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Darlene Cates appears in Whats Eating Gilbert Grape in 1993 with Johnny Depp. / Darlene Cates appears in a July 2012 interview with Dallas Morning News. - Provided courtesy of Dallas Morning News / Paramount Pictures

Darlene Cates, 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' actress, lost 244 pounds - See video

08/09/2012 by Kristina Lopez

Darlene Cates, the woman who starred as Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio's mother in the 1993 film "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," recently resurfaced in a recent interview after losing 244 pounds.

The 64-year-old actress reportedly went from 575 pounds to 331 pounds and tells the Dallas Morning News in a recent interview that she'd like to get back into acting.

"I can do moms real well. I don't have to delve very deep to find Mom in there," Cates told the newspaper.

The actress also talked candidly about several health setbacks she's had over the last couple of years which included four surgeries and three near-death experiences.

The health setbacks kept her hospitalized for 11 months until last November. She is still having trouble walking but hopes to be able to get into a wheelchair soon.

"I'll always remember you as the best acting momma I've ever had. You triumphed in your role," DiCaprio wrote to Cates in a note.

Cates played Bonne Grape, a woman who became morbidly obese and housebound following years of depression after her husband's suicide. Depp played the oldest son Gilbert, who spent most of the time caring for his mentally disabled younger brother Arnie, played by DiCaprio. The film also starred Juliette Lewis as Gilbert's love interest and Mary Steenburgen as his mistress.

Cates has had three children with her husband of almost 50 years and said that when the family moved to Forney, Texas almost 30 years ago, she began to gain weight. She tried dieting and once had her stomach stapled. She hopes to lose 100 more pounds.

"I can always tell when ... ['Gilbert Grape' has] been on TV," Cates said, "because there'll be a rush of 'friend' requests [on Facebook]."

After her role in "Gilbert Grape," Cates had television roles on "Pricket Fences" and "Touched by an Angel."

Check out Cates' interview with the Dallas Morning News below.

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