Friday, October 5, 2012

An Interview With 96-Year-Old Doctor/Actor Dean Brooks

The Mental Health Museum at the Oregon State Hospital opens this weekend with a series of events, some of which feature Louise Fletcher, who won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Nurse Ratched in the movie version of "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest."

But Fletcher won't be the only actor from that movie at this weekend's grand opening of the museum (which features an exhibit on the making of the movie, along with plenty of exhibits and artifacts of the real-life hospital where the movie was filmed). Dean Brooks, who appeared in the movie as "Dr. Spivey" and was superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital for nearly 30 years, and who made the now-legendary decision to allow Hollywood access to the Salem mental institution, is also scheduled to be at Saturday's ribbon cutting. That's significant, since Dr. Brooks is 96 years old. He's still sharp as a tack--I spoke with him last week--and thinks the museum at the hospital is a long overdue addition.

If you heard my story previewing the museum's opening, you heard a brief portion of my interview with Dr. Brooks.  But click on the link below for an extended length version of it, in which Brooks tells me more about the decision to allow the movie to be filmed at the hospital. Turns out, Brooks was initially angered by Ken Kesey's novel, but came to see it in a different light.

Chris Lehman's interview with Dean Brooks