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Darlene Cates Weight Loss Struggle | Facts, Biography, Death

Darlene Cates Weight Loss


Darlene Cates had been an English model who was conceived by Rita Darlene Guthrie on December 13, 1947 and died on March 26, 2017. She rose to prominence as the eponymous cast’s bed bound mother in the 1993 picture What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Cates was seen on a video in a 1992 episode of Sally titled “Too Loaded to Quit Their Job” by author and playwright Peter Hedges. In 1986, she was incapacitated for two years to genital controlling environmental by her extra weight, which during time she acquired an added 149 lbs. In the 1993 film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Gilbert proposed her the role of a massively obese mom, which she agreed. Picket Fences in 1994 and Touched through an Angels in 1996 were her first television performances.

Her appearance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, her maiden foray into acting, gained international acclaim and praise from co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp.


She was born on December 13, 1947 in Borger, Texas, U.S. Her parents split up in her childhood which changed her food choices and there she entered the stage of obesity! She died on 26 march 2017 at the age of 69 in Forney, Texas. She married a U.S. marine Robert Cates on 11th January, 1963 and had her first child in 1966, Sheri Ann. In 1967 she gave birth to the first son Mark and second son Chris was born in 1971. She spent her life in the suburbs of Dallas and had four grandchildren. Through the corresponding courses, she received her degree from high school in 1992.

Darlene Cates Background

Darlene appeared on one episode of Sally in 1992 and that tape was viewed by Peter Hedges, an author and screenwriter. In that episode she discussed her battling journey with obesity which was called “Too Heavy to Leave Their House”. Cates’s acting career took off with her brilliant performance in this show. Her performance received rave reviews. Darlene Cates lost 250 pounds (113kg) after a series of relatively close situations. She remained bedridden for two years due to pelvic infections that caused a 149 pounds increase in her weight.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

She’s most renowned for her role in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” (1993). In 1994 she appeared on television show Picket fences and was touched by an angel in 1996. Wolf girl features her small role as well. She had shed 240 lbs after being hospitalized for over a year due to a combination of health concerns in 2010, and she stated a wish to restart her career as an actor in 2012. Apart from that, she appeared in a few television roles but did not have a broad range of film credits to her name.

She also appeared in popular TV shows including:

  • “Picket Fences” (1994–1996) – Cates guest-starred in an episode of this television series.
  • “Touched by an Angel” (1996–2003) – She appeared in an episode of this popular TV show.

Although these are not movies, they’re notable appearances that Darlene Cates made on screen.

Here are some of her works in film and television:

  • “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” (1993) – This film is her most famous work, where she played the role of Bonnie Grape.
  • “Wolf Girl” (2001) – A TV movie where Cates had a role.
Full NameRita Darlene Guthrie
Date of BirthDecember 13, 1947
Date of DeathMarch 26, 2017
Age69 years
Height1.75 m
OccupationFilm Actor
MotherDorothy Ann Guthrie
FatherTruman Madison Guthrie
SpouseRobert Cates
Sheri Cates, Mark Cates, Chris Cates
Net Worth$200 Thousand
  • What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
  • Mother (2014)
  • Billboard (2019)
TV Shows
  • Picket Fences (1994)
  • Touched by an Angel (1996)
  • Wolf Girl (2001)

Weight Loss Struggle

Cates attempted an early kind of gastric bypass in 1981, according to reports, which helped her shed 100 pounds at the time before progressively gaining it back. Later, she emphasized that she does not believe surgery is a quick remedy.

Darlene Cate aimed to drop 100 pounds further and wanted to be cast again by Tim Nudd. Darlene Cate, a Gilbert Grape actor, has a terrible weight battle despite her Hollywood fame. Going from 410 pounds to 310 pounds, then gaining the pounds back and more, reaching a total weight of 550 pounds.

She tried to lose weight but stayed stressful as her husband worked overseas which made it difficult for her to change eating habits. When she contracted an illness, it became important for her to lose weight. She wasn’t able to stand or walk even after fighting the infection. Since she couldn’t leave the house, she faced extreme depression. She had to start treatment for the same and then joined Take Pounds Off sensibly. It was a weight loss program.

Darlene Cates Weight Loss

She was back to good health after this but didn’t confirm whether it was because of the program.
Cates said in a 2004 PEOPLE article how she had her stomach sewed in 1981 while she weighed 410 pounds. Despite losing 100 pounds as a result of the operation, the weight returned plus some, enabling her to top the scales at 550 pounds. “What was it that got you obese during first place? “They don’t remove that during surgery,” she stated. “The circumstances that drove you to seek consolation in food remain when you return back from the hospital.” This she referred to the phases she faced during her whole life since childhood starting from the separation of her parents, then staying away from husband, infection, being bedridden, depression etc. This shows how much the woman had gone through but still she was not ready to give up.

She was keen to make a comeback, however, and landed a part in the 2014 short movie Mother. The actress told the tabloid that she wants to portray roles akin to the ones she is most known for.

Darlene Cates Obesity

Many people did not accept her in the beginning for her obesity but they were impressed by her acting skills. Leonardo Di Caprio stated that she was her best acting mother. People went through the stories of her weight loss and what difficult life she had been spending for long. She turned down many offers that came as a joke to obese people. She appeared in some advertisements asking people to embrace their body and face the problems strongly as this is a part of life. Darlene stated that her fans sent her letters thanking her for changing their perspective on weight loss. She also received mails from many other obese people who thought of her as an inspiration and motivation and kept battling their own weight loss obstacles.

Darlene Cates Death

Darlene’s death was announced by her daughter. Leonardo expressed his deep condolences as he was very close to his co actor and considered her a mother. Her son in law informed that she had died in her sleep at the age of 69.

No doubt, Darlene had faced a tough time during her weight loss journey. She was successful in dropping down some pounds but her health conditions did not let her have the time of proper weight loss.


1. Why was Darlene Cates so big?

She experienced a quick gain of weight after getting a pelvic infection. Her weight was 150 pounds which seemed much big.

2. How did Darlene Cates die in real life?

She had a sudden death on Sunday while she was sleeping in her home. Her house was in Forney, Texas.

3. Is Gilbert Grape based on a true story?

No, this movie of Darlene Cates is not based on a true story. Its based on a novel that was written by Peter Hedges.

Read other celebrities’ weight loss stories to motivate yourself if you want to do the same.

How did Boogie 2988 Lose Weight? – Challenges Throughout the Journey

Sara Ali Khan’s Weight Loss Journey | Secret Behind her Transformation

Andrea Bocelli Weight Loss – Did He Really Lose Any Weight?

Chrissy Metz’s Incredible Weight Loss Story | Lost 100 Pounds within 5 Months

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