It’s hard to think of a more prolific and iconic actress than Glenn Close. She began her career on stage and then made it big in Hollywood with roles in films like Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, and The Big Chill. On March 15, Close received her eighth Oscar nomination for her performance in Hillbilly Elegy (via The Associated Press).
In addition to her A-list status in the film world, Close has continued to work on stage where her acting career began, garnering quite a collection of Tony Awards for her roles in Sunset Boulevard, Death and the Maiden, and The Real Thing (via Playbill). She also had a memorable turn on the small screen in the legal thriller Damages, which ran from 2007-12 and earned her a Golden Globe and an Emmy (via IMDb).
Close’s own life is just as interesting as many of the roles she’s played. From an unconventional childhood to her dedication to advocacy, here’s what you may not know about Glenn Close.
Glenn Close grew up in a cult
In a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Glenn Close shared that when she was just 7 years old, her entire family joined a cult called The Moral Re-Armament (MRA). The MRA was founded in the 1930s in opposition to the idea of America entering a war against the Nazis. After joining the MRA, the family left their home in Greenwich, Connecticut; her father went to Congo to work as a doctor and Close lived with her siblings at MRA’s headquarters in Switzerland.
“If you talk to anybody who was in a group that basically dictates how you’re supposed to live and what you’re supposed to say and how you’re supposed to feel, from the time you’re 7 till the time you’re 22, it has a profound impact on you,” Close told the outlet. “It’s something you have to [consciously overcome] because all of your trigger points are [wrong].”
She managed to break free from the MRA and began her undergraduate studies at the College of William and Mary at age 22.
Glenn Close is a passionate mental health advocate
Glenn Close has been a longtime advocate for ending the stigma surrounding mental illness. She is the co-founder of the national organization Bring Change to Mind, which promotes talking more openly about mental health.
Per LAist.com, Close became involved in advocacy because the issue hits close to home for her. Her sister has bipolar disorder and her nephew has schizophrenia. “[O]ur family had, we had no vocabulary for mental health for any kind of mental illness,” Close said, referencing the years before her sister’s diagnosis. “Even though we’re a family that had a lot of depression: We’ve had suicides, we’ve had a lot of alcoholism, and no one ever talked about it. So we decided as a family to start talking about it.”
In addition to her work with Bring Change to Mind, Close lends her support to other mental health organizations. In June 2016, she donated $75,000 to the Mental Health Association of Central Florida to help the organization continue to provide counseling and mental health treatment to victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando (via Playbill).
At the box office, Cruella DeVil is Glenn Close's most successful starring role
Glenn Close is known for her award winning roles in critically acclaimed films and TV series, including Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, The World According to Garp, The Natural, and Damages. But when it comes to box office success, her starring role as Cruella DeVil in the live-action version of 101 Dalmatians is her most successful, per IMDb. (She had a small role in Guardians of the Galaxy and appeared uncredited in Warcraft, both of which brought in more money than 101 Dalmatians.)
According to IMDb, 101 Dalmatians brought in $321 million worldwide. Released in 1996, it also starred Jeff Daniels and Joely Richardson. Although it received mediocre reviews (per Metacritic), Close managed to nab a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. She won Golden Globe awards for her leading performances in the film The Wife and the TV series Damages.
Close received her eighth Oscar nomination in March 2021 but surprisingly enough, she has yet to win.
Glenn Close recently moved to Bozeman, Montana
Glenn Close moved to Bozeman, Montana, in December 2019 to be closer to her siblings. Due to COVID, she stayed put throughout 2020, telling Parade that it was “the first time I’ve been in one place long enough to see the changing of the seasons for one full year.”
Close will likely be back on the move soon, though. As she told Parade, a new TV series was put on hold due to the pandemic and she’s hoping for a movie adaptation of Sunset Boulevard so she can play Norma Desmond on screen. Close won her third Tony Award for her portrayal of Norma on stage (via Broadway.com).
Although she’s looking forward to getting back to work, Close has deep ties to Bozeman. She owned the town’s beloved coffee shop The Leaf and Bean for a period of time in the 1990s (via The Bozeman Daily Chronicle) and has maintained a residence in the area for decades.
Glenn Close is distantly related to Princess Diana
Close appeared on the TV series Finding Your Roots, which found that she is a distant cousin of Princess Diana’s (via TV Insider). Actor Clint Eastwood is also her distant cousin.
The show delved into her family’s genealogical history and found that her ancestors were slaveholders. “It makes me feel a sense of shame,” she told host Henry Louis Gates Jr., although she was glad to learn of Quaker ancestors who were instrumental in the founding of America. Gates told Close that she’s “like… a microcosm of the American experience in all of its complexity,” per TV Insider.
As for her relatives across the pond, FamousKin.com says she and Princess Diana are eighth cousins. The two actually met and were photographed together in March 1989 at the premiere of Close’s film Dangerous Liaisons, but it seems that Close only learned of their relationship during her appearance on Finding Your Roots.
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