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One of the greatest actresses of her generation, Kathy Bates has brought numerous roles to life on screen and onstage that no other performer could pull off. In recent years, she has also demonstrated she is one of the greatest humanitarians of her generation, fully embracing her role as national spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network, whose mission is to fight lymphatic disease and lymphedema - a condition that affects millions including Bates - through education, research and advocacy.

Bates had already amassed an impressive acting portfolio by the time she starred in Misery as Annie Wilkes, the film's the obsessed and psychotic antagonist who imprisons and tortures her favorite author after discovering that he's killed off the heroine of his book series. The humble girl from Memphis had used her talent and perseverance to build a successful career on the New York stage and various acclaimed films throughout the 1980s. After winning an Academy Award for Misery, she attracted roles nonstop, including a discontent housewife in Fried Green Tomatoes, the unsinkable Molly Brown in Titanic, and the bold Roberta in About Schmidt. In recent years she has pulled in millions of viewers throughout seasons 3, 4, and 5 of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story series, winning an Emmy along the way.

On the speaking circuit, she has empowered millions to take a proactive stance on their health, openly discussing her ovarian cancer, treatment, and breast cancer. In 2015, she became the national spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network, publicly sharing her battle with lymphedema and inspiring others to do so as well. She has interviewed with several mainstream publications and television productions to raise awareness of the disease and call attention to the need for research and funds to find a cure.

Full Profile

Kathy Bates has been honored numerous times for her work on stage, screen and television. She won an Academy Award® and a Golden Globe® for her portrayal of obsessed fan “Annie Wilkes” in Rob Reiner’s 1990 hit Misery, based on Stephen King’s novel. In 1999, she received Oscar®, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations and won a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® and a Critics Choice Award for her performance in Mike Nichols’ Primary Colors. Bates more recently earned her third Oscar nomination for her role in Alexander Payne’s About Schmidt, for which she also garnered Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations and won a National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her film work has also been recognized with Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations for Jon Avnet’s Fried Green Tomatoes, and she also shared in a SAG Award nomination with the ensemble cast of James Cameron’s all-time, top-grossing blockbuster Titanic as well as a nomination for the ensemble of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.

Bates won rave reviews and her second Emmy® award as the deliciously evil “Madame LaLaurie” in the third installment of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Coven on FX and has just been nominated for a Golden Globe® for her portrayal of Ethel Darling in the fourth installment: Murphy’s American Horror Story: Freakshow. Prior to that, she starred in two seasons as “Harriet ‘Harry’ Korn,” a curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer in David E. Kelly’s hit NBC television show Harry’s Law garnering her an Emmy® nomination for Lead Actress in a drama series.

Recently, Bates was seen in Tammy with Melissa McCarthy, Valentine’s Day; The Blind Side; Stephen Frears’ period drama Cheri, in which she starred with Michelle Pfeiffer; Sam Mendes’ acclaimed drama Revolutionary Road, which reunited her with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet; the sci-fi remake The Day the Earth Stood Still, which opened at the top of the box office; and the independent drama Personal Effects, with Pfeiffer and Ashton Kutcher, as well as the animated short Cadaver. Upcoming projects include BoyChoir with Dustin Hoffman and The Great Gilly Hopkins with Danny Glover and Octavia Spencer.

Among Bates’ long list of film credits include P.S. I Love You, Fred Claus, Failure to Launch, Little Black Book, Dragonfly, American Outlaws, The Waterboy, The War at Home, Dolores Claiborne, A Home of Our Own, Prelude to a Kiss, Shadows and Fog, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Dick Tracy, Men Don’t Leave, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Straight Time, and Taking Off. Bates lent her voice to Jerry Seinfeld’s animated comedy Bee Movie, as well as Charlotte’s Web and The Golden Compass.

On television, in addition to her current projects, Bates appeared in Syfy’s Alice, playing the “Queen of Hearts,” for which she earned an Emmy Award nomination for her performance. She won a Golden Globe and a SAG Award and earned an Emmy Award nomination for the 1996 HBO film The Late Shift. Her television honors also include Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for her performance in the musical Annie; another SAG Award nomination for her role in the telefilm My Sister’s Keeper; and four additional Emmy Award nominations for her work on the projects 3rd Rock from the Sun, Six Feet Under, Warm Springs, and Ambulance Girl, which she also directed. She also guest starred on Mike & Molly, The Office and Two and a Half Men, winning her first Emmy® award for her work on the latter.

