Q & Andy: Kathy Bates

By
Photography Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Published August 2, 2017

In a career that has spanned five decades, the Oscar- and Emmy-winning actress has played a sledgehammer-wielding superfan, an unsinkable early-20th-century broad, and even the ghost of Charlie Sheen. This month, she returns to television as a weed dispensary owner in the Netflix series Disjointed. But first, she submits to some half-baked questions from the writings of Warhol.

ANDY WARHOL: What did you have for breakfast?

KATHY BATES: Lemon yogurt and a handful of almonds.

WARHOL: Do you take showers or baths?

BATES: Showers, but every now and then a shower to wash off the day followed by a hot soak—Japanese style.

WARHOL: How were you discovered?

BATES: I was living in New York in 1970 with my roommate Gail. She was cooking dinner for Milos Forman and John Guare, who were writing the script for Milos’s first American film, Taking Off. They asked Gail if she knew of any young women who wrote their own songs and played the guitar. Gail responded, “Oh, Bobo does.” That was my nickname back in the day. So I went down to the Village and played my song “And Even the Horses Had Wings.” Milos put me in the movie. I got paid $5 for the day.

WARHOL: Is there anything you regret not doing?

BATES: I regret not taking my 83-year-old mother to the Oscars the year I won. She deserved the Oscar for giving up so much for me.

WARHOL: What’s the craziest thing a fan has sent you?

BATES: A bust of my head painted gold. It’s bald. I look like my father. For some reason, it’s been very hard to throw away.

WARHOL: What’s your favorite movie?

BATES: For years I have said To Kill a Mockingbird, but now Asghar Farhadi’s films thrill me. My deeply secret favorite movie is Meet Joe Black.

WARHOL: When do you get nervous?

BATES: When I meet someone I idolize. When I met President Obama, all I could say was “wow”—twice. What an idiot.

WARHOL: Why do we all have to age?

BATES: Because it’s a dirty trick God has plated on us.

WARHOL: Why can’t it just be magic all the time?

BATES: I ask myself this every day. Like Blanche DuBois said, “I don’t want realism. I want magic!” But it is kind of magical to have survived cancer twice. I’m content with that.

WARHOL: Where do you dance?

BATES: When Aretha Franklin came on the radio when I was in college, we would stop the car, throw open the doors, jump out, and dance. Now there’s too much traffic.

WARHOL: What color are your eyes?

BATES: Blue. But they change from Atlantic to Pacific.

WARHOL: Do you get your eight hours a night?

BATES: I need ten, otherwise I’m like a rattlesnake in a mailbox.

WARHOL: How many hotels have you been kicked out of?

BATES: Only one. An RV park in Canada and it wasn’t my fault.

WARHOL: Who’s your dream date?

BATES: Rick Fox. I think he already knows this.

WARHOL: Why don’t Americans have good taste?

BATES: Oh, please. Taste is subjective. I say paint your walls whatever color you want.

WARHOL: Would you like some wine?

BATES: Yes, please. 1948 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche Grand Cru Monopole, Côte de Nuits, France. Is that tasteful enough for you?