Leonardo DiCaprio shared a touching tribute to Darlene Cates, the woman who played his mother in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, on Facebook Tuesday.
Cates, who was 69, died in her sleep Sunday morning at her home in Forney, Texas. DiCaprio and Johnny Depp starred alongside Cates in the 1993 film directed by Lasse Hallström, in which she played their housebound, morbidly obese mother, Bonnie Grape.
“Darlene was the best acting mom I ever had the privilege of working alongside,” DiCaprio wrote on Facebook. “Her endearing personality and incredible talent will live on in the memories of those who knew her, and those who loved her work. My thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.”
“No one could’ve been more surprised than I was because I was just a fat housewife in Forney, Texas, of all places,” Cates recalled of the audition process in an interview with Entertainment Weekly back in 2014. “I was sort of skeptical, but when I started reading, Lasse threw his hands in the air and said, ‘Finally! Somebody that can act!'”
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After Gilbert Grape, Cates also appeared on TV series Picket Fences and Touched by an Angel.
See Cates, DiCaprio, and Depp, in the trailer for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape above.
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