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Annie Wilkes

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Annie Wilkes

Full Name
Annie Marie Wilkes Dugan
Annie Wilkes;, the Dragon Lady
Misery (1987 novel); Misery (1990 film)
Diagnosis/Mental Health issues
Borderline personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, w/ schizotypal & obsessive-compulsive features, major depression and bipolar disorder
Unkown (possibly nurse)
Skilled as a nurse; successful in keeping her favorite author Paul Sheldon locked permanently in her house.
Loving all of Paul Sheldon's novels.
Force Paul Sheldon to revive the lead character Misery Chastain in his series of novels before killing him and then herself.
Type of Villain
Torturer, psychopath
God I love you.
~ Annie to Paul Sheldon after breaking his legs

Anne Marie Wilkes Dugan, better known as Annie Wilkes, is the main antagonist in the 1987 novel Misery and the 1990 film of the same name.

She is portrayed by Kathy Bates, who won an Oscar for her performance.

Annie is a demented, obsessive nurse and the self-proclaimed biggest fan of her favorite author, Paul Sheldon. She was ranked 17th on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains.


Early life

Annie was born in Bakersfield, California and she graduated from the University of California at the Los Angeles nursing school in 1972. 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 childhood neighbors and their father, her own father, her college roommate, and a hitchhiker she once slept with — in total, almost 70 people. Paul also finds out that Annie used to be married to a physical therapist named Frank Dugan, who later divorced from her, citing "mental cruelty".

In Misery

In the movie, Paul's car is hurled off the road as a result of a snowstorm, which lands near Annie's private property. The crash has caused a bilateral fracture of Paul's legs and rendered him unconscious. He is rescued by Annie a short time later, and wakes up in her house. She first appears to be a kind, nurturing caregiver, and Paul allows her to read his manuscript in exchange for saving him. However, when it is revealed that Paul's best known character, Misery Chastain, is going to be killed off, her true colors show. She then forces Paul to burn his manuscript and she tells him to write a new one. She also gives Paul potent medication that will serve a double effect, numbing the pain whilst keeping his imagination active for writing. While Paul writes, he tries to escape several times. When she learns this, Annie brutally breaks Paul's ankles with a sledgehammer in an act of "hobbling", and says to him, "God I love you."


Later in the movie, after investigating Paul's disappearance, Sheriff Buster decides to check out Annie's house and he eventually finds Paul locked up in the basement. Before he can free him, Annie kills him with a shotgun and she then tries to kill Paul as well, but he convinces her to let him finish the novel.

Eventually, he manages to finish the novel and he tells her to get him some wine. When she comes back, Paul say she did good, but tells her to bring him another glass, to which she does. Right when she leaves, Paul is about to set the book on fire, but he waits until Annie comes back. When she does, Paul sets fire to the paper in front of Annie, who begs him not to do it, to which Paul asks why not since he learned it from her, and he proceeds to set the whole manuscript on fire. As a panicking Annie tries to put it out, Paul bashes her over the head with the typewriter. When she falls backwards, Annie finds her arm on fire, to which she manages to put it out. Enraged, Annie attacks Paul and swears for the first time, calling Paul "a lying cocksucker", prompting Paul to blind her in one eye with his thumb and punch her in the face. On the floor with blood pouring from her eye, Annie takes out her gun and shoots Paul in the arm but this doesn't faze Paul and he tackles Annie and wrestles her on the floor. During the struggle, Paul bangs her head against the floor and shoves the burnt paper in her mouth, telling her to "eat it 'til you choke you sick, twisted fuck". Annie kicks Paul in the crotch and he rolls off of her but he trips Annie and she falls, hitting her head on the typewriter. Thinking she's dead, Paul wheels himself to the door, but Annie wakes up and jumps onto Paul's back, continuing to attack him. Paul then manages to bite Annie's hand and throws her off of him. He then grabs a metal pig statue that Annie uses as a doorstop and smashes her in the face with it, crushing her skull and killing her.

A year later, Paul is able to walk with the help of a cane and he meets his discussing making a non-fiction novel of what happened to him. Paul disagrees to this while seeing one of the waitresses turn into Annie. The waitress tells him that she's his biggest fan, then she turns back into the waitress, to which Paul nervously responds "That's... Very sweet of you..."



In the book she is portrayed as a psychotic monster who is evil to begin with, but in the film she is portrayed as more of a sympathetic character who struggles with her issues and mood swings.

King characterizes Annie Wilkes as a cunning, brutal and devious woman who hides her psychosis behind a cheery facade. Both the novel and the film portray her as extremely paranoid, and also suggest that she may suffer from bipolar disorder. Her moods, self-harm, violence and extreme feelings indicate she has borderline personality disorder. In the novel, she has day-long bouts with major depression, during which she is seen self-harm; Sheldon also finds evidence that she gorges herself on vast quantities of food.  She has an unhealthy obsession with romance novels, particularly Sheldon's Misery series. Her house is very well-ordered and she is a control freak who feels a strong need to have power over others. In addition to her borderline personality disorder, Wilkes also displays schizoid, schizotypal, and obsessive–compulsive personality disorder features and tendencies. Due to her borderline personality disorder, Anne Wilkes can effectively be considered a psychopath.

In a special feature on the  collectors' edition DVD, forensic psychologist Dr. Reid Meloy said that Wilkes' personality (as portrayed by Kathy Bates) is a virtual catalog of mental illness. According to Meloy, Wilkes suffers from bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder with schizoid, schizotypal, and obsessive–compulsive and sadomasochistic features. He also believes her profile is typical of people who stalk celebrities.

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 favours, she binge eats and self-harms. Annie is a control freak with a strong desire for power over others and shows pronounced sadistic 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, 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.

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