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Nurse Ratched From ‘Ratched’ Is Actually Based On A Real Life Person

Nurse Ratched From ‘Ratched’ Is Actually Based On A Real Life Person

We've all got that one boss from back in the day who made our lives a living hell, right?

Times that by one million and you might come close to Mildred Ratched - the coolly sadistic psychiatric nurse who was the star of the 1962 novel and 1975 film One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and now Netflix new spooky drama Ratched.

Well what if we told you Nurse Ratched's character - played by Sarah Paulson in the new show - was based on an actual real-life person?

Well it turns out author Ken Kesey was inspired by his actual life experiences when writing the original novel - terrifying, we know

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Sarah Paulson plays Nurse Ratched (Credit: Netflix)
Sarah Paulson plays Nurse Ratched (Credit: Netflix)

After graduating from college in the '60s, Kesey worked as a night orderly on the psychiatric ward of the Menlo Park Veteran's Hospital in California, where he participated in mind-altering drug trials.

He eventually wrote of R. P. McMurphy and Nurse Ratched, who enters a new psychiatric hospital in the same US state in the hope of seeking employment and ends up ruling over the patients with an iron fist, favouring lobotomies as a means of keeping disruptive patients under control.

Apparently Nurse Ratched was inspired by his boss, the head nurse at the time.

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Louise Fletcher played the original Nurse Ratched
Louise Fletcher played the original Nurse Ratched

Imagine getting revenge on a former boss by turning them into one of the most evil literary characters of all time. Burn.

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In the novel, Ratched is often identified by her Orwellian nickname, 'Big Nurse,' and she's described as physically imposing and almost supernaturally frightening. We can't imagine her real-life counterpart was quite so bad, but who knows!

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix
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Sarah Paulson's 'Ratched' Is Definitely Getting A Second Season
Entertainment

Sarah Paulson's 'Ratched' Is Definitely Getting A Second Season

published at2 months ago

But Nurse Ratched (her real name is unknown) knew when she read the book that she was the inspiration for the character.

In a 2001 interview with 2001 interview with The New York Times, the author said he ran into his former boss at an aquarium, and she walked right up to him asking, "Do you remember me? 'Nurse Ratched?'"

Oh the shame!

''She was much smaller than I remembered and a whole lot more human,'' Kesey told the NYT. "I didn't know what to say, whether to apologize or what."

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Since Ratched hit Netflix last week, some fans have been calling it the "best show they'd seen this year" while others claimed it was absolutely terrifying.

The prequel series is set in 1947 and focuses on Mildred Ratched before she became the cold-hearted mental health nurse portrayed in the novel.

If you've not started it yet, what are you waiting for?

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: TV News, Netflix

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Naomi Chadderton (FL)

Naomi is a freelance journalist working for Tyla. After graduating from The University of Nottingham, Naomi moved out to Dubai where she worked for Grazia Middle East and Harper's Bazaar Arabia. She is now back home and enjoying the London life.