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Catherine Dollanganger
Biographical Information
Birth Name: Catherine "Cathy" Leigh Foxworth (Dollanganger)
Born: April 6, 1945
Home: Gladstone, PA
Status: Deceased
Occupation: Prima ballerina, author
Physical Description
Gender: Female
Height: 5'6" in (Flowers in the Attic 80's movie), 5'2" (in Flowers in the Attic Lifetime movie), 5'3" in (Petals on the Wind Lifetime movie), 5'8" in (If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday Lifetime movies)
Eye Color: Light Brown in (Flowers in the Attic 80's movie), Brown (in Flowers in the Attic Lifetime movie), Hazel in (Petals on the Wind Lifetime movie), Green in (If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday Lifetime movies)
Hair Color: Blonde
Family Information
Marital Status: Widowed
Relatives: * Garland Foxworth (great grandfather) ♰
Portrayed By: Kristy Swanson, Kiernan Shipka, Rose McIver, Rachael Carpani
Appearances: Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday

Catherine 'Cathy' Leigh Dollanganger-Marquet-Sheffield is the oldest daughter of Christopher Sr. and Corrine Foxworth. She is the older sister of Carrie and Cory and the younger sister of Christopher Dollanganger. Cathy is the narrator of the Dollanganger Series. She marries, officially, twice. First to Julian Marquet and second to Paul Sheffield and third, unofficially and begrudgingly to Chris Dollanganger-Sheffield, her own brother. She is the mother of three children: Julian "Jory" Janus Marquet (by her marriage to Julian), Bart Scott Winslow Sheffield-Foxworth (by her stepfather Bart Winslow), and Cynthia "Cindy" Sheffield (adopted), and had one miscarriage (by Chris). She has three grandchildren: twins Darren and Deidre and an unborn child.


Cathy with her siblings.

She is a passionate Ballet dancer and is described as being strikingly attractive, like all the Dollangangers, with soft features like a porcelain doll and a very slim and petite frame with long wavy, blonde hair and big blue eyes from the novel.

Flowers in the Attic[]

Kristy Swanson as Cathy 1987.

Cathy was born Catherine Leigh Dollanganger in April of 1945 to Christopher and Corrine, who already had a two-and-a-half-year-old son, Christopher "Chris" Jr. When Cathy was seven, the twins, Carrie and Cory, were born.

Her father died in a car crash on his 36th birthday when Cathy was only 12, leaving her, mother and her three siblings devastated. Four months later, Corrine and the children leave Gladstone without a word to anyone and little possessions. They flee their home to live at her elderly and strictly religious grandparents' estate, Foxworth Hall. Once there, Cathy's grandmother, Olivia, immediately shows her disgust to her four grandchildren, calling them the "Devil's spawn" due to their incestuous conception (Chris Sr was Malcolm's younger half-brother and Corrine's half uncle).

The innocent Flowers in the attic

To keep their terminally ill grandfather from finding out about their existence, which would be an abomination to him, Cathy and her siblings were forced by her mother to live in Foxworth Hall's spacious attic from the age of 12 up until the age of 15. The attic was filled with over two hundred years worth of family heirlooms and countless antiques. Within those three years, the children used the attic as their playground as their mother tried to win back the affections of her father to be added back into his will. Thus securing her financial future as she will inherit all her father's vast fortune once he passes away.

During their imprisonment, Cathy and Chris developed an incestuous relationship as they started to develop into maturity and with only each other, they soon turned to each other for comfort as their mother neglected them and became indifferent to the children's long suffering. Chris and Cathy were ashamed of their feelings for each other but were unable to resist temptation due to their constant confinement as virtual prisoners in the attic.

The Attic 1987.

Although Cathy is the older sister of Cory and Carrie, she soon became a second mother to them during their imprisonment and becomes very distraught with her selfish mother Corrine, who slowly forgets about them and her late husband. When the children begin to starve, the grandmother brings food up into the attic and spies on the children to make sure they are not doing anything "evil" or ungodly, such as repeating the mistake of their parent's Corrine and Christopher. Soon the grandmother threatens to starve the children if Cathy doesn't shave her long hair off as punishment. When this didn't work, the grandmother injected morphine into Cathy, before pouring hot tar on her head whilst she was sleeping, forcing Chris to cut it off.

