Glenn Close (born March 19, 1947) is an American film, television and stage actress. Throughout her long and varied career, she has been consistently acclaimed for her versatility and is widely regarded as one of the finest actresses of her generation. She has won three Emmy Awards, three Tony Awards and received six Academy Award nominations.
Close began her professional stage career in 1974 in Love for Love, and was mostly a New York stage actress through the rest of the 1970s and early 1980s, appearing in both plays and musicals, including the Broadway productions of Barnum in 1980 and The Real Thing in 1983, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Her first film role was in The World According to Garp (1982), which she followed up with supporting roles in The Big Chill (1983), and The Natural (1984); all three earned her nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She would later receive nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in Fatal Attraction (1987), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), and Albert Nobbs (2011). In the 1990s, she won two more Tony Awards, for Death and the Maiden in 1992 and Sunset Boulevard in 1995, while she won her first Emmy Award for the 1995 TV film Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story.
Close starred as Eleanor of Aquitaine in the 2003 TV film The Lion in Winter, winning a Golden Globe Award. In 2005, she starred in the drama series The Shield. Then from 2007-12, she starred as Patty Hewes in the FX drama series Damages, a role that won her a Golden Globe and two Emmys. She returned to Broadway in November 2014, in a revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. Her other films include Jagged Edge (1985), Hamlet (1990), Reversal of Fortune (1990), 101 Dalmatians (1996), Paradise Road (1997), Air Force One (1997), Cookie’s Fortune (1999), Nine Lives (2005) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
Close is a six-time Academy Award nominee, tying the record for being the actress with the most nominations never to have won (along with Deborah Kerr and Thelma Ritter). In addition, she has been nominated for four Tonys (three wins), fourteen Emmys (three wins), fourteen Golden Globes (two wins) and eight Screen Actors Guild Awards (one win). She has also been nominated three times for a Grammy Award and once for a BAFTA.
Early life and Family
Close was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, the daughter of socialite Bettine Moore Close and William Taliaferro Close, a doctor who operated a clinic in the Belgian Congo and served as a personal physician to Congo/Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko. Her father was a descendant of the Taliaferros of Virginia; her paternal grandfather, Edward Bennett Close, a stockbroker and director of the American Hospital Association, was first married to Post Cereals’ Marjorie Merriweather Post. Close is also a second cousin once-removed of actress Brooke Shields (Shields’s great-grandmother Mary Elsie Moore was a sister of Close’s maternal grandfather, Charles Arthur Moore, Jr.).
During her childhood, Close lived with her parents in a stone cottage on her maternal grandfather’s estate, in Greenwich. Close has credited her acting abilities to her early years: “I have no doubt that the days I spent running free in the evocative Connecticut countryside with an unfettered imagination, playing whatever character our games demanded, is one of the reasons that acting has always seemed so natural to me.” When she was seven years old, her parents joined a “cult group”, the Moral Re-Armament (MRA), in which her family remained involved for fifteen years, living in communal centers. Close has stated that the family “struggled to survive the pressures of a culture that dictated everything about how we lived our lives.” Close traveled for several years in the mid-to-late 1960s with an MRA singing group called Up With People, and attended Rosemary Hall (now Choate Rosemary Hall), graduating in 1965.
When she was 22, Close broke away from MRA, attending the College of William & Mary, and double majoring in theatre and anthropology. It was in the College’s theatre department that she began to train as a serious actor, under Howard Scammon, W&M’s long-time professor of theatre. During her years at school in Williamsburg she also starred in the summer-time outdoor drama, “The Common Glory,” written by Pulitzer Prize author Paul Green. She was elected to membership in the honor society of Phi Beta Kappa. Through the years she has returned to W&M to lecture and visit the theatre department. In 1989 she was the commencement speaker at W&M and received an honorary doctor of arts degree.
Close has had an extensive career performing in Broadway musicals. One of her most notable roles on stage was Norma Desmond in the Andrew Lloyd Webber production of Sunset Boulevard, for which Close won a Tony Award, playing the role on Broadway in 1994. and in its Revival in London and Broadway 2016 – 2017. Close was also a guest star at the Andrew Lloyd Webber fiftieth birthday party celebration in the Royal Albert Hall in 1998. She appeared as Norma Desmond and performed songs from Sunset Boulevard. Close has also won Tony Awards in 1984 for The Real Thing, and in 1992 for Death and the Maiden. Close performed at Carnegie Hall, narrating the violin concerto The Runaway Bunny, a concerto for reader, violin and orchestra, composed and conducted by Glen Roven.