Bates has also been honored for her work behind the camera as a director. She helmed the A&E telefilm Dash and Lilly, starring Sam Shepard and Judy Davis, which earned nine Emmy nominations, including one for Bates as Best Director. She also directed five episodes of the acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under, earning a Directors Guild of America Award for the episode entitled “Twilight.” Her directing credits also include episodes of such series as Oz, NYPD Blue, and Homicide: Life on the Street.

Bates first gained the attention of critics and audiences on the New York stage. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of the suicidal daughter in the original Broadway production of Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘night, Mother. She has been honored with Obie Awards for her performance as “Frankie” in the original Off-Broadway production of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune as well as for her portrayal of “Elsa Barlow” in Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca, which Bates also starred in when filmed.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Bates received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1970 from Southern Methodist University, which awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2002.


Kathy Bates Speaker Videos Back to top

Cancer Survivor Inspiring Speaker


The legendary Kathy Bates opens up about her experience with lymphedema a build up of fluid in soft tissues which afflicts millions. She details the various difficulties that people with the condition face including incorrect diagnoses by doctors who frequently haven't heard of the disease and often dismiss it as a complication of obesity.

She also highlights the courage and determination that patients exhibit to continue living as they raise awareness of their condition hoping that it will attract researchers and funding to improve treatments and find a cure. She shares the story of Emma, a little girl who was born with lymphedema, whose testimony to the New York State Legislature helped to get a bill for research funding passed and on the governor's desk.

Bates recalls the six-year-old's words at a recent Walk to raise awareness: "If I can do something hard like walk back and forth across the Brooklyn Bridge maybe a smart scientist can do something hard for them and find a cure for this disease in my lifetime." Bates pauses before adding, "I hope that in bringing Emma's message to you I can inspire even one of you to accomplish her challenge."

Keynote Speech at Elle


Dinner Speech Excerpt



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


The courageous unsinkable Kathy Bates moves audiences from tears to laughter in minutes as she shares her experiences with ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and lymphedema. The legendary performer urges people to get passionate about their health and well-being. At the same time she takes the need for research and funding to a personal level, incorporating the stories, faces, and voices of other patients into her presentations.

Blind-Sided: When Cancer Comes Calling
Kathy Bates's frank and funny talk takes audiences from her diagnosis with ovarian cancer in August of 2003 through her treatment, current remission, and experience with breast cancer. Bates encourages audiences to face cancer with candor, which she hopes will lead to greater awareness, earlier diagnosis, and greater treatment.

Lymphedema - The Human Side
Bates shares her story and the stories of others who suffer from one of the most misunderstood yet surprisingly common diseases in the world: lymphedema, a condition caused by blockages in the lymphatic system, which prevent fluid from draining well, leading to swelling, usually in the arms and legs. She discusses the need for education to train therapists specifically in lymphatic draining and the need for more research.





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Blind-Sided: When Cancer Comes Calling
Kathy Bates's frank and funny talk takes audiences from her diagnosis with ovarian cancer in August of 2003 through her treatment, current remission, and experience with breast cancer. Bates encourages audiences to face cancer with candor, which she hopes will lead to greater awareness, earlier diagnosis, and greater treatment.

Lymphedema - The Human Side
Bates shares her story and the stories of others who suffer from one of the most misunderstood yet surprisingly common diseases in the world: lymphedema, a condition caused by blockages in the lymphatic system, which prevent fluid from draining well, leading to swelling, usually in the arms and legs. She discusses the need for education to train therapists specifically in lymphatic draining and the need for more research.


Cancer Survivor Inspiring Speaker


The legendary Kathy Bates opens up about her experience with lymphedema a build up of fluid in soft tissues which afflicts millions. She details the various difficulties that people with the condition face including incorrect diagnoses by doctors who frequently haven't heard of the disease and often dismiss it as a complication of obesity.

She also highlights the courage and determination that patients exhibit to continue living as they raise awareness of their condition hoping that it will attract researchers and funding to improve treatments and find a cure. She shares the story of Emma, a little girl who was born with lymphedema, whose testimony to the New York State Legislature helped to get a bill for research funding passed and on the governor's desk.

Bates recalls the six-year-old's words at a recent Walk to raise awareness: "If I can do something hard like walk back and forth across the Brooklyn Bridge maybe a smart scientist can do something hard for them and find a cure for this disease in my lifetime." Bates pauses before adding, "I hope that in bringing Emma's message to you I can inspire even one of you to accomplish her challenge."

Keynote Speech at Elle


Dinner Speech Excerpt