An actress since the 1970s, Kathy Bates gained worldwide fame after portraying psycho Annie Wilkes in the adaptation of Stephen King's novel, director Rob Reiner's Misery (1990), for which her fantastic performance awarded her with an Oscar, Golden Globe and Chicago Film Critics Award in 1990. She also gained an abundance of phrase when she was cast as the charming, naïve, self-emancipating housewife Evelyn Couch in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991, also starring Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary-Louise Parker). Bates' extraordinary performance brought her a second Golden Globe and a nomination with the British Academy.
In 1998, she also won San Diego Film Critics and American Comedy awards for her sparkling performance in Primary Colors. Additionally, Bates received both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. In 2002, her glorious acting performance in About Schmidt (2002) handed her a National Board of Review award and nominations at the Golden Globes, SAG awards and Oscars.
On the small screen, the American actress also made a name for herself after playing the role of a rude and harsh producer named Helen Kushnick in The Late Shift (1996). Due to her significant performance, she won her third Golden Globe, a Golden Satellite, American Comedy and an Emmy nomination. Finishing the decade, she was seen as the cruel head of an orphanage, Miss Agatha Hannigan, in Annie (1999), in which she was honored with an American Comedy award and received nominations for a Golden Globe and an Emmy.
On stage, Bates drew attention for her bravura stage performance on Broadway in 1983's 'Night Mother, for which she was highly praised with an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in a Play, and a Tony nomination. Moreover, she was much admired for her Off-Broadway performance in Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (1987), for which she won an Obie and a LA Drama Critics Award.
Off screen, ranked number 17 (for villain) on the American Film Institute's 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villians for her Oscar-winning role in Misery, Bates currently is a governor for the Academy Awards. On a more personal level, Bates helps fund a hospital in Beverly Hills that treats recovering female cancer patients. As for her private life, Bates had a relationship with actor Bernard Hill before marrying actor Tony Campisi. The couple divorced in 1997.
Childhood and Family:
Memphis, Tennessee native Kathleen Doyle Bates was born on June 28, 1948. Kathleen and two older sisters Mary and Patricia, were raised by their father Langdon Doyle Bates (mechanical engineer) and mother Bertye Kathleen Bates (homemaker). Both parents are now deceased.
Young Kathleen, whose nickname is Bobo, developed an interest in acting when she was young. When she studying at White Station High School in Memphis, under the guidance of her drama teacher, Kathleen appeared in many theatrical productions. Upon graduation, she continued to study theatre at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, in which she earned her BFA in 1969. A year later, Kathleen relocated to New York to pursue her career. During her hard times in NY, Kathleen worked as a gift shop cashier at New York's Museum of Modern Art and as a singing waitress for the Catskills resort. She debuted in the film Taking Off, where she also wrote the song "And Even Horses Had Wings" which she performed on film. Kathy then joined a regional theatre in Washington DC before joining the Wayside Children's Theatre in Virginia, where she made a stage debut performance as a duck in Virginia Folk Tales.
As for her private life, 5' 3" inch tall Kathleen lived with actor Tony Campisi (aka Anthony Campisi) from 1977 until they eventually married in 1991. The couple later divorced in 1997.
Initiating acting by performing in a number of theatrical productions when she was in school, Kathy Bates, who once worked as a gift shop cashier and a singing waitress, had her feature film debut as audition singer in Milos Forman's Taking Off (1971) before coming back to perform in regional theatres in Washington DC and later making her stage debut as a duck in Virginia Folk Tales at the Wayside Children's Theatre in Middletown, Virginia.
In 1976, Bates landed her first off-Broadway role as Joanne, one of the Texas Southern belles in Vanities, and reprised her role in a stage production in LA. From 1978-1979, Bates appeared in Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart, and Extremities, when she became a member of the Actors Theatre of Louisville and was seen in The Art of Dining. She also made her small screen debut in an episode of The Love Boat.
Moving back to New York, Bates debuted on Broadway in 1980 working with Jane Alexander in the short-lived production Goodbye Fidel. Bates next starred on Broadway in 1983's 'Night Mother, playing a depressed woman turned suicidal. Her bright performance in the play brought her an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in a Play (1983) and a Tony nomination.
Off-Broadway, Bates received a breakthrough when she starred as a cynical waitress in Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (1987), for which she won an Obie award (1987-88) and a LA Drama Critics Award after the production moved to the Mark Taper Forum.
Though she gained notice for her stage performances, in the 1980s Bates only received small roles in such silver screen movies as Straight Time (1978), Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982), Two of a Kind (1983), The Morning After (1986), Summer Heat (1987), My Best Friend Is a Vampire (1988), Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), Signs of Life (1989) and High Stakes (1989). She also appeared on TV in All My Children (1984), Johnny Bull (1986), Murder Ordained (1987), No Place Like Home (1989) and Roe vs. Wade (1989).
