Kathy Bates

To the general moviegoer, Kathy Bates seemed to materialize from nowhere, giving an Academy Award-winning performance as a psychotic literary fan-turned-kidnapper in the screen adaptation of Stephen King's "Misery" in 1990. Unbeknownst to those outside theater circles, Bates had already enjoyed an over 20-year career as a Tony Award-winning actress on Broadway. Even more impressive, she was over 40 when she first made a dent in Hollywood; a town with a poor track record for accepting anyone who is past society's idea of "a woman's prime" - never mind if she was also plus-sized. But this challenge gave the honest, unflinching actress opportunities to sink her teeth into eccentric character roles like her revered turn in "About Schmidt" (2002), as well as charismatic supporting roles in "Titanic" (1997) and "Primary Colors" (1998). Bates enjoyed a third career incarnation as a director, beginning with network police dramas, before earning acclaim both behind and in front of the camera on HBO's darkly comic "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05). Her work in films like the marital drama "Revolutionary Road" (2008), the crowd-pleasing "The Blind Side" (2009), bawdy comedy sequel"Bad Santa 2" (2016) and as one of the stars of Ryan Murphy's "American Horror Story" (FX 2011- ) franchise kept the performer in high esteem with both critics and audiences. Still in her prime, Bates continued to break the Hollywood law of averages by letting her talent rather than her age define her as an actress.