Close provided the voice of the “Giant” in the Summer 2012 production of the musical Into the Woods at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The production also featured Amy Adams as The Baker’s Wife and Donna Murphy as The Witch.
In October 2014, Close returned to Broadway in the starring role of Agnes in Pam MacKinnon’s revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. She stars opposite John Lithgow as Tobias, Martha Plimpton as Julia and Lindsay Duncan as Claire. The production will play the Golden Theatre.
Film and Television
Close started her professional stage career in 1974, and her film work in 1982. She has been nominated for six Academy Awards, for Best Actress in Dangerous Liaisons, Fatal Attraction, and Albert Nobbs and for Best Supporting Actress in The Natural, The Big Chill, and The World According to Garp (her first film). Her six nominations have her tied with Deborah Kerr and Thelma Ritter as the most nominated actress not to win an Oscar.
After her sixth Oscar nomination, Close was asked about the fact of not having an Oscar, for which she answered: “And I remember being astounded that I met some people who were really kind of almost hyper-ventilating as to whether they were going to win or not [the Oscar], and I have never understood that. Because if you just do the simple math, the amount of people who are in our two unions, the amount of people who in our profession are out of work at any given time, the amount of movies that are made every year, and then you’re one of five. How could you possibly think of yourself as a loser?”
In total she has been nominated fourteen times for an Emmy (winning three) and thirteen times at the Golden Globes (winning two).
In 1984, Close starred in the critically acclaimed drama Something About Amelia, a Golden Globe-winning television movie about a family destroyed by sexual abuse. In 1987 she played the disturbed book editor Alex in Fatal Attraction, and in 1988 she played the scheming aristocrat The Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons. She played the role of Sunny von Bülow in the 1990 film Reversal of Fortune to critical acclaim.
Close has hosted Saturday Night Live twice, once in 1989 and once in 1992.
In the 1990s, she starred in the highly rated Hallmark Hall of Fame television drama Sarah, Plain and Tall (1991), as well as its two sequels. She also played the title role in the made-for-TV movie Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story in 1995, for which she won her first Emmy. She also appeared in the newsroom comedy-drama The Paper (1994), Steven Spielberg’s Hook, the alien invasion satire Mars Attacks! (1996, as The First Lady), the Disney hit 101 Dalmatians (1996, as the sinister Cruella de Vil) and its sequel 102 Dalmatians (2000), and the blockbuster Air Force One (1997), as the trustworthy vice president to Harrison Ford’s president. In 2001, she starred in a production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical South Pacific.
In 2005, Close joined the FX crime series The Shield, in which she played a no-nonsense precinct captain. She starred in a series of her own for 2007, Damages (also on FX) instead of continuing her character on The Shield. Close won the 2009 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama series for her role in Damages. In an interview after her win, Close stated that her role of Patty Hewes in the series was the role of her life. Also in 2009, she narrated the environmental film Home.
In December 2010, Close began filming Albert Nobbs in Dublin. She had previously won an Obie in 1982 for her role in the play on stage. She had been working on the film, in which she appeared alongside 101 Dalmatians co-star Mark Williams, for 10 years, and aside from starring in it, she co-wrote the screenplay and produced the film.
In the film, Close played the title role of Albert Nobbs, a woman living her life as a man in 1800s Ireland after being sexually assaulted as a young girl. For the film, Close sat through hours of makeup to transform herself into a man. While the film itself received mixed reviews, Close and Janet McTeer received rave reviews for their performances. Close’s performance was noted for being her most subtle and introverted performance yet and a departure from her other roles. Close received Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and multiple critics nominations for her performance in Albert Nobbs.
Recently Close along with Viola Davis and Uma Thurman was featured in the Documentary Love, Marilyn reading excerpts from Marilyn Monroe’s diaries. Critic Stephen Farber has described the film as “One of the most skillful and entertaining summaries of Marilyn’s endlessly fascinating rise and fall.” Close played Nova Prime Rael in the science fiction film Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
Personal Life and Causes
From 1969 to 1971, Close was married to Cabot Wade, a guitarist and songwriter, whom she had performed with during her time at Up with People. From 1979 to 1983 she dated Broadway actor Len Cariou. She was married to businessman James Marlas from 1984 to 1987. Soon afterward, she began a relationship with producer John Starke, whom she had previously met on the set of The World According to Garp. In 1988 the two had a daughter together, Annie Starke, who is currently an aspiring actress. They separated in 1991.
