Much loved actress Kathy Bates celebrated her 73rd birthday yesterday and many of her fans came out on Twitter to mark the occasion. Having been in the business for almost 50 of those years, Bates has become an icon of both stage and screen, with her break-through and still most memorable role being Annie Wilkes in the film version of Stephen King's Misery. She also appeared in The Waterboy, Titanic and About Schmidt. She has recently made an impact on TV appearing regularly in American Horror Story.

Bates was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and was one of three children. After studying theater at school, she moved to New York in 1970 to pursue her career in acting. She struggled to find work after moving to the Big Apple, taking on regular jobs such as being a cashier at the Museum of Modern Art to get by. She made her screen debut a year later in Taking Off, a comedy in which she was credited as Bobo Bates. Throughout the decade, she worked primarily on stage although it wasn't until 1976 she made her first Off-Broadway appearance in Vanities, and then made her second film appearance in the Dustin Hoffman movie Straight Time in 1978.

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Throughout the 1980s, Bates continued to make smaller appearances in movies and television, as well as being nominated for a Tony Award in 1983 for her role in the stage production of 'night Mother. Towards the end of the decade, Bates decided to move her focus to getting bigger roles in screen acting rather than on stage, leading to her appearing in The Morning After and Summer Heat in 1986 and 1987 respectively. It would be another three years before she would finally take on the role that would make her a Hollywood star.

1990 saw Bates take on the part of Annie Wilkes, the psychotic fan of Paul Sheldon in the big screen adaptation of Stephen King's classic, Misery. The role won Bates numerous accolades, including Best Actress wins at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes and Wilkes being added to the AFI's list of the "100 Greatest Heroes and Villains", ranking her number 17 in the list of the most iconic villains of all time. The following year, she starred in Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Café and received a BAFTA nomination. She returned to the works of Stephen King in 1995, appearing as the title character in Dolores Claiborne, receiving another round of praise from critics and a Saturn Award nomination.

She ended the 1990s with another Academy Award nomination for her appearance in Primary Colors, and was also nominated for awards for her TV roles in 3rd Rock From The Sun and as Miss Hannigan in Disney's remake of Annie. She continued success in the 2000s, receiving an Oscar nomination for the third time for her supporting role in the Jack Nicholson movie About Schmidt, a film that gained her a different kind of attention when she appeared naked climbing into a hot tub. She commented on that particular scene in subsequent interviews, saying that whenever that scene came on the audience would either laugh and cheer to "see a real woman up there on the screen in all her glory."

Her roles in more recent years have seen her re-team with Kate Winslet and Leonard DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road, star in ten episodes of hit drama Six Feet Under, become a regular in the horror anthology series American Horror Story, and gaining a fourth Oscar nod for her supporting role in the Clint Eastwood movie Richard Jewell. And we can't forget her incredible work as Mama in Adam Sandler's The Waterboy. She received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016 for her continued work in the industry, which can be found at 6927 Hollywood Boulevard.

On Twitter, the star was celebrated by fans who marked her birthday with best wishes and citing some of her best and most loves performances in their posts. Here are some of the comments, to which we add our own best wishes to one of the greatest actors of a generation.