Glenn Close

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Glenn Close
Glenn Close 2012 1.jpg
Close in Paris at the Albert Nobbs French premiere in February 2012.
Born(1947-03-19) March 19, 1947 (age 66)[1]
Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.
Alma materCollege of William & Mary
OccupationActress, producer
Years active1974–present
Spouse(s)Cabot Wade (1969–1971)
James Marlas (1984–1987)
David Shaw (2006–present)
Partner(s)Len Cariou (1979-1983)
John Starke (1987–1991)
Steve Beers (1995–1999)
ChildrenAnnie Starke (born 1988)
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Glenn Close
Glenn Close 2012 1.jpg
Close in Paris at the Albert Nobbs French premiere in February 2012.
Born(1947-03-19) March 19, 1947 (age 66)[1]
Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.
Alma materCollege of William & Mary
OccupationActress, producer
Years active1974–present
Spouse(s)Cabot Wade (1969–1971)
James Marlas (1984–1987)
David Shaw (2006–present)
Partner(s)Len Cariou (1979-1983)
John Starke (1987–1991)
Steve Beers (1995–1999)
ChildrenAnnie Starke (born 1988)

Glenn Close (born March 19, 1947)[1] is an American film, television and stage actress. Throughout her long and varied career, she has been consistently acclaimed for her versatility and considered by many to be one of the greatest actresses of all time.[2][3]

Close began her professional stage career in 1974 in Love for Love, and was mostly a Broadway actress through the rest of the 1970s and early 1980s, appearing in both plays and musicals, including major productions such as Barnum in 1980. 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). Since 2005, she has been known for her television roles in The Shield and her Emmy and Golden Globe winning role as Patty Hewes in the FX TV series Damages.

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, her work has earned her three Tonys, an Obie, three Emmys, two Golden Globes, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. She has also been nominated three times for a Grammy Award and once for a BAFTA, amongst others.

Early life and family[edit]

Close was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, the daughter of Bettine (née Moore) and William Taliaferro Close,[1] a doctor who operated a clinic in the Belgian Congo and served as a personal physician to Congo/Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko.[4] 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,[5] 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.).[6]

During her childhood, Close lived with her parents in a stone cottage in Greenwich.[7] Close has credited her early years for her acting abilities: "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."[8] 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.[7][9] 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.[10] She was elected to membership in the honor society of Phi Beta Kappa.[7]


Film and television[edit]

Close started her professional stage career in 1974, and her film work in 1982.[7] 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).[7] 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)[11] 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.[7] She played the role of Sunny von Bülow in the 1990 film Reversal of Fortune to critical acclaim.

Glenn Close hosted Saturday Night Live twice during that time once in 1989 and once in 1992.[12][13]

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.[14] 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.[15][16]

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."[17] Close is set to appear as the leader of the Nova Corps in Guardians of the Galaxy, scheduled for release in 2014.[18]


Glenn Close at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

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.[7] 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.[7] 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.[19]

Personal life and causes[edit]

Close was married to Cabot Wade, a guitarist whom she had met during her time at Up with People, from 1969 to 1971.[20] From 1979 to 1983 she dated Broadway actor Len Cariou.[20] She was married to businessman James Marlas from 1984 to 1987.[20] Soon afterward, she began a relationship with producer John Starke, whom she had previously met on the set of The World According to Garp.[20] In 1988 the two had a daughter together, Annie Starke, who is currently an aspiring actress.[21] They separated in 1991.[20]

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.[20]

In February 2006, Close married executive and venture capitalist David Evans Shaw in Maine.[20][22]

Close is a second cousin once removed to actress Brooke Shields. Close is a dog lover and writes a blog for, where she interviews other famous people about their relationships with their dogs.[23] Close announced to the public that she has had her DNA sequenced.[24]

Close has donated money to the election campaigns of many Democratic politicians, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Howard Dean, John Edwards and Barack Obama.[25]

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.[26] 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.[27]

Awards and nominations[edit]

