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Glenn Close - Biography

Glenn's most iconic work includes her starring role in the 1987 film,  Fatal Attraction.

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Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
Updated: November 20, 2023
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Glenn Close is one of Hollywood's most enduring actresses, with a career spanning over four decades. She has garnered numerous accolades for her performances, including three Tony Awards, three Emmy Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards, and has been nominated for an Academy Award eight times. 

Glenn Close's early life 

Born March 19, 1947 in Connecticut, the actress was welcomed into the fold of a prominent family. Her doctor father served as a personal physician to Congo/Zaire President Mobutu, Sese Seko. At the age of seven, both her parents joined the Moral Rearmament, an ultra-conservative political movement that saw the family uproot to a new life in Zaire, Africa. After attending boarding school in Zaire and Switzerland, Glenn and her siblings returned to Greenwich to live with their maternal grandmother. Her love of acting blossomed in parallel with her education. She attended girls' school, Rosemary Hall, where she formed a theatrical troupe dubbed The Fingernails and excelled in the school's plays. After graduating, she majored in theatre at the The College of William and Mary. 

Glenn Close's acting career

In 1974, the budding thespian landed her first professional acting job in Broadway show Love for Love. Six years later, the silver screen beckoned and Glenn found herself portraying Robin Williams's feminist matriarch in The World According to Garp (1982). Her film debut was a resounding success and saw her nominated for Best Supporting Actress. 

Her most iconic work can be found in other early roles, such as her turn as scheming aristocrat The Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons, and her unforgettably psychotic character from Fatal Attraction. 

Over the years critical acclaim never strayed far from Glenn, who found success as the ruthless and brilliant lawyer Patty Hewes in hit TV series Damages, as well as for her performance in the 2018 drama The Wife.

Some of her other credits include the 1980s films, The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, and The Natural. As for her later roles, she appeared in Apple TV+'s 2021 drama Swan Song, the 2020 film Four Good Days, 

She also portrayed Cruella de Vil in the 1996 film, 101 Dalmatians, and its sequel, 102 Dalmatians 

Glenn Close's personal life

Glenn has been married three times. At the age of 22 in 1969, she wed guitarist and songwriter Cabot Wade. Their marriage lasted for two years. 

The actress was married to grocery heir James Marlas from 1984 to 1987, and later began a relationship with producer John Starke, whom she had met on the set of The World According to Garp. The couple welcomed a daughter, Annie Starke, who was born in 1988.

Glenn and Starke separated in 1991, and a few years later in 1995, the actress became engaged to carpenter Steve Beers, who had worked on Sunset Boulevard. The two never married and went their separate ways in 1999.

In February 2006, Glenn married executive and venture capitalist David Evans Shaw in Maine. Their union lasted for almost ten years before their divorce in August 2015.

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