Real-Life Cuckoo's Nest Doctor Dead at 96
Dean Brooks had role in film, was regarded as psychiatric reformer
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2013 10:31 AM CDT
Dean Brooks, as Dr. Spivey, in a scene from 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'   (YouTube/United Artists)

(Newser) – Dean Brooks ran Oregon's state psychiatric hospital for nearly three decades and gained a reputation as a patients' advocate and an innovator in how they were treated. That's why his obituary—he died Thursday at age 96—is in Oregon's Statesman Journal. But the reason he has a lengthy writeup in the New York Times as well has more to do with his role in the Jack Nicholson classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Brooks allowed the 1975 movie to be shot at Oregon State Hospital and served as a technical adviser. He so impressed the crew that he got a speaking role as the fictional hospital's Dr. Spivey. The Times notes an interesting twist: Brooks came off stilted when he read lines, so the filmmakers decided to let him and Nicholson ad-lib their scenes together, including Nicholson's intake interview. They did the latter in just two takes.

Next on Newser: 31 Celebrity Atheists
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Your Take
6% of people agree
that it's Depressing
Check Out Another Depressing Story
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 5 comments
Jun 2, 2013 8:26 AM CDT
I remember this man from the movie.He was good in his role.Nicholson was really good as Mc Murphy,perfect nutcase and all.Heckuva movie. They don't film 'em like that anymore.
Jun 1, 2013 9:30 PM CDT
Phew, I was thinking that the doctor in the novel died.
Jun 1, 2013 4:35 PM CDT
Mr. Johnson forgot to mention that the film was based on Ken Kesey's novel of the same name.