FORNEY, TX (RADIO ALICE) – Best known for her role as the housebound mother to Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1993 movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, actress Darlene Cates has died at the age of 69.
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According to David Morgan, her son-in-law, the actress died in her sleep on Sunday morning, March 26th. She was living at her home in Forney, Texas when she passed away.
Cates’ daughter, Sheri Cates Morgan also shared the news and some photos via her Facebook account:
Peter Hedges, author and screenwriter for ‘Gilbert Grape’ spotted Cates on the 1985 talk show Sally Jessy Raphael when she appeared as guest discussing her battle with her weight. She was then cast as DiCaprio and Depp’s obese mother. DiCaprio went on the receive an Academy Award-nomination in the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category. He later praised Cates’ acting, cementing her critical acclaim.
In 1994, Cates appeared on the David E. Kelley, Emmy Award-winning dramatic series Picket Fences and two years later on the Emmy-nominated drama Touched By an Angel, both aired on CBS.
IMDB.com lists her last film role in the 2017 comedy Billboard, an Uncommon Contest for Common People!, co-starring Eric Roberts and Heather Matarazzo.