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Award-winning actress Kathy Bates starred as a deranged fan opposite James Caan in Misery, and as a comically emancipated housewife in Fried Green Tomatoes.
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Actress Kathy Bates was born on June 28, 1948, in Memphis, Tennessee. Until the 1990s, she had only minor parts in television series and lackluster films. But with the critical and popular success of Misery, her film career hit an upswing. Her success in Misery was matched by her role in Fried Green Tomatoes. She has also had prominent roles in Dolores Claiborne, Diabolique, Titanic, The Waterboy and Primary Colors.
"I was never an ingenue; I've always just been a character actor."
Born Kathleen Doyle Bates on June 28, 1948, in Memphis, Tennessee, Kathy Bates has enjoyed a long and successful career as an actress. She initially wanted to study English while at Southern Methodist University, but soon switched her major to theater. After graduating from the school in 1970, Bates moved to New York City. There, she worked a number of jobs to make ends meet, including stints as a cashier at New York City's Museum of Modern Art and a singing waitress in a Catskill resort.
Bates made her film debut in Milos Foreman's Taking Off (1971), playing a minor role. She eventually established herself as a stage actress, finding success with the off-Broadway play Vanities in the mid-1970s. In 1980, Bates made her way to Broadway for the first time in the short-lived Goodbye, Fidel.
Three years later, Bates distinguished herself in Marsha Norman's 'Night Mother. She played a woman who discusses her desire to commit suicide with her mother in the play, for which she earned a Tony nomination. Bates also played Lenny McGrath in Beth Henley's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Crimes of the Heart—a role that went to Diane Keaton for the 1986 film adaptation. In 1987, she gave another critically acclaimed performance as the abused waitress Frankie in Terence McNally's off-Broadway play Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune. Bates won a prestigious Obie award for her work in the production.
After minor parts on such lackluster films like Straight Time (1978) and Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), Kathy Bates had a career breakthrough with the 1990 Stephen King adaptation Misery, in which she plays a crazed fan of a romance author (James Caan). Her character rescues the author after an accident near her home and then resorts to brutal measures to get the author to rewrite his latest work. Bates won an Academy Award for her gripping portrayal of a lonely, desperate and obsessive woman.
Bates soon followed up that success with her comic turn in Fried Green Tomatoes (1992), which earned her a Golden Globe Award. Over the few next years, she was a hot streak, landing prominent roles in Dolores Claiborne (1994), Diabolique (1996), Titanic (1997) and The Waterboy (1998). Her work in the political satire Primary Colors (1998) earned her an Academy Award nomination.
Bates continued to enjoy some success on the big screen. She appeared in Bruno (2000) with Gary Sinise and Shirley MacLaine (who also directed the film). In the 2002 drama About Schmidt, Bates gave an Academy Award-nominated performance opposite Jack Nicholson.
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