List of awards and nominations received by Glenn Close


1982The World According to GarpJenny Fields
1983The Big ChillSarah Cooper
1984The NaturalIris Gaines
1984The Stone BoyRuth Hillerman
1984Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the ApesJane Porterdubbed Andie MacDowell's voice
1985MaxieJan / Maxie
1985Jagged EdgeTeddy Barnes
1987Fatal AttractionAlexandra "Alex" Forrest
1988Dangerous LiaisonsMarquise Isabelle de Merteuil
1988Light YearsQueen Ambisextra (voice)French title: Gandahar
1989Immediate FamilyLinda Spector
1990HamletQueen Gertrude
1990Reversal of FortuneSunny von Bülow
1991Meeting VenusKarin AndersonVenice Film Festival: Golden Ciak for Best Actress
1993The House of the SpiritsFerula Trueba
1994The PaperAlicia Clark
1996Mars Attacks!First Lady Marsha Dale
1996101 DalmatiansCruella de Vil
1996Mary ReillyMrs. Farraday
1997In & OutHerselfcameo appearance
1997Air Force OneVice President Kathryn Bennett
1997Paradise RoadAdrienne Pargiter
1999Cookie's FortuneCamille Dixon
2000102 DalmatiansCruella de Vil
2000Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at HerDr. Elaine Keener
2001South PacificNellie Forbush
2001Safety of Objects, TheThe Safety of ObjectsEsther Gold
2003Le DivorceOlivia Pace
2003Roberto Benigni's PinocchioThe Blue FairyEnglish voice
2004Stepford Wives, TheThe Stepford WivesClaire Wellington
2005Tarzan IIKalavoice
2005Chumscrubber, TheThe ChumscrubberCarrie Johnson
2005Nine LivesMaggie
2007EveningMrs. Wittenborn
2011Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. EvilGrannyvoice
2011Albert NobbsAlbert NobbsAlso producer, screenplay and author of the lyrics of the song "Lay Your Head Down"
2014AnesthesiaMarcia ZarrowFilming
2014Guardians of the GalaxyNova Prime[28]Filming
2014Always on My MindPre-production
20145 to 7ArleneFilming
2014Low DownGramPost-production
1990Divine GarboHerselfGreta Garbo documentary
1999Lady with the Torch, TheThe Lady with the TorchHerself-hostThe 75th Anniversary of Columbia Pictures
2001Welcome to HollywoodHerself
2003What I Want My Words to Do to You: Voices from Inside a Women's Maximum Security PrisonHerself
2003Closer Walk, AA Closer WalkNarratorRobert Bilheimer film. AIDS epidemic.
2007Broadway: Beyond the Golden AgeHerself
2009HomeNarratorYann Arthus-Bertrand film.
2011Not My LifeNarratorRobert Bilheimer film. Human trafficking and contemporary slavery.
2011PaxDirector and executive producer
2012Love, MarilynNarrator/HerselfLiz Garbus film.
2012Casting ByHerself
2014Broadway: Beyond The Golden AgeHerself
1975Rules of the Game, TheThe Rules of the GameNeighbor
1979Too Far to GoRebecca Kuehn
1979Orphan TrainJessica
1982Elephant Man, TheThe Elephant ManPrincess Alexandra
1984Something About AmeliaGail Bennett
1988Stones for IbarraSara Everton
1990She'll Take Romance
1991Sarah, Plain and TallSarah WheatonAlso executive producer
1993SkylarkSarah WittingAlso executive producer
1995Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer StoryCol. Margarethe CammermeyerAlso executive producer
1995Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons (1995–2012)Mona Simpson
1997In the GloamingJanet
1999Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter's EndSarah WittingAlso executive producer
2000BabyAdult Sophie(narrator)
2001Ballad of Lucy Whipple, TheThe Ballad of Lucy WhippleArvella WhippleAlso executive producer
2001South PacificNellie ForbushAlso executive producer
2002Will & GraceFanny Lieber
2003Brush with FateCornelia Engelbrecht
2004Lion in Winter, TheThe Lion in WinterEleanor of Aquitaine
2004Strip SearchKaren Moore
2004West Wing, TheThe West WingEvelyn Baker Lang
2005Shield, TheThe ShieldCaptain Monica Rawling
DamagesPatty Hewes

Video Games[edit]

2004Fallout 3Alice MclaffertyCancelled Version, Voice and Likeness

Stage productions[edit]

Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals[edit]

Jim Dale and Glenn Close performing Busker Alley in 2006.

