Kathleen Doyle "Kathy" Bates is an award-winning American actor of stage, film, and television. Bates first rose to prominence with her performance in the 1990 horror film Misery, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her television work has resulted in fourteen 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 in the third season of FX horror-thriller series American Horror Story.
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 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.
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 with Karen Black and Cher. Bates originated the role of Lenny in the first production of Crimes of the Heart at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in 1979. She was nominated for a Tony Award in 1983 for her stage role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play 'night with Anne Pitoniak. The stage production 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 and for which she won an Obie Award for Best Actress in 1988. 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 in the 1971 Miloš Forman comedy Taking Off (credited as "Bobo Bates"), in which 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. She then landed 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 adaptation 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 $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. She was first nominated for 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 has been nominated 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 in a Miniseries or Movie nomination for Alice.
She appeared in ten 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 was also 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 centered on. It premiered on October 7, 2015, and concluded on January 13, 2016. On September 14, 2016, Bates returned for her fourth, and the show's sixth season, Roanoke, playing both Thomasin "The Butcher" White, and White's reenactress, Agnes Mary Winstead.
In June 2016, the Human Rights Campaign released a video in tribute to the victims of the 2016 Orlando gay nightclub shooting; in the video, Bates and others told the stories of the people killed there.
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.
On September 20, 2016, Bates received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in the motion pictures industry, located at 6927 Hollywood Boulevard.
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 New York Walk for Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases, Bates announced via pre-recorded audio that, due to the double mastectomy, she has lymphedema in both arms. At that time, Bates became the National Spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) and has been actively involved in lymphedema and lymphatic disease advocacy.
She was married to Tony Campisi for six years from 1991 to 1997.
|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||The Morning After||Woman on Mateo Street|
|1987||Summer Heat||Ruth Stanton|
|1987||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|
|1990||Men Don't Leave||Lisa Coleman|
|1990||Dick Tracy||Mrs. Green|
|1990||White Palace||Rosemary Powers|
|1991||Shadows and Fog||Prostitute|
|1991||At Play in the Fields of the Lord||Hazel Quarrier|
|1991||Fried Green Tomatoes||Evelyn Couch|
|1992||The Road to Mecca||Elsa Barlow|
|1992||Prelude to a Kiss||Leah Blier|
|1992||Used People||Bibby Berman|
|1993||Living and Working in Space: The Countdown Has Begun||Lunar Mom||Direct-to-video|
|1993||A Home of Our Own||Frances Lacey|
|1994||Curse of the Starving Class||Ella Tate|
|1995||Dolores Claiborne||Dolores Claiborne|
|1996||Diabolique||Det. Shirley Vogel|
|1996||The War at Home||Maurine Collier|
|1997||Swept from the Sea||Miss Swaffer|
|1998||Primary Colors||Libby Holden|
|1998||The Effects of Magic||Raphaella, the Magic Bunny||Voice|
|1998||The Waterboy||Helen "Mama" Boucher|
|1998||A Civil Action||Bankruptcy Judge||Uncredited|
|1999||Baby Steps||Mrs. Mellon||Short film|
|2001||Rat Race||The Squirrel Lady||Uncredited|
|2001||American Outlaws||Ma James|
|2002||Love Liza||Mary Ann Bankhead|
|2002||Dragonfly||Mrs. Miriam Belmont|
|2002||About Schmidt||Roberta Hertzel|
|2002||Unconditional Love||Grace Beasley|
|2004||Around the World in 80 Days||Queen Victoria|
|2004||Little Black Book||Kippie Kann|
|2004||Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy||The Sea Hag||Voice|
|2004||The Ingrate||The Judge||Short film|
