Fan facts KATHY BATES, star of AMY FOSTER

Unsinkable: Kathy may have played The Unsinkable Molly Brown in Titanic, but she often plunges the darker depths of character in other acting parts. Think of the baby alligator cook in The Waterboy, the fanatical fan in Misery and the therapy-obsessed woman in Fried Green Tomatoes.

And The Ship Went Down: Unfortunately, the high-profile shine of films such as Primary Colors and Titanic was dulled for Bates as it coincided with losing her 91-year-old mother, her beloved 16-year-old dog and divorcing her husband of four years. As for success, she is quite happy to let that particular ship pass her by. Tried, tested and put on the top shelf from years of playing the unglamorous roles, she has said: "I look back on the days in New York, when I was working to better and improve my craft, as being a bit more simple."

Huge success: "I've never worked on a picture of that size ... ever," says Bates about Titanic. However, there are a few sizes she isn't happy to repeat, one being the size of the corsets in the movie. Responding to rumours of a Titanic MkII, she said: "I told them they don't have enough money to get me back in those corsets." The other is a size-ist comment by the comedian Joan Rivers at the Golden Globe awards, who said that Kate's role in Titanic was "the reason it sank". This comment, and the others often on the tip of Rivers' vicious tongue, have caused a huge furore. Hollywood stars even threatened to oust Rivers from the Oscar ceremony. The river of feeling certainly runs deep. Her other globes, tee-hee, are the Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actress in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and Best Drama Actress Golden Globe for Misery.

Misery Loves Company: She has done two films penned by Stephen King, Dolores Clairborne and Misery. In both she plays a Jekyll and Hyde women, part sweet and naive and part sadistic and very, very dangerous. Is it a case of reality imitating art? Bates said: "I went for the meat." Rumours circulate that she is indeed Norman Bates's mother.

Bland Ambition: When asked what her hopes for the new year were after winning her Oscar for Misery, Bates said her dream "is to appear in the West End of London". She has expressed frustration at the Hollywood film- making process, and wants to use the training she received as a young actor.

Jennifer Rodger

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