As they come to realize that their mother has lost her interest in them in favor of her new younger husband Bart, Cathy and Chris decide to plot an escape. They make a wooden key and sneak into their mother's bedroom to steal money to fund their escape from Foxworth Hall. It is only after the death of youngest child, Cory and the discovery that their mother has been secretly poisoning them with arsenic in their powdered donuts to get them out of the picture so she can gain control over her inheritance. Upon escaping and fleeing the state, Cathy vows revenge.

Petals on the Wind[]

After Cathy and her brother and sister escape from Foxworth Hall, they get on a bus to Sarasota, Florida. Carrie becomes very sick with arsenic poisoning and Henrietta (Henny) Beech, takes them all to Dr. Paul Sheffield. With Paul's financial and emotional help, Cathy and her siblings begin to achieve their dreams. However, Cathy is still determined to exact revenge against her mother and grandmother, blaming her mother for all their problems (from Carrie's deformation and Cory's death to her and Chris' incestuous obsession with each other). Although she is still in love with her brother, Cathy rejects his advances and tries to have a normal sibling relationship with him.

As time passes, Cathy develops feelings for Paul (although she is conflicted with her needs to repay him sexually for taking them in) and she pursues her goal to becoming a famous prima ballerina to prove her existence to her mother. However, when Cathy and Paul decide to marry, Paul's sister told Cathy that she knew Cathy miscarried his child and that Paul's wife is still alive. Although this later proves to be a lie, Cathy, feeling betrayed, marries a ballet dancer named Julian Marquet, who has been infatuated with her since he first saw her. Julian abuses her, cheats on her, and forbids her from seeing Paul and Chris. Cathy has to sneak out to see Chris graduate from college. Chris and Paul try to convince Cathy to leave Julian for her own safety, but Cathy is pregnant with Julian's child and wants to work on her marriage. Julian is injured from a car accident, and although he knows about the baby, he kills himself when he finds out he will never dance again. Cathy moves back in with Paul and has her son, Julian Janus Marquet (or Jory).

Rose McIver as Cathy in her 20's 2014.

Cathy then moves to Charlottesville, where Foxworth Hall is located and hires her stepfather, Bart Winslow, as her lawyer under the guise of getting Julian's life insurance, with the intent on seducing him and revealing her identity as his stepdaughter. Chris tries to get her to stop or else he will cut her out of his life. Cathy stubbornly continues with her plot and begins a prolonged affairthath turns into love half-way.

One night, Cathy sneaks into Foxworth Hall and spends time in the attic. Cathy becomes pregnant with Bart's child and crashes her mother's Christmas party at Foxworth Hall, revealing her identity. At first, Bart doesn't believe her but Cathy pressures her mother to confess. Chris comes to fetch Cathy and Corrine, in the middle of a breakdown, thinks Chris her late husband, and that Cathy is twelve years old, and has snuck out of the attic, and Corrine sets the mansion on fire. Bart and Olivia die in the fire.

Cathy marries Paul and has her second son, Bartholomew Scott Winslow Sheffield. However, Paul dies three years later and Cathy decides to return to Chris' side and live with him as his wife, realizing how much she truly loved him. They move to California to start a new life together with the boys. However, Cathy secretly wonders what will happen to her sons if their secret relationship is discovered.

If There Be Thorns[]

Seven years later, Cathy and Chris lie to their sons and friends about their past: Chris is the younger brother of Paul and not Cathy's older brother. Cathy and Chris have a traditional relationship, described by Jory who has witnessed encounters accidentally. Cathy is a loving mother to her sons, but shows favoritism in Jory for his brilliant talent in dancing and looks at Bart with shadowy eyes. Cathy is still haunted by her times in the attic and of her grandmother coming up to punish her.

Cathy in her late 30s with her husband/brother and two sons

She tries to convince Chris to adopt a child, but he refuses. Nevertheless, she adopts Cindy, the daughter of a student of hers who died in a car accident, and shows deep affection for her because of her resemblance to Carrie. It is Cathy's affection for Cindy and favoritism for Jory that makes Bart feel neglected, and he turns to the old woman who lives next door. The old woman is Corrine, who is desperate for the forgiveness of her children. Corrine keeps her identity secret from Chris and Cath, but reveals her identity to Bart, who revels in her affection. Corrine also reveals her identity to Jory, but unlike Bart, he doesn't believe her, and avoids her all costs. Cathy loses her ability to dance after an accident and begins a career as a writer.

