Your mother has come home after seventeen years to repent for her sins and for her crime. Not only against your grandfather and me, but against God! Your mother's marriage was unholy! A sacrilege! An abomination in the eyes of the Lord! She did not fall from Grace! She leapt! Into the arms of a man whose veins pulsed with the same blood as hers! Not a stranger, but her own uncle! And you, the children, are the devil's spawn! Evil from the moment of conception!
~ Olivia Foxworth to her grandchildren.

Olivia Foxworth is one of the main antagonists in the 1979 Virginia Andrews book Flowers in the Attic.

She was portrayed by Louise Fletcher (who also portrayed Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Kai Winn Adami in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) in the 1987 film adaptation of the novel, and by Ellen Burstyn (who portrayed Sister Summersisle in The Wicker Man) in the 2014 remake.


1987 Film

She is a religious fanatic. After the murder of her grandchildren's (two teenagers, Chris and Cathy, and 5-year old twins Cory and Cathy) father, they became penniless and were forced to go with their mom to live with Olivia.

She brought them in under one harsh condition, she lock them in a harsh room, so their deathly ill grandfather doesn't know they exist. They were locked up until the grandfather dies. But she's very abusive to them for their relationship with their mother (who is really her aunt as revealed in the film).

Since she is so religious and despises the children, she calls her own grandchildren sinners and the Devil's Spawn, uses a whip on them, break's Cathy's music box, cuts Cathy's hair and lock her up in the closet for a week.

2014 Film

Ellen Burstyn as Olivia Foxworth Flowers in the Attic

Ellen Burstyn as Olivia Foxworth in the 2014 Lifetime adaption of Flowers in the Attic

In the 2014 film, she is portrayed as more of an anti-hero, as she does despise her grandchildren, however, she is not as malicious as her previous incarnations though she does go along with the schemes of their mother, Corrine Dollanganger. She takes in the grandchildren at the beginning, and tells them all they need to know about living there. When she catches, Chris and Cathy together while the latter is in her underwear, she forces for the former to cut off the latter's hair. When he refused, she drugs Cathy and places tar in her hair, forcing it to be cut. While all of this goes on, she tells them this is God's punishment for even existing, while Christopher often tries to prove God loves them. 

Corrine eventually finds the children as nothing but obstacles in her way of a golden new life for her, and demands Olivia kill the children. She gives Olivia donuts with poison to feed to them, but just before Olivia sets them down, she gives them a warning, saying, "Don't eat them, they're bad for you." Unfortunately, the children do eat them but Cory  dies of arsenic poisoning. Olivia knows their mother wants to kill them, and shelters them from the truth for almost a year, until the three begin to be paranoid of being fed poison like their brother. They find Mickey, the mouse their brother adopted, is dying after taking a bite out of the donuts. They are just about to open the door to escape when Olivia walks in, catching Christopher looking at her outside of their room. She demands they hand over the skeleton key they made, and just when she thinks Christopher will give it to her, it turns out to be a trick, and they run out and into the staircase. Olivia turns out to have claustrophobia, and is paralyzed with fear when they shut the door. Christopher realizes she will be trapped like this, and shuts both doors, turns out the light, and tells her God will punish her for her deeds. In the end, it was found she managed to overcome her fear and is found staring out of the window.