Annie Wilkes is a former nurse and the main antagonist of the 1987 novel, Misery and its film adaptation, where she was portrayed by Kathy Bates, who won an oscar for her performance. She is the perfect example of a mentally unstable obsessed fan, who kidnaps her favorite writer and holds him hostage. She was ranked 17th on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains.
Annie was born in Bakersfield, California and she graduated from the University of California at the Los Angeles nursing school in 1966. While serving as head maternity nurse at a Boulder, Colorado hospital, several infants in her care died under mysterious circumstances. She was tried for their deaths, but she acquitted for lack of evidence. But the press — which called her "the Dragon Lady" — strongly implied that she was in fact guilty. Paul also learns that she killed several patients at other hospitals where she worked, but no one noticed because they were either very sick or suffered debilitating injuries beforehand. Annie also killed her father, her childhood neighbors and their father, a hitchhiker she once slept with, all told almost 70 people. Paul also finds out that Annie used to be married to a physical therapist named Ralph Dugan, who later divorced her citing "mental cruelty". Annie was clearly angry at him for this, but to Paul's surprise she didn't kill him. The reasons for which are still unknown.
She is Paul Sheldon's alleged number one fan, although she is actually a lonely psychopath who is completely obsessed with him. Wilkes is stalking Sheldon after he leaves the Silver Creek Lodge, and when his car gets into a bad accident as a result of a bad blizzard, she manages to rescue him, taking his manuscript for his latest book along the way. She takes him to her isolated home and slowly nurses him to health, easing his pain with doses of Novril capsules, which causes Sheldon to eventually become addicted, and therefore easier to control. The drugs had another purpose, to act as stimulant in order to keep Sheldon's mind fertile in order to continue his writing. She is dangerously insane and bipolar, and has an averse reaction to profanity (her own vocabulary limited to child-like words such as cockadoodie). Her punishments grow more and more severe as she grows less complacent with Paul's behavior or slow progress. She first uses needles, then forcing Sheldon to drink soapy water, until eventually crushing or severing his feet and thumb. After Paul finishes the book, Annie plans a murder-suicide, but this is foiled when Paul burns a fake manuscript of Misery's Return (the real manuscript hidden under the bed) and then exhaustingly shoves charred pages down her throat before she trips on the typwriter and hits her head on the mantle. Paul is rescued, but then he realizes that she had survived his attacks, but succumbed to her head injuries after she crawled out to the barn, her hands wrapped around a chainsaw, intending to use it on Sheldon. Paul is then haunted by memories of her.The film's version of her death is a little different. The basic premise is the same. Paul distracts Annie by asking for another champagne glass and then douses the manuscript of Misery's Return in lighter fluid. He then lights a match, and when she protests, he tells her that he learned it from her and then lights the book on fire. She tries to put the book out, desperate to find out what happened to Misery, but to no avail. Paul then lifts up the heavy metal Royal typewriter above his head and drops it on Annie's head. Paul attempts to flee in his wheelchair, but Annie draws her Colt Cobra revolver and shoots Sheldon in the arm, then trying to strangle him. Sheldon gets the upper hand by pressing her eyes with his thumb and then tackling her onto the ground. Sheldon again gets the upper hand by shoving the burning pages down her throat in a failed attempt to strangle her. Annie kicks him in the crotch and attempts to flee, presumably to get another weapon, but Sheldon swings his leg out and trips her, causing her to fall headfirst onto the typewriter, presumably killing her. Sheldon crawls away, but Annie, barely alive, attempts to kill Paul for the last time. Paul gets the upper hand when he grabs the steel doorstop and beats her to death with it, fracturing her skull. A bloodied Annie looks at Paul with regret and then falls on top of him, dead.
Months later, back in his home in New York City, Paul is having lunch with his publicist, who asks if he would consider writing a nonficition book about his captivity at the hands of Annie Wilkes, to which Paul declines. Paul sees Annie momentarily, only to realize his mind was playing tricks on him and another woman is their waitress, implying he may be suffering from nightmares or hallucinations as a result of the ordeal.
PersonalityShe is portrayed as a psychopath with multiple personality disorders. Annie's personality is characterized by violent mood swings, alternating between sweet and charming and blind with fury. Despite her evil actions, Annie regards herself as a devout Christian and believes that God often speaks to her and instructs her. Annie abhors profanity, becoming enraged if it is ever used in her presence. She is obsessed with the Misery Chastain novels by Paul Sheldon and has difficulty distinguishing between them and reality. A reclusive individual who lives by herself, Annie is prone to bouts of depression and appears to have severely low self-esteem. During her depressive favors, she binge eats and self-harms. Annie is a control freak with a strong desire for power over others and shows pronounced sinister tendencies, not only torturing Paul for disobeying her but also murdering countless infants during her tenure as a nurse. Interestingly, Annie's intelligence is a subject of debate. She sometimes seems slow-witted and unsophisticated, mispronouncing don Perignon for instance but she is also highly perceptive, manipulative, cunning, and capable of thinking quickly as well as having graduated from the University of Southern California and pursuing a medical career across the country, albeit marred by the occasional unfortunate bout of infanticide. Forensic psychologist Reid Malloy states that Annie's personality is a virtual catalogue of personality disorders. She shows signs of Schizoid, Schizotypal, Borderline and Obsessive compulsive personality disorders respectively as well as bipolar and sadomasochistic features.
- She was portrayed by Kathy Bates in the film adaptation, who won a Best Actress Academy Award for her efforts, becoming the first and currently only actor/actress to win for a Stephen King adaptation
- Despite clearly being mad at her husband for divorcing her, she did not kill him. The reasons for this are unknown