncredited cameo in the miniseries of Stephen King's The Stand.

Bates has been nominated for an Emmy Award[8] eight times: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie, for her performance as Jay Leno's manager Helen Kushnick in HBO's The Late Shift (1996), and, twice again in the same category; as Miss Hannigan in Disney's remake of Annie (1999), and for the HBO Franklin Roosevelt biopic Warm Springs (2005). She was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Lifetime Television's Ambulance Girl (2006), which she also directed and received a Supporting Actress nomination for Alice.

She appeared in 10 episodes of the HBO cable television series Six Feet Under for which she received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, as Bettina, in 2003. She also was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for 3rd Rock from the Sun in 1999, the same year that she was nominated for Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries or Movie for the Dashiell Hammett-Lillian Hellman biopic Dash & Lilly. She also had a recurring guest role on the American version of The Office as Jo Bennett.

Starting in the 1990s, Bates forged a formidable career as a director. She has directed episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street, NYPD Blue, Oz, Six Feet Under, and Everwood. Bates directed the television movies Dash and Lilly and the self-starring Ambulance Girl. She directed and co-starred in Have Mercy (2006) with Melanie Griffith. In 2008, she re-teamed with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road. She starred in David E. Kelley's legal drama Harry's Law, which began airing on NBC on January 17, 2011, but was cancelled on May 14, 2012.[9]

In 2012, Bates made a guest appearance on Two and a Half Men as the ghost of Charlie Harper on the episode, "Why We Gave Up Women", which aired on April 30, 2012. In the episode Charlie has returned as a ghost to haunt his brother, Alan (Jon Cryer). He tells Alan that after a life of womanizing and debauchery, he was sent to hell and condemned to spend eternity in a woman's body. This guest appearance resulted in Bates' winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. It was Bates' first Emmy win after nine nominations.

In 2013, she began starring in the American Horror Story series' third season, Coven as Delphine LaLaurie, an immortal racist who is brought back into the modern world after spending years buried alive. Bates is returning in its fourth season Freak Show as Ethel Darling, a bearded Lady who performs in the freak show the season is centred on.[1]


Bates is the Executive Committee Chair of the Actors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors.[10]

Cancer battles[edit]

Bates has successfully battled ovarian cancer since her diagnosis in 2003. In September 2012, she revealed via Twitter that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer two months earlier and had undergone a double mastectomy.[11][12]



Year Title Role Notes
1971 Taking Off Audition Singer Credited as Bobo Bates
1978 Straight Time Selma Darin
1982 Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean Stella Mae
1983 Two of a Kind Furniture man's wife
1986 Morning After, TheThe Morning After Woman on Mateo Street
1987 Summer Heat Ruth
My Best Friend Is a Vampire Helen Blake Credited as Kathy D. Bates
1988 Arthur 2: On the Rocks Mrs. Canby
1989 Signs of Life Mary Beth Alder
High Stakes Jill
1990 Men Don't Leave Lisa Coleman
Dick Tracy Mrs. Green
White Palace Rosemary
Misery Annie Wilkes
1991 Shadows and Fog Prostitute
At Play in the Fields of the Lord Hazel Quarrier
Fried Green Tomatoes Evelyn Couch
1992 Road to Mecca, TheThe Road to Mecca Elsa Barlow
Prelude to a Kiss Leah Blier
Used People Bibby Berman
1993 Living and Working in Space: The Countdown Has Begun Lunar Mom Direct-to-video
Home of Our Own, AA Home of Our Own Frances Lacey
1994 North Alaskan mom
Curse of the Starving Class Ella Tate
1995 Dolores Claiborne Dolores Claiborne
Angus Meg Bethune
1996 Diabolique Det. Shirley Vogel
War at Home, TheThe War at Home Maurine Collier
1997 Swept from the Sea Miss Swaffer
Titanic Molly Brown
1998 Primary Colors Libby Holden
Effects of Magic, TheThe Effects of Magic Raphaella Voice of the Magic Bunny
Waterboy, TheThe Waterboy Helen "Mama" Boucher
A Civil Action Bankruptcy judge Uncredited
1999 Baby Steps Mrs. Mellon Short film
Dash and Lily Director
2000 Bruno Mother Superior
2001 Rat Race The Squirrel Lady Uncredited
American Outlaws Ma James
2002 Love Liza Mary Ann Bankhead
Dragonfly Mrs. Belmont
About Schmidt Roberta Hertzel
Unconditional Love Grace Beasley
2004 Around the World in 80 Days Queen Victoria
Little Black Book Kippie Kann
Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy Sea Hag Voice
Ingrate, TheThe Ingrate The Judge Short film
The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing Narrator Documentary film
Bridge of San Luis Rey, TheThe Bridge of San Luis Rey The Marquesa
2005 Hansel and Gretel Narrator Direct-to-video
Guilty Hearts The Judge
Rumor Has It... Aunt Mitsy Uncredited
2006 Failure to Launch Sue
Have Mercy Unknown
Solace Marrow's wife
Relative Strangers Agnes Menure
Bonneville Margene
Charlotte's Web Bitsy the Cow Voice
2007 Bee Movie Janet Benson Voice
Fred Claus Mother Claus
Golden Compass, TheThe Golden Compass Hester Voice
P.S. I Love You Patricia
Christmas Is Here Again Miss Dowdy Voice
2008 Family That Preys, TheThe Family That Preys Charlotte Cartwright
Day the Earth Stood Still, TheThe Day the Earth Stood Still SecDef, Dr Regina Jackson
Revolutionary Road Mrs Helen Givings
2009 Cheri Mme Charlotte Peloux
Personal Effects Gloria
Blind Side, TheThe Blind Side Miss Sue
The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club Narrator
2010 Valentine's Day Susan Milton
2011 Midnight in Paris Gertrude Stein
You May Not Kiss the Bride Bryan's Mother
Little Bit of Heaven, AA Little Bit of Heaven Beverly Corbett
2014 Tammy Lenore
The Great Gilly Hopkins Maime Trotter
2015 Boychoir Headmistress


