StarTrek.com is deeply saddened to report the passing of actress Louise Fletcher, who played Kai Winn on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Fletcher passed away on September 23, 2022, at the age of 88.
Born July 22, 1934, in Birmingham, Alabama, Fletcher’s career began in the late '50s, with appearances in shows such as Maverick and The Untouchables. Her performance in the 1974 Robert Altman film Thieves Like Us drew the attention of director Miloš Forman for a role in the 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. For her portrayal of Nurse Ratched, Fletcher won an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe, making her the third woman in history to win all three awards for a single performance.
Fletcher first appeared on Deep Space Nine in the first season finale, setting up her multi-season journey as Winn Adami. Her character was key to the show’s ultimate endgame set up in the series finale, “What You Leave Behind.” Over the course of 14 episodes, Fletcher delivered a nuanced portrait of an ambitious woman who was willing to do whatever it took to gain and maintain power, becoming a fan-favorite villain.
Speaking to StarTrek.com in 2012, Fletcher shared that “DS9 was one of the best memories of my working life, of my day-to-day working life.”
“It was like playing a symphony for the 99th time,” continued Fletcher. “I still get fan mail. People are still interested. They still want your autograph. Or they’ll send those [trading] cards and ask you to sign them and send them back. I would say that my mail is 40 percent Cuckoo’s Nest, 40 percent Star Trek, and 20 percent other shows and movies. And that’s great. I’m glad I did Star Trek. I’m so glad I’m part of that whole happening.”
The entire Star Trek family sends their condolences to Fletcher’s family, friends, loved ones, and fans around the world.