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Kathy Bates Is Awesome In Everything, And Most People Don’t Even Realize It

List RulesVote up the performances that prove Kathy Bates is a national treasure.

If you had to pick Kathy Bates's best role, which would it be? If you're a horror buff, you probably think of her as Annie Wilkes in Misery. If historical dramas are more your speed, her portrayal of Molly Brown in Titanic is a clear winner. Even if you only watch comedies, Kathy Bates has it covered as the "foosball"-hating Mama Boucher in The Waterboy.

From only three roles, the expanse of Kathy Bates's acting talents is on display, and that's not even mentioning her TV work. Below, we'll look at some of the best Kathy Bates movie and TV roles, which span three decades and multiple genres. While we explain why she's amazing in every role, you get to decide which one of Kathy Bates's many iconic roles is her best.

  • 1
    81 VOTES

    'Two and a Half Men' - As The Ghost Of Charlie Harper

    Photo: CBS

    In a truly unique casting choice, Kathy Bates appeared on Two and a Half Men as the the ghost of Charlie Harper. The character formerly played by Charlie Sheen comes back from the dead to warn Alan (Jon Cryer) that he needs to turn his life around. When Alan questions why Charlie is in a woman's body, Bates explains that Charlie went to hell, and being in an older woman's body is his "eternal damnation."

    While Bates is only onscreen for a few minutes, she masterfully steals the scene, and reminds us that while she can play the most sadistic villain, she's also a brilliant comedic actress.

    Triumphantly, Bates won her first Emmy for the role, after 11 previous nominations.

    Great Bates?
  • Annie Wilkes was the role that made Kathy Bates a star, and to this day, it's still one of her most famous characters. Based on the novel by Stephen King, Misery is a horror film in which author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) gets into a car accident and is rescued by his biggest fan, Annie Wilkes. Annie also happens to be a former nurse and helps Paul recover from his injury, although she never actually tells anyone that Paul is in her care.

    While Paul recovers, Annie reads the draft of his latest novel and finds out that he's killed off the main character so he can finally end the series. She is not pleased, to say the least. As Annie makes every attempt possible to ensure that Paul never leaves her care, Paul realizes that only one of them is leaving alive.

    Kathy Bates won an Academy Award for this role, and it comes as no surprise when you consider the character's complexity. Annie transitions from slightly odd to fully demented over the course of the film. The audience feels a slow-burning hatred for Annie Wilkes grow as the film escalates, and it's all thanks to Bates's nuanced performance. Bates joked in an interview that when her mother saw the film, she wasn't that impressed with her daughter's performance, saying that it wasn't much different from how Bates acted as a teenager.

    Great Bates?
  • Kathy Bates uses both her comedic and dramatic talents as Evelyn Couch in Fried Green Tomatoes, a film adaptation of Fannie Flagg's bestselling novel. We meet Evelyn Couch as a woman disenchanted with life. She's ignored by her husband, self-conscious about her appearance, and can't seem to catch a break.

    While visiting her husband's aunt at a nursing home, Evelyn forms a friendship with another resident, Ninny Threadgoode. As the bond between the two women strengthens, Evelyn begins to gain confidence. When two younger women cut her off in a parking lot, she runs into their car not just once, but six times. When relaying the event to Ninny, Evelyn says, "I never get mad, Ms. Threadgoode. Never! The way I was raised, it was bad manners. Well I got mad, and it felt great!"

    You can't help but love Kathy Bates as Evelyn Couch. She starts out as a rather unassuming character, but quickly morphs into a vibrant, powerful person. Evelyn even takes charge of her marriage: When her husband asks if she's trying to kill him after she serves a "low-cholesterol" dinner, she responds, "If I was gonna kill you, I'd use my hands."

    Great Bates?
  • 4
    81 VOTES

    ‘The Stand’ - As A Doomed Radio Host

    Photo: ABC

    The 1994 TV adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand features a number of celebrity cameos, including one by Kathy Bates, just four years after portraying Annie Wilkes in Misery. In a much different role, Bates plays Rae Flowers, a "sarcastic" radio personality reporting on a virus rapidly spreading throughout the US.

    As Flowers takes calls from coughing listeners and relays the horrific unfolding events - which include bodies being burned and the military gunning people down - Marines invade the studio and demand she stop talking about the virus. Flowers bluntly replies, "Hey Bluto, you ever heard of a little number called freedom of speech?" It's one of the last things she says before we hear machine gun fire over the radio waves, followed by silence.

    Bates leaves quite a mark on the film, especially considering she's on screen for less than four minutes. We see her character slowly realize the gravity of the virus while also standing up for herself at all costs. This pivotal scene with Bates is a turning point in the film, in which the other characters realize that things are far from alright and are about to get a lot worse.

    Great Bates?