Glenn Close may have became a household name when she played the bunny-boiling Alex Forrest in the '80s thriller Fatal Attraction. But since then, she’s become a Hollywood legend, racking up three Tonys, three Emmys and three Golden Globes, most recently beating out A Star Is Born’s Lady Gaga (shocking!).
1. Her Early Years
Close was born as Glenda Veronica Close on March 19, 1947 in Greenwich, Connecticut. Her parents were Bettina and William Close, an American surgeon who spent years battling the Ebola virus in the Congo. She has two sisters, Tina and Jessie, and two brothers, Alexander and Tambu Kisoki, both of whom Close’s parents adopted while they were living in Africa.
2. She Spent 15 Years In A Cult-Like Religious Group
When Close was 7 years old, her father joined a conservative religious group called the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) and moved her family to Switzerland so that they could be closer to the group’s headquarters. Close has described the group as a cult, telling Hollywood Reporter magazine, "You basically weren't allowed to do anything, or you were made to feel guilty about any unnatural desire...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."
3. Her First Marriage Was ‘Kind Of An Arranged Marriage’
For several years in the '60s, Close traveled with the MRA’s singing group, Up With People. That’s where she met her first husband, Cabot Wade, a guitarist and songwriter in the group. "It is a complicated story for me," she told The Guardian. “I was married before college, and kind of in an arranged marriage when you look back on it, and my marriage broke up when I went to college, as it should have. I was 22."
4. She Discovered Her Love Of Acting In College
When Close was 22, she left the MRA and started attending the College of William & Mary, where she double majored in theater and anthropology and discovered her love of acting.
5. Katharine Hepburn Is Her Idol
Close was inspired to start acting in college after she saw an interview of her Hollywood idol, Katharine Hepburn, on The Dick Cavett Show. She earned an award named after the late actress and treasures a framed letter she received from her.
6. Close Has Been Married And Divorced Four Times
After her first marriage in her twenties, Close married three more times, all ending in divorce. She also has a daughter from her relationship with producer John Starke.
7. She Got A Late Start In Film
Close’s film career didn’t start until she was 35 years old. Her film debut started with The World According to Garp, which earned her her first Oscar nomination. She played Robin Williams’ mother in the film, even though she was only four years older than him at the time.
8. She Scored Three Oscar Nominations In Three Years
After The World According to Garp, Close racked up two more Oscar nominations, one for The Big Chill, and the next for her performance in Robert Redford's baseball drama The Natural.
9. Her Defining Moment
Close became a household name after her role in Fatal Attraction, the 1987 psychosexual thriller that ended up grossing $320 million worldwide. She was nominated for best actress for her performance.
10. She Was Nominated For Best Actress For Dangerous Liaisons
Close’s next Oscar nomination came with Dangerous Liaisons, a 1988 historical romantic drama based on Christopher Hampton's play, Les liaisons dangereuses. She co-starred with John Malkovich and garnered a best actress nomination for her portrayal of the Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil.
11. And Years Later…
Twenty-three years after her previous Oscar nomination, Close was nominated yet again for best actress, this time for her role as Albert Nobbs, a woman who disguises herself as a man and works as a butler in 19th-century Ireland. She lost the award to Meryl Streep, who played Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
12. She's On The Hollywood Walk of Fame
In 2009, Close was honored with the 2,378th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.
13. She's A Broadway Legend
Close has spent much of her acting career onstage, starting in 1974 when she was 27 years old. One of her most prominent Broadway roles was as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, for which she won a Tony Award in 1995.
14. She's In The Theater Hall Of Fame
In 2016, Close was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame at Gershwin Theatre in New York City.
15. Gracing The Small Screen
When it comes to her acting on the small screen, Close holds Emmys for the drama series Damages (2008 and 2009) and for the 1995 television drama movie Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story (1995).
16. She's Considered To Be A Gay Icon
Thanks to a number of campy characters she's played both onscreen and onstage, a lot of people look up to Close as being a gay icon. After she appeared on TV's Will & Grace, she told People, "To some I am already a gay icon because of characters like Cruella De Vil (in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians) and Norma Desmond (in Broadway’s Sunset Boulevard)."
17. She Keeps Her Costumes
Close likes to keep costumes from her TV and film roles. Some of them she dons herself, and others she donates or rents out. She loaned a Dangerous Liaisons dress to Madonna for the pop star's 1990 VMA performance.
18. She's A Longtime Mets Fan
She's a huge fan of the New York Mets and has even sung the National Anthem before their games numerous times throughout the years, including their first game at home in the 1986 World Series.
19. She's A Hard-Core Democrat
Close has been outspoken about supporting Democratic politicians. She attended Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration and spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
20. She Has No Wins...Yet
After Close received her seventh Best Actress nomination, she officially became the most nominated living actress with no wins.
21. She And Lady Gaga Tied At The Critics’ Choice Awards
Close and Lady Gaga have been neck-and-neck for top actress awards for their performances in The Wife and A Star Is Born — and the 2019 Critics’ Choice Awards was no different, with the two tying and sharing the award for best actress.
22. Seventh Time’s The Charm?
Close is tipped to be the front-runner for this year’s best actress award at the Oscars. While her win at the Golden Globes doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in the bag, it does bode well for her.
23. She’s Fighting To Destigmatize Mental Health
Close is a founder of Bring Change to Mind, an organization that’s working to raise awareness about mental illness. She’s dedicated to mental health advocacy, spurred in part by her younger sister Jessie’s bipolar disorder which went undiagnosed until she was age 50.
24. She's The Head Of Trillium Productions
Close is the president of production company Trillium Productions, which has come out with films such as Albert Nobbs, South Pacific, Sarah Plain and Tall, and Serving in Silence.
25. Acting Runs In The Family
Close's daughter, Annie Stark, is also an actress, and they've appeared together in the films Albert Nobbs and, most recently, The Wife.
26. Close Loves Dogs
She keeps an Instagram account for her own dog, Pip Close, a Havanese. She also co-founded FetchDog, a doggy apparel and accessories site, which she sold in 2012.
27. Close Doesn’t Check Her Phone Too Often
When the Oscars nominations were announced, she had her phone turned off and didn't find out about it until the next day. "I turned off my phone to get some sleep; [the nominations announcement] just wasn’t on my mind," she told the LA Times. "I was woken up by my brother who had come across town — he was at the truck stop with his buddies — and got a key from my sister next door and walked into my bedroom and woke me up." And when the Today show called her about her Golden Globe nomination, she thought it was a butt dial.
28. She’s Still Got It
Close firmly believes that getting older doesn’t mean you lose your sexuality. She told The Guardian that now that she’s in her 70s, she feels as sexual as she ever has. "It’s one of the great myths that you lose your sexuality as you get older," she told the publication, adding that she and co-star Jonathan Pryce, also 71, arrived on set in their "jammies" before filming the opening sex scene of The Wife. "We were both thinking the same thing: 'We’re pros; we’ve been doing this a long time. Let’s just get down to it.'"
29. She's Single And Loving It
Close now spends a lot of her time at her 1,000-acre ranch in Wyoming, a nature reserve for moose, deer, and other wild animals. "Yes, I’m single," she told Weekend Magazine. "But the irony is that I’ve never felt more alive or more eager for what’s coming next."