This Oscar-Nominated Movie Actress Just Died Unexpectedly

American actress Darlene Cates passed away in her sleep on March 26th at the age of 69, her daughter reports on Facebook. "It is with a bitter-sweet heart that we share that our precious wife, mother, and Gaga, Darlene Guthrie Cates, was called Home, somewhat unexpectedly, peacefully in her sleep Sunday morning, March 26th," read the announcement.

Cates was best known for her role in the 1993 movie "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," which also starred Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Juliette Lewis. Cates played a homebound mother suffering from morbid obesity.

Cates has also appeared in episodes of television shows 'Picket Fences', 'Touched by an Angel' and 'Wolf Girl'. Her final role was the part of Penny in 'Billboard', a film that is currently in post-production.

“I talked with the author, Peter Hedges,” said Cates about the role, according to IMBD. “There were some things in the book that I didn't like. We talked about those extensively and I trusted him because the character was based on somebody that meant something to him in his life. So I knew that it wouldn't be anything horrible. As we went along I was so proud of the way that the character was portrayed and so proud of the way that the children came around to see that this woman had these good qualities, and how much she really did care about her family.”

Cates struggled with obesity for most of her life. She began over-eating at the age of 12 due to her parents’ divorce, and reached over 400 pounds as an adult. In 1981 she underwent weight loss surgery and lost nearly 100 pounds, but she regained it all back. When she got her health under control in the early 1990s, she began her acting career with the film ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’.

“I had to make a choice, I could stay where I was and be miserable, or I could take a risk and do something exciting,” she said of the turning moment in her life.

Pelvic infections associated with her weight made Cates bedridden for over two years, which resulted in her putting on even more weight. In time, she reached 550 pounds.

In 2010, Cates began suffering health issues that kept her hospitalized for almost a year. She hoped to regain her health so she could resume her career in acting.

Source: Mail Online
Photo: TLC

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