|2004||The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing||Narrator|
|2004||The Bridge of San Luis Rey||The Marquesa|
|2005||Hansel and Gretel||Narrator||Direct-to-video|
|2005||Guilty Hearts||The Judge|
|2005||Rumor Has It...||Aunt Mitsy||Uncredited|
|2006||Failure to Launch||Sue|
|2006||Solace||Marrow's Wife||Short film|
|2006||Relative Strangers||Agnes Menure|
|2006||Charlotte's Web||Bitsy the Cow||Voice|
|2007||Bee Movie||Janet Benson||Voice|
|2007||Fred Claus||Mother Claus|
|2007||The Golden Compass||Hester||Voice|
|2007||P.S. I Love You||Patricia Reilly|
|2007||Christmas Is Here Again||Miss Dowdy||Voice|
|2008||The Family That Preys||Charlotte Cartwright|
|2008||The Day the Earth Stood Still||Secretary of Defense Regina Jackson|
|2008||Revolutionary Road||Helen Givings|
|2009||Chéri||Madame Charlotte Peloux|
|2009||The Blind Side||Miss Sue|
|2009||The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club||Narrator|
|2010||Valentine's Day||Susan Milton|
|2011||Midnight in Paris||Gertrude Stein|
|2011||You May Not Kiss the Bride||Mrs. Lighthouse|
|2011||Little Bit of Heaven||Beverly Corbett|
|2015||When Marnie Was There||Mrs. Kadoya||Voice|
|2016||The Boss||Ida Marquette|
|2016||The Great Gilly Hopkins||Maime Trotter|
|2016||Bad Santa 2||Sunny Soke|
|2017||The Death and Life of John F. Donovan||Barbara Haggermaker||In post-production|
|1986||Johnny Bull||Katherine Kovacs|
|1987||Murder Ordained||Bobbi Birk|
|1989||Roe vs. Wade||Jessie|
|1989||No Place Like Home||Boonie Cooper|
|1995||The West Side Waltz||Mrs. Goo|
|1996||The Late Shift||Helen Kushnick|
|1999||Annie||Miss Agatha Hannigan|
|2000||Possessed||Student||Credited as Katherine Bates|
|2002||My Sister's Keeper||Christine Chapman|
|2005||Ambulance Girl||Jane Stern|
|2005||Warm Springs||Helena Mahoney|
|1977||The Doctors||Phyllis||Unknown episode|
|1978||The Love Boat||Sally Allison||Episode: "Too Hot to Handle/Family Reunion/Cinderella Story"|
|1984||All My Children||Belle Bodelle||Unknown episode|
|1984||One Life to Live||Evelyn Maddox||Episode: "December 17, 1984"|
|1986||Cagney & Lacey||Brenda Harris||Episode: "Revenge"|
|1986–87||St. Elsewhere||Polly||2 episodes|
|1989||China Beach||Nurse Jan Wyatt||Episode: "The World (Part 2)"|
|1989||L.A. Law||Charlotte Haley||Episode: "One Rat, One Ranger"|
|1993||American Experience||Narrator||Episode: "Amelia Earhart: The Price of Courage"|
|1994||The Stand||Rae Flowers||Episode: "The Plague"; uncredited|
|1999||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||Voice; Episode: "Lupe's Revenge"|
|2003–05||Six Feet Under||Bettina||10 episodes|
|2004||American Experience||Narrator||Episode: "Tupperware!"|
|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 (ghost)||Episode: "Why We Gave Up Women"|
|2013–14||American Horror Story: Coven||Marie Delphine LaLaurie||10 episodes|
|2014–15||American Horror Story: Freak Show||Ethel Darling||10 episodes|
|2014–15||Mike & Molly||Kay McKinnon||2 episodes|
|2015–16||American Horror Story: Hotel||Iris||11 episodes|
|2015||American Dad!||D.O. Rothy||Voice; Episode: "Manhattan Magical Murder Mystery Tour"|
|2016||American Horror Story: Roanoke||Thomasin White||5 episodes|
|Agnes Mary Winstead||4 episodes|
|2017||Feud: Bette and Joan||Joan Blondell||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1979||The Art of Dining||Herrick Simmons||Joseph Papp Public Theater [Newman Theater]|
|1980||Goodbye Fidel||Isabel||New Ambassador Theatre|
|1980||Fifth of July||June Talley||New Apollo Theatre; replacement|
|1982||Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean||Stella May||Martin Beck Theatre|
|1983–84||night||Jessie Cates||American Repertory Theatre|
|John Golden Theatre|
|Music Box Theatre|
|1985||Curse of the Starving Class||Ella||Promenade Theatre|
|1987||Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune||Frankie||Manhattan Theatre Club|
|1988||The Road to Mecca||Elsa Barlow||Promenade Theatre; replacement|
|1995||Great Performances||Episode: "Talking With"|
|1996||Homicide: Life on the Street||Episode: "Scene of the Crime""|
|1997||NYPD Blue||Episode: "I Love Lucy"|
|1998||Oz||Episode: "Family Bizness"|
|1999||Dash and Lilly|
|2001–03||Six Feet Under||5 episodes|
|2002||Everwood||Episode: "The Great Doctor Brown"|
|2003||Fargo||Unsold TV pilot|
- Her favorite film role is Dolores Claiborne.
- She was the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress in a horror/thriller for her role as Annie Wilkes in the 1990-film Misery.
- Official Website
- at the
|Bette and Joan|