Actress Kathy Bates has been a staple on television and movies for decades. She is known to play fierce characters and in real life, she is just as intimidating.
The actress was diagnosed with a chronic condition that forced her to make some very drastic changes…
In 1970, Kathy Bates headed to New York to try her luck at acting. She reminisces about the time, how she was never an ingenue but managed to make it work. “I was never an ingenue,” she says. “I’ve always just been a character actor. When I was younger, it was a real problem, because I was never pretty enough. It was hard, not just for the lack of work, but because you have to face up to how people are looking at you,” Bates said.
Her broadway career took off in 1980 when she played Stella May in Come Back To The Five And Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. The actress lost out on film-screen adaptations of characters she played a few times. But when she turned 42 years old, she turned into a successful start almost overnight because of her role as a psychotic fan in Misery which even earned her a best actress Academy Award.
She talked about the kind of roles she received saying, “You’re either young and glamorous and you’re going to get the lead, or it’s the opposite: you’re not attractive enough. So you’re playing the friend or the killer or the lesbian or the doctor or whatever,” she said. “But the one who gets to play the young, pretty, gets-the-boy-at-the-end role doesn’t have any power. And vice-versa: a character can have power, but not femininity.”
She started directing episodes including some for shows like Homicide: Life On The Street, NYPD Blue, Oz and the hugely successful TV series Six Feet Under.
In her personal life, the actress has experienced some setbacks related to her health. She was diagnosed with cancer twice in her life; in 2003 and 2012. In 2003 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and with breast cancer in 2012.
Following her breast cancer surgery, actress Kathy Bates started to open up about her lymphedema diagnosis. She works as the spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network.
She opened up about having lost 80 pounds over the last few years. The actress has to wear compression sleeves so her arms do not swell up. She makes sure to wear them when flying or doing a strenuous task because without them her condition tends to flare up.
She has to remind herself to slow down in order to manage the condition, the actress said, “If I can stop rushing, relax my shoulders, straighten my spine, breathe deeply, and focus on each little moment of completing a task, I have more confidence in my ability to live with LE. The pandemic forced me to slow down.”
She advises anyone with the condition to not let it stop them from living their life. The actress said, “Going out in public wearing a compression garment, especially when people aren’t educated about LE, can sometimes be more painful than the disease itself. However, hiding at home and living a sedentary life will only make things worse for your body and brain.”
She stressed on making sure to not let your condition define you; something she makes sure to do herself as well.
She is making sure she advocates for more research into lymphedema and gets funding allocated to those working in raising awareness about the condition.
Kathy Bates does not let her diagnosis slow her down, the actress is still making sure she plays roles she enjoys and does the work she wants to!
The actress has learned to not just live with her condition but also how to make sure she can thrive with it.