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Doctors, TheThe Doctors Phyllis Unknown episodes
1978 Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat Sally Allison 3 episodes
1984 All My Children Belle Bodelle Unknown episodes
One Life to Live Evelyn Maddox Episode: "December 17, 1984"
1986 Cagney & Lacey Brenda Harris Episode: "Revenge"
Johnny Bull Katherine Kovacs
1986–87 St. Elsewhere Polly 2 episodes
1987 Murder Ordained Bobbi Birk
1989 China Beach Jan Episode: "The World: Part 2"
Roe vs. Wade Unknown
No Place Like Home Boonie Cooper
L.A. Law Charlotte Haley Episode: "One Rat, One Ranger"
1993 Hostages Peggy Say
1993–04 American Experience, TheThe American Experience Narrator 2 episodes
1994 Stand, TheThe Stand Rae Flowers Uncredited, episode: "The Plague"
1995 West Side Waltz, TheThe West Side Waltz Mr. Goo
1996 Late Shift, TheThe Late Shift Helen Kushnick
1999 Annie Miss Agatha Hannigan
3rd Rock from the Sun Charlotte Everly Episode: "Alien Hunter"
2000 MADtv Stuart's Grandma Episode: "#6.2"
2001 King of the Hill Police Officer Episode: "Lupe's Revenge"
2002 My Sister's Keeper Christine Chapman
2003–05 Six Feet Under Bettina 10 episodes
2005 Ambulance Girl Jane Stern
Warm Springs Helena Mahoney
2009 Alice Queen of Hearts 2 episodes
2010–11 The Office Jo Bennett 8 episodes
2011–12 Harry's Law Harriet Korn 34 episodes
2012 Two and a Half Men Charlie Harper Episode: "Why We Gave Up Women"
2013–14 American Horror Story Delphine LaLaurie Coven: 10 episodes
Ethel Darling[13] Freak Show: 3 episodes
2014 Mike & Molly Kay McKinnon Episode: "Three Girls And an Urn"

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Film Reference.com biography". FilmReference.com. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ Bagger, The (January 9, 2009). "Kathy Bates: An Oscar and a Lovely Career to Go With It". The New York Times. Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Kathy Bates". emmys.com. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ Prudom, Laura (15 March 2013). "'American Horror Story: Coven': Kathy Bates To Star In Season 3, Featuring Witches And Filming In New Orleans". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ Larson, Scott (July 16, 2006). "Public Interview with Kathy Bates.". ScottsMovies.com. Scott's Movie Comments. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Kathy Bates' Yahoo biography". movies.Yahoo.com. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Worldwide Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 20, 2009. 
  8. ^ Kathy Bates Emmy Nominated
  9. ^ "NBC Adds To New Scripted Lineup With Four New Series – 'The Cape', 'Outlaw', 'Harry's Law', And 'Friends With Benefits' – And Renews 'Chuck' For Fourth Season In 2010–11" (Press release). NBC Universal. May 14, 2010. Retrieved May 16, 2010. 
  10. ^ Published June 27, 2007 by. "June 28, 2007 – Happy Birthday Kathy Bates!". Theinsider.com. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Kathy Bates reveals she is battling breast cancer". Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  12. ^ Celizic, Mike (January 9, 2009). "Kathy Bates reveals her triumph over ovarian cancer". MSN. Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  13. ^ http://au.eonline.com/news/524361/the-american-horror-story-season-4-title-is?cmpid=sn-111021-facebook-na-eonline

External links[edit]