Not many people can say they were a mother to superstars Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp.
But actress Darlene Cates can since she played Bonnie Grape onscreen to both in the 1993 movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
On Sunday, Cates 69, died according to her daughter Sheri Cates, who shared her loss on her Facebook site:
“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,” wrote Morgan in a post along with two photos of Cates. “We take comfort in knowing that she is no longer in pain and is in the arms of our Heavenly Father, breaking away only to dance with our Savior, Jesus.”
Of course, who can forget Cates’ performance and who held her own to Depp’s Gilbert Grape and DiCaprio’s Arnie Grape. DiCaprio would go on to earn a best supporting actor Oscar nomination, at a mere 19, for his role as the developmentally-disabled teen.
It has been written that Cates had been bedridden and weighed 500 pounds when she was discovered and cast in the role.
According to an article in the Hollywood Reporter, “Peter Hedges, who wrote the book of the same name that evolved into the screenplay, saw Cates on a 1992 episode of Sally Jessy Raphael, titled ‘Too Heavy to Leave the House. On the show, Texas-native Cates spoke about her obesity and a pelvic infection that caused her to gain nearly 150 pounds.”
After Gilbert Grape, Cates went on to appear on TV in 1992’s Picket Fences, 1994’s Touched by an Angel and in the made-for-TV movie Wolf Girl in 2001.
She is survived by husband, Robert Cates, and children Sheri, Mark and Chris. Celebration arrangements are pending.
Read more here.
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