Along with Chris and Jory, Cathy notices that Bart is becoming a violent and emotionally disturbed young boy and finds out that her mother is living next door to her. She attacks her mother, blaming her for Bart's change and all the bad things that have happened. She is locked in the cellar with her mother by John Amos and is saved by her mother when her house catches on fire, and Corrine dies saving Cathy. Cathy forgives her mother but she continues to be haunted by her memories in the attic.

Seed of Yesterday[]

Cathy and Chris in their 50s

Fifteen years later, Cathy and Chris move back to Foxworth Hall, now owned by Bart, with Jory, his wife, and Cindy. However, life in the mansion is again rocky. She still has a difficult relationship with Bart, who is bitter and jealous. Jory suffers an injury that leaves him paralyzed and unable to dance; Bart seduces Jory's wife and she divorces Jory after they have twins named Darren and Deidre. Joel, Cathy's long-lost uncle who was thought to be dead, is always lurking around Bart and feeding him false beliefs of God and punishment, which disturbs Cathy to her core. Bart's bitterness and jealousy causes a tumultuous relationship with his adoptive sister, Cindy, who prefers to date boys and do what she likes to do. Cathy tries to comfort all of her children separately and give everyone some form of happiness. However, when Chris dies in a car accident, Cathy is devastated and shattered emotionally.

Cathy dies 9 months after Chris

After Chris' death, the family begins to heal emotionally and bond, but while this makes Cathy grateful it doesn't heal her wounds. One night, she goes up to the attic, sits by the windows and dies, but not before decorating the attic with paper flowers. As she passes away, she thinks about Chris, the twins, her mother, and grandmother, and how she lost her innocence to the world.

In her hand is a note that tells Bart that Chris needs her and that it wasn't too late for Bart to realize that Chris was the right father for him.


Olivia Foxworth[]

Cathy's relationship with her grandmother was a contentious one. Cathy rightly believes that Olivia is not someone to take lightly and fears her grandmother's punishments, even to the point of hesitating to let Chris steal from their mother, for fear that he'd be found and that they'd all suffer. She tries to take vengeance on Olivia later, but find herself unable to seriously harm a helpless old woman.

Christopher Foxworth, Sr.[]

Cathy's relationship with her father was a very good one. Her father adored her and often said that she reminded him of his mother Alicia Foxworth, whom he loved very much. Cathy grieves the most when her father is killed and misses him for the rest of her life. One of her prize possessions is a small garnet ring her father gives her after he assures her that the birth of the twins will not make him love her any less and she keeps it on a gold chain long after she outgrows it. When her confrontation with Corrine over Cory turns violent, Cathy sees her father frowning at her, disapproving of her striking her mother. Later, she dreams that her father greeted Cory in heaven, assuring her that Cory was safe and that her father was proud of her. After Chris' death, Cathy arranges to have their father's body moved from Pennsylvania to South Carolina so that he would be with the rest of the family.

Corrine Foxworth[]

In the beginning, Cathy's relationship with her mother was a good one. She was quick to help her mother with the twins and with dinner after her father is killed. She envies her mother's beauty and hopes to look like her one day. However, Cathy is the first to suspect that Corrine is not being honest with them, though she puts these suspicions aside. As time goes by, Cathy and Corrine's relationship deteriorates as Cathy increasingly questions her mother on how her mother's attempts to win back her father's love were going and became more suspicious of her mother's actions. Even so, she is hurt by her mother's increasingly indifference and is shocked when Chris reveals that Corrine had been behind the poisoned doughnuts.

After Cathy, Chris and Carrie escape Foxworth Hall, she sends her mother messages, reminding her that she still had three children out there and threatening to tell Bart Winslow about their existence, thus causing her mother to lose everything. She is incensed when Carrie reveals that Corrine had rejected her on the street and that the incident convinced Carrie that she was evil and led to her suicide. Cathy delights in stealing Bart Winslow from her mother and humiliating her in front of her friends. However, she genuinely grieves for Corrine after her mother dies saving her life and finally forgives her mother for everything she'd done.

