Happy Birthday Kathy Bates: Celebrating the Oscar-Winning Star’s Hollywood Career

by Emily Morgan
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Birthday wishes are going out to legendary actress Kathy Bates today as she celebrates her 73rd birthday.

Long before she became an academy-award-winning star, Bates was born on June 28, 1948, and raised in Memphis, Tenn. As the youngest of three girls, Kathy discovered her love for acting after appearing in high school plays. In college, she studied drama at Southern Methodist University. 

With every intent to pursue acting, she later moved to New York City got her first big start when she gave a stellar performance alongside Christopher Walken. She starred opposite him at Buffalo’s Studio Arena Theatre in Lanford Wilson’s Lemon Sky.

After several theatrical performances and a stint on Broadway, Bates transitioned to films but had a false start in 1971’s Taking Off (1971). She returned to the screen in 1978, when she starred in Straight Time with Dustin Hoffman. However, things wouldn’t take off for the young starlet until later. 

Finally, in 1990 Bates’ performance in the horror film Misery jolted her ascent to stardom. Critics and fans met her performance as Annie Wilkes with widespread acclaim. That same year, she booked a role in Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy. Her hard work and dedication would pay off when she won the Academy Award for “Best Actress” and the Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress” in a motion picture the following year. 

The decade of the ’90s proved to be successful for Bates. In 1991, she and fellow actress Jessica Tandy starred together in Fried Green Tomatoes. Later in 1995, she showed off the depth of her talent when she played in Dolores Claiborne. Later, in 1998, she received an Oscar nod for her portrayal as Libby Holden in Primary Colors, which earned her a “Best Supporting Actress” nomination.

Kathy Bates Ages Like a Fine Wine in Films, TV Shows

Although she didn’t have a leading role, who could forget Bates in the Oscar-winning film, Titanic. In the movie, Bates played the real-life Molly Brown. She made her role memorable as she displays a haunted reaction to the ship sinking as she watches from a lifeboat. 

Besides films, she’s also seen a high degree of success on TV. Currently, she has over 11 Emmy wins. She earned a Golden Globe and Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Jay Leno’s manager in 1996’s “The Late Shift.” She also received praise for her role as Miss Hannigan in “The Wonderful World of Disney: Annie” in 1999. 

She kept her momentum going into the 2000s when she took on more profound roles in hit shows like “Six Feet Under,” “The Office,” “Harry’s Law,” and “American Horror Story.”

Later on, she kept making waves in the industry when she played Gertrude Stein in 2011’s Midnight in Paris. She also impressed audiences as Queen Victoria in the remake of Around the World in 80 Days. She also made us laugh in the popular rom-com alongside Matthew McConaughey and Terry Bradshaw in Failure to Launch. 

Later in 2015, she played a foster mother in the dramedy The Great Gilly Hopkins and also gave a gut-wrenching performance as the mother of a suspected terrorist in Richard Jewell in 2019. The performance also earned her third “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar nomination.

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