In 1995 Close was engaged to carpenter Steve Beers, who had worked on Sunset Boulevard, but the two never married, and they separated in 1999.
In February 2006, Close married executive and venture capitalist David Evans Shaw in Maine.
Close is a second cousin once removed to actress Brooke Shields.
Through her fourth generation great-grandfather Samuel Addams, Close is a third cousin twice removed of cartoonist Charles Addams (1912-1988). Close is a dog lover and writes a blog for Fetchdog.com, where she interviews other famous people about their relationships with their dogs. Close announced to the public that she has had her DNA sequenced.
Close has donated money to the election campaigns of many Democratic politicians, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Howard Dean, John Edwards and Barack Obama.
Close was a founder and is chairperson of BringChange2Mind, a US campaign to eradicate the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness, supporting her sister Jessie who has bipolar disorder. During the month of July 2013, Close put up over 380 designer items up for auction on eBay from the wardrobe her character Patty Hewes wore on Damages. All proceeds were raised to go to her charity BringChange2Mind.
Awards and Nominations (Stage)
The Antoinette Perry Award (Tony) is presented by the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League. Considered the highest honor in US theatre, they are the theatre equivalent to the Oscars (film) and the Emmys (television).
|1984||The Real Thing||
|1992||Death and the Maiden||Won|
Drama Desk Awards
|1992||Death and the Maiden||
|1982||The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs||
The Work – Theatre
|1974||Love for Love||Angelica||Broadway play (New Phoenix Rep at Helen Hayes Theatre)|
|1974||The Rules of the Game||Neighbour|
|1974||The Member of the Wedding||Janice|
|1976||Rex||Princess Mary||Broadway musical|
|1977||The Crazy Locomotive||Off-Broadway (Chelsea Theater Center)|
|1977||Uncommon Women and Others||Off-Broadway|
|1978||The Crucifer of Blood||Irene St. Claire||Broadway play|
|1979||The Winter Dancers||Off-Broadway|
|1980||Barnum||Chairy Barnum||Broadway musical|
|1982||The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs||Albert Nobbs||Off-Broadway|
|1983||The Real Thing||Annie||Broadway play (Plymouth Theatre)|
|1985||For No Good Reason/Childhood||Off-Broadway|
|1985||Benefactors||Jane||Broadway play (Brooks Atkinson Theatre)|
|1992||Death and the Maiden||Paulina Salas||Broadway play (Brooks Atkinson Theatre)|
|1993||Sunset Boulevard||Norma Desmond||Shubert Theatre, Los Angles (musical)|
|1994||Sunset Boulevard||Norma Desmond||Broadway musical|
|2002||A Streetcar Named Desire||Blanche Dubois||London (National Theatre)|
|2003||The Play What I Wrote||Broadway musical|
|2006||Busker Alley||Off-Broadway musical (one-performance benefit concert)|
|2014||A Delicate Balance||Agnes||Broadway play|
|2017||Sunset Boulevard||Norma Desmond||Broadway Musical|
|1982||The World According to Garp||Jenny Fields|
|1983||The Big Chill||Sarah Cooper|
|1984||The Natural||Iris Gaines|
|1984||The Stone Boy||Ruth Hillerman|
|1984||Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes||Jane Porter||Voice, uncredited|
|1985||Jagged Edge||Teddy Barnes|
|1985||Maxie||Jan / Maxie|
|1987||Fatal Attraction||Alexandra “Alex” Forrest|
|1988||Dangerous Liaisons||Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil|
|1988||Light Years||Queen Ambisextra||Voice|
|1989||Immediate Family||Linda Spector|
|1990||Reversal of Fortune||Sunny von Bulow|
|1991||Meeting Venus||Karin Anderson|
|1993||The House of the Spirits||Ferula Trueba|
|1994||The Paper||Alicia Clark|
|1996||Mars Attacks!||First Lady Marsha Dale|
|1996||101 Dalmatians||Cruella de Vil|
|1997||Paradise Road||Adrienne Pargiter|
|1997||Air Force One||Vice President Kathryn Bennett|
|1999||Cookie’s Fortune||Camille Dixon|
|2000||102 Dalmatians||Cruella de Vil|
|2000||Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her||Dr. Elaine Keener|
|2001||The Safety of Objects||Esther Gold|
|2003||Le Divorce||Olivia Pace|
|2003||Pinocchio||The Blue Fairy||Voice|
|2004||The Stepford Wives||Claire Wellington|
|2005||Tarzan II||Kala||Voice, direct-to-DVD|
|2005||The Chumscrubber||Carrie Johnson|
|2011||Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil||Granny||Voice|
|2011||Albert Nobbs||Albert Nobbs||Also producer, co-writer and author of the lyrics of the song “Lay Your Head Down”|
|2014||Guardians of the Galaxy||Nova Prime Rael|
|2014||5 to 7||Arlene|
|2014||on My Mind, AlwaysAlways on My Mind||Pre-production|
|2014||The Great Gilly Hopkins||Post-production|
- Roberts, Gary Boyd (2010). “Notable Kin – Additional Noted American Cousin: A Five-Year Update, Numbers 326-350”. New England Historic Genealogical Society – Founded 1845. Retrieved 2010-12-07.
