updated 02/21/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 02/21/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
Louise Fletcher won the 1975 Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Nurse Ratched in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, but it was for her May-December relationship with Morgan Mason that Fletcher made waves in PEOPLE (July 11, 1977). The actress, who had recently split with producer-husband Jerry Bick, was 43 and the mother of two teenage sons when she set up house with Mason, then 22, a former child actor and the son of actors James and Pamela Mason. "He was so much more sophisticated than I was," says Fletcher, now 59, who will appear in the upcoming black comedy Tollbooth. Still close friends, Fletcher and Mason say age was not a factor in their 1980 breakup. "I still have great affection for her," says Mason, now 38, a William Morris executive, married since 1985 to singer Belinda Carlisle, 35. Fletcher, who lives alone in L.A., has no regrets either. Says she: "That experience taught me that I was capable of great love."