Broadway plays[edit]


Los Angeles[edit]



Close received her first Grammy nomination (shared with Jeremy Irons) in 1985 for Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for The Real Thing.[29]

In 1988 PBS and Rabbit Ears Productions produced a multi-award-winning animated adaptation and a subsequent book depicting the Washington Irving story "The Emperor and the Nightingale". Illustrations, directing, and adaptation were done by Robert Van Nutt; music by Tim Story; and the narration by Glenn Close. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Album for Children, making it Close's second nomination.[30]

In 1989 Close narrated The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Album for Children, for which Tim Story composed the music, and gave Close her third nomination.[31]

In 1995, Glenn Close and Plácido Domingo recorded a Christmas album together titled Repeat the Sounding Joy featuring The London Symphony Orchestra. The album was produced by the Hallmark company.[32]

Other works[edit]

In 2003, Close was originally cast as Alice McLafferty in the cancelled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios. She was used as the concept design for Alice, and she was to voice her as well. After Black Isle cancelled the title, Fallout 3 was made by Bethesda, and Alice was removed.

In 2010, Fallout New Vegas included Alice, which was still designed to look like Close, but Marianne Muellerleile voiced Alice.


  1. ^ a b c 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. 
  2. ^
  3. ^,_Glenn/Biography/
  4. ^ "Conscience and the Congo". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2006-11-29. 
  5. ^ "Glenn Close Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  6. ^ "Thomas Holcombe of Connecticut - Person Page 1141". Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 1995
  8. ^ In a speech at Princeton University on February 19, 2009
  9. ^ Rosemary Hall Alumnae Award from the Choate Rosemary Hall website
  10. ^ "Glenn Close: "Are You Who We Think You Are?"". 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  11. ^ Glenn Close Emmy Award Winner
  12. ^ "SNL Transcripts: Glenn Close: 02/25/89". 1989-02-25. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  13. ^ "SNL Transcripts: Glenn Close: 12/12/92". 1992-12-12. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  14. ^ Joyce Eng (20 September 2009). "Kristin Chenoweth, Jon Cryer Win First Emmys". Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  15. ^ Glenn Close's Albert Nobbs Costume Revealed" (Source:Daily Mail), December 5, 2010
  16. ^ BWW Staff. "Glenn Close Reprises 'Albert Nobbs' in New Film", December 15, 2010
  17. ^ Farber, Stephen (September 4, 2012). "Love, Marilyn: Telluride Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  18. ^ Fleming, Jr., Mike (May 29, 2013). "Glenn Close Is Head Cop In Marvel's 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'". Archived from the original on May 29, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Glenn Close to Voice The Giant in Public Theaters 'Into the Woods'", July 16, 2012
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Stritof, Sheri and Bob. "Glenn Close and David Shaw",, accessed December 31, 2011
  21. ^ Annie Starke on Following Mom (Glenn Close) On Stage and Her Fashionable Debut in Love, Loss and What I Wore,, March 31, 2011
  22. ^ "Glenn Close Marries on Maine Retreat", People Magazine, February 6, 2006.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "BioTechniques – First named female genome sequenced". 
  25. ^ "". Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  26. ^ "Bring Change 2 Mind". Bring Change 2 Mind. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  27. ^ Peppers, Margot. "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). 
  28. ^ "Marvel Studios Begins Production on Guardians of the Galaxy". July 20, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  29. ^ 1985 Grammy Awards
  30. ^ "The Emperor and the Nightingale"
  31. ^ "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
  32. ^ Hallmark Presents: Glenn Close & Placido Domingo - Repeat The Sounding Joy (1995)

External links[edit]