- “Glenn Close: My close-up on a man’s world”. Daily Mail. 15 April 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- Simpson, Dan (2006-11-29). “Conscience and the Congo”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- “Glenn Close Biography – Yahoo! Movies”. Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- “Thomas Holcombe of Connecticut – Person Page 1141”. Holcombegenealogy.com. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 1995
- In a speech at Princeton University on February 19, 2009
- Rosemary Hall Alumnae Award from the Choate Rosemary Hall website
- Galloway, Stephen (October 15, 2014). “Glenn Close Returns to Stage, Reveals Remarkable Childhood in Cult”. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
- “Glenn Close: “Are You Who We Think You Are?””. Princeton.edu. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Glenn Close Emmy Award Winner
- “SNL Transcripts: Glenn Close: 02/25/89”. Snltranscripts.jt.org. 1989-02-25. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- “SNL Transcripts: Glenn Close: 12/12/92”. Snltranscripts.jt.org. 1992-12-12. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- Joyce Eng (20 September 2009). “Kristin Chenoweth, Jon Cryer Win First Emmys”. TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
- Glenn Close’s Albert Nobbs Costume Revealed” comingsoon.net (Source:Daily Mail), December 5, 2010
- BWW Staff. “Glenn Close Reprises ‘Albert Nobbs’ in New Film” broadwayworld.com, December 15, 2010
- Farber, Stephen (September 4, 2012). “Love, Marilyn: Telluride Review”. The Hollywood Reporter.
- Fleming, Jr., Mike (May 29, 2013). “Glenn Close Is Head Cop In Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’”. Deadline.com. Archived from the original on May 29, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- “Read the Official Synopsis For Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy”. Marvel. January 3, 2014. Archived from the original on February 17, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- “Glenn Close to Voice The Giant in Public Theaters ‘Into the Woods’” broadwayworld.com, July 16, 2012
- Stritof, Sheri and Bob. “Glenn Close and David Shaw”, Marriage.about.com, accessed December 31, 2011
- Annie Starke on Following Mom (Glenn Close) On Stage and Her Fashionable Debut in Love, Loss and What I Wore, Broadway.com, March 31, 2011
- “Glenn Close Marries on Maine Retreat”, People Magazine, February 6, 2006.
- Reitwiesner, William Addams (12 Nov 2010). “The Ancestors and Relatives of William Addams Reitwiesner”. William Addams Reitweisner Genealogical Services. Retrieved 11 Sep 2014.
- “BioTechniques – First named female genome sequenced”.
- “Opensecrets.org”. Opensecrets.org. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- “Bring Change 2 Mind”. Bring Change 2 Mind. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- Peppers, Margot (July 12, 2013). “Want to dress like a high-powered lawyer without the hefty price tag? Glenn Close auctions off Armani and Prada power suits from her Damages wardrobe on eBay”. Daily Mail (London).
- Glenn Close at the Internet Broadway Database
- Glenn Close at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Glenn Close at the Internet Movie Database
- Glenn Close at Emmys.com
- Napoleon, Davi. Chelsea on the Edge: The Adventures of an American Theater Includes discussion of Des McAnuff’s production of The Crazy Locomotive at the Chelsea Theater. Iowa State University Press.
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