Cheat Sheet: Glenn Close
Date of Birth:
19th March 1947
Place of birth:
Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Acting, femme fataling, cross-dressing
The World According to Garp, Dangerous Liaisons, Fatal Attraction, 101 Dalmatians
What you probably already know:
Although nobody could accuse her of being typecast, the name ‘Glenn Close’ is as convenient a shorthand for ‘femme fatale’ as you’ll find anywhere in Hollywood. Still best known for her iconic 80s roles as the disturbed stalker Alex (Fatal Attraction) and scheming aristocrat the Marquise de Merteuil (Dangerous Liaisons), Close rewrote the rulebook on female characters who blended sex appeal with genuinely frightening motives, earning herself two consecutive Best Actress nominations just three years after she’d managed to be nominated for Best Supporting Actress three years in a row. Oh, and she’s also the voice of Cruella De Vil. Basically you don’t want to fuck’n’go with Glenn Close, because she will literally kill you.
Her most visible cinematic success may have been a while ago, but Glenn Close remains a formidable force on the small screen. The enormously popular, Golden Globe-winning series Damages, in which Close stars as a ruthless lawyer alongside Rose Byrne as her protégée, may have been underexposed on this side of the pond but it’s received rave reviews Stateside. Close’s performance as the brilliant Patty Hewes has earnt her – not the show, but specifically her – two Emmies, a Golden Globe, a Satellite Award and four Screen Actors’ Guild nominations since 2008, and since the fifth and final season is due to start in two months you have just enough time to catch up with it…
What you might not know:
This month Close has returned to cinemas with her long-awaited passion project Albert Nobbs, perhaps the perfect antithesis to her famous 80s roles as sex-crazed sirens who’ll stop at nothing to get what they want. Nobbs is similarly driven, but has a very different motivation – ‘he’ is actually a she who has spent decades hiding in plain sight by living as a man. Although the film has met with mixed reviews and may not break even, critics have been united in their acclaim for Close’s subtle, nuanced and entirely original performance. A sixth Oscar nomination has followed, along with a resurgence of interest in Close’s unique body of work.
Close’s entry into acting was perhaps not the most conventional; when she was seven years old her parents joined a ‘Christian’ cult which dictated every aspect of her life for the following fifteen years, until she finally ran away to go to college. Her only previous form of self-expression had been as part of a musical group within her religious community, and her interest in music never waned – Close has received three Grammy nominations (all, perversely, for spoken word work) and in 1995 she recorded a Christmas album with Plácido Domingo. Standard. Oh, and according to a rumour which did the rounds last year she’s going to play Susan Boyle in a biopic of the disabled singer’s life. Glenn Close, her what was in Fatal Attraction, could be playing Susan Boyle. Take a moment to absorb that.
Glenn Close quote:
“Celebrity is death – celebrity – that’s the worst thing that can happen to an actor.” Take note, LiLo.
What to say at a dinner party:
“Her return to Oscar consideration after a twenty-four year absence from the nominations demonstrates Close’s enduring power as an actress; surely her long-overdue win must be due soon…”
What not to say at a dinner party:
“Anyone for rabbit?”
If the SuBo news is true we’re going to Boyle Susan, just to make sure there’s a good ending to the film. Jesus, Glenn, don’t do it to us…