Christopher Dollanganger Jr.[]

Cathy's relationship with her older brother was a typical brother/sister one in the beginning. She admits that he's wiser than she is and the two of them take over caring for the twins after their father's death. Cathy describes him as an eternal cock-eyed optimist and fairly handsome, as opposed to her moodiness.

As their time in the attic passed, Chris and Cathy became unnaturally close, due to going through puberty with no one else their own age nearby, Chris rapes her after discovering that Cathy almost gave them away to their step-father, thus making it harder for them to find money to steal. They often argued about their mother's actions, Chris defending her and Cathy pointing out how their mother was slowly abandoning them. It isn't until Cathy has recurring, vivid dreams about their grandmother and mother harming them that Chris begins planning their escape.

After their escape, Cathy and Chris struggled with their feelings, fearing that their benefactor, Paul Sheffield, would find out and throw them out. Throughout Cathy's first marriage to Julian Marquet and engagements to Paul Sheffield, Chris pleads with her to run away with him, so that they could be together, but Cathy refuses, wanting Chris to move on with his life. It is not until Paul pushes her to marry him, and after his own death, and after she can no longer have children that she finally agrees to marry Chris, thus following in the footsteps of their parents.

Chris' death shatters Cathy. After visiting the attic one last time to return to her Christopher Doll, she dies happy that she'll be with him and the rest of their deceased relatives again in what she describes as Heaven.

Cory Dollanganger and Carrie Dollanganger[]

Cathy's relationship with the twins was always loving, even though she was jealous when they were first born. She helped their mother care for them, especially after their father's death.

As their stay in the attic was prolonged, Cathy became more the twins' mother than Corrine and eventually, they stopped viewing Corrine as anything but a stranger.

Cathy is close to Cory and assures him that their grandmother will never know that he wets the bed. She praises his artistic efforts and encourages him to have interests that differ from Carrie's. When Cory becomes fatally ill, she fights her mother in order to be allowed to go with him so that she could explain to the doctors what was wrong.

Cathy is also close to Carrie, though she admits that Carrie gets on her nerves sometimes. Even after their escape, Cathy was sometimes the only person who could convince Carrie to do things and Carrie relied on her big sister's advice throughout her life. It is Cathy that Carrie confesses to about Julian's sexual abuse and the fact that their mother denied her on the street. In her suicide note, Carrie confesses that she sometimes forgot that Cathy and Chris were only her older siblings and not her real parents.

Julian Marquet[]

Julian was Cathy's first boyfriend and their relationship was always contentious. Julian seemed genuinely smitten by Cathy but he was brooding, possessive and jealous of her close relationships with Chris and Paul, wanting all of her attention, since he received very little from his parents, Madame Marisha and Georges. He frequently abused Cathy and tried to keep her from her family, except for Carrie. After Cathy leaves him, he cheats on her with Yolanda Lange and nearly ruins the reputation they've built as a team. He commits suicide in the hospital after a car accident, but not before telling Cathy to abort their unborn child.

Doctor Paul Sheffield[]

Cathy's relationship with Paul Sheffield fluctuated between father/daughter and lovers. At first, Paul treated her like a daughter, though he confronted her about her inappropriate relationship with Chris. Once Chris and Carrie were away at school, their relationship becomes more intimate and Paul becomes her first sexual encounter beyond Chris.

Jory Marquet[]

Jory was always Cathy's favorite son due to his talent for dancing, however, she never let him believe that dancing was the only life for him, unlike how Madame Marisha had treated Julian. When Jory is left paralyzed after an accident, she encourages him to not give up on life or his marriage.

Bart Foxworth[]

Cathy's relationship with Bart was the most troubled. Bart, under the influence of John Amos Jackson saw Cathy and Chris' relationship as evil and sinful. Even into adulthood, Bart treated his mother with contempt. It was not until Chris was dead that he realized what Cathy had been trying to tell him.

Cindy Sheffield[]

Cathy and Cindy were very close, Cathy viewing Cindy as a sort of replacement for Carrie and vowed to make her life happy. Cindy became rather spoiled, but an ultimately good person. Cathy rejoiced when Cindy and Bart put aside their years of rivalry to work together in Bart's ministry.

Darren and Deidre[]

Cathy loved her grandchildren, seeing in them Carrie and Cory. She tries to protect them from Bart and Joel Foxworth. In her last note, she wishes them luck in their lives.