For the songwriter, see Katharine Lee Bates. For the soap character, see Kathy Glover.
Kathleen Doyle "Kathy" Bates (born June 28, 1948) 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; she also received a Golden Globe. 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 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 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.
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. 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. 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. She was raised Methodist.
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 role 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.
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 twelve times, winning two: 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.
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. For that role, she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. Bates returned 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. In 2014, Bates became a national spokesperson for lymphedema and Chairperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network's Honorary Board.
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. In 2014, at the Walk for Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases, Bates announced via pre-recorded audio that, due to the double mastectomy, she has lymphedema in both arms. She was married to Tony Campisi for six years, from 1991-1997.
Awards and nominations:
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license