After playing roles in Dick Tracy (1990) and White Palace (1990), Bates' breakthrough screen performance came when she was cast as psychotic Annie Wilkes in the adaptation of Stephen King novel, the movie Misery (1990). Her spectacular performance brought her an Oscar for Best Actress, a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) as well as a Chicago Film Critics Award for Best Actress in 1990. Due to her great success, Bates reached stardom at the age of 42.
"The Oscar changed everything. Better salary, working with better people, better projects, more exposure, less privacy." Kathy Bates
In 1991's At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Bates was seen as an introverted but ardent missionary in the jungle before playing the role of naïve, self emancipated housewife Evelyn Couch in the huge hit Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). Bates' sparkling performance netted her a second Golden Globe award. Additionally, she received rave reviews and earned a British Academy nomination.
By the mid-1990s, Bates cemented her position as a star and captured the title role in Dolores Claiborne (1995). She followed it up with another important role as a rude and extremely harsh producer named Helen Kushnick in the HBO television movie The Late Shift (1996), for which Bates' performance garnered her with a third Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Movie, a Golden Satellite for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie, a Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries in 1966, an American Comedy for Funniest Female Performer in a Television Special (Leading or Supporting) in 1997 and an Emmy nomination.
Bates teamed up with Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani in Diabolique (1996), Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen in The War at Home (1996), Rachel Weisz and Joss Ackland in Swept From The Sea (1997), Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in James Cameron's mega-hit Titanic (1997) and Adam Sandler and Fairuza Balk in the big budget hit The Waterboy (1998).
In the year 1998, Bates' next breakthrough arrived with her portrayal of political muckraker Libby Holden in Primary Colors (1998, also starring John Travolta). Her self-motivated, discourteous, hard-living lesbian character brought her nominations at the Oscars and Golden Globes. In 1998, she won the San Diego Film Critic award for Best Supporting Actress and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress. The following year, she also earned her second American Comedy award for Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress.
At the end of decade, Bates was seen as the nasty head of an orphanage, Miss Agatha Hannigan, in the made-for-TV movie Annie (1999), for which she was awarded a third American Comedy Award and received both a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination.
Entering the new millennium, lured by roles in Bruno (2000, along side Shirley Maclaine), Rat Race (2001), American Outlaws (2001, opposite Colin Farrell), the Oscar winning actress then starred in Love Liza (2002, as Philip Seymour Hoffman's mother in law), My Sister's Keeper (2002, TV), portraying mentally ill Christine Chapman and costarred as Kevin Costner's chirpy neighbor in Dragonfly (2002).
In 2002, Bates had a magnificent turn as Roberta Hertzel, the future in-law to Jack Nicholson's Warren Schmidt in About Schmidt (2002), for which she received nominations at the Golden Globes, the SAG awards and an Oscar nomination for her supporting role performance. Moreover, her dazzling performance brought her a National Board of Review for Best Supporting Actress in 2002.
The following year, Bates had a reoccurring role in Six Feet Under (2003), in which her brilliant performance handed her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (2003).
After Unconditional Love (2002), Bates continued to grace the screen with four more film projects, The Ingrate (2004, played The Judge), Around the World in 80 Days (2004, Queen Victoria), Little Black Book (2004, Kippie Kann) and The Bridge of San Luis Rey (2004, alongside Robert De Niro, Gabriel Byrne and Harvey Keitel). She also lent her voice in Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy (2004). In 2005, she portrayed Helena Mahoney in Warm Springs (2005,TV) before playing roles in the upcoming Relative Strangers (2005), Ambulance Girl (2005, TV) and Rumor Has It (2005). She is also scheduled to provide her voice in Charlotte's Web (2006) and Bee Movie (2007).
- National Board of Review: Best Supporting Actress, About Schmidt, 2002
- American Comedy: Annie, 2000
- Screen Actors Guild: Best Supporting Actress, Primary Colors, 1999
- American Comedy: Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, Primary Colors, 1999
- Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actress, Primary Colors, 1998
- San Diego Film Critics: Best Supporting Actress, Primary Colors, 1998
- American Comedy: Best Supporting Actress, Primary Colors, 1998
- The Actor: 1998
- American Comedy: Funniest Female Performer in a Television Special (Leading or Supporting), The Late Shift, 1997
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries, The Late Shift, 1997
- Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Movie, The Late Shift, 1997
- Golden Satellite: Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie, The Late Shift (initial presentation of award), 1996
- The Actor; 1996
- Golden Globe: Fried Green Tomatoes, 1991
- Oscar: Best Actress, Misery, 1990
- Golden Globe: Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama), Misery, 1990
- Chicago Film Critics: Best Actress, Misery, 1990
- Obie Award: Performance, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, 1987-88
- Outer Critics Circle: Best Actress in a Play, 'Night Mother, 1983