Each month I give my verdict on who has shown the world an interesting and distinctive brand. My latest personal brand of the month goes to…
This month served as a nice reminder of what an extraordinary talent Glenn Close is. After all, she did just walk away with a SAG award on Sunday, and a Golden Globe earlier this month (and judging by how visibly surprised she was by both wins, perhaps she herself needed that reminder!). She was also tipped for a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in The Wife.
Huge heaps of talent aside, there are a few facets of her brand that make her truly remarkable in my eyes.
She challenges ageism and stereotypes
I haven’t seen The Wife yet, but I hear it opens with a sex scene. This is the first scene Close and her co-star Jonathan Pryce shot. Bravo I say!
Close, age 71, is challenging the notion that aging comes with an automatic surrendering of one’s sexuality. “It’s one of the great myths that you lose your sexuality as you get older,” Close shared with The Guardian last week. “I feel as free and as creative, as sexual and as eager, as I ever have. And it’s ironic because I’m thinking: ‘How much time do I have left now?’” she continued. “There are so many things I’m interested in doing. It’s one of those ironies, I suppose, that we sometimes start feeling comfortable in our own skin only late in our lives, but hopefully with enough time to benefit from it.”
She continues, “So what comes after this I’m excited to see. Right now, I’m just enjoying feeling …Chuffed. Isn’t that what you all say? I’m feeling very chuffed.”
Close also challenged traditional gender roles during the Golden Globes earlier this month. I loved watching her gobsmacked expression as her name was read out, but what I really loved was her speech, which paid tribute to her late mother (“who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life”) and urged women “to find personal fulfilment”.
“I’ve been floored by the response,” she shared with the Guardian. “People are coming up to me in airports to talk about my speech. It’s almost like I don’t know what I’ll say if I win again. It’ll be hard to top.”
She is an immense talent but an underdog at the same time
Close is strongly associated with her portrayal of disturbed book editor Alex Forrest in the 1987 film Fatal Attraction. While indeed one of her most iconic roles, our favourite “bunny boiler” has also been the recipient of numerous accolades, including three Tony Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, two SAG Awards, and three Primetime Emmy Awards.
However what I find extraordinary is the fact that she’s been nominated six previous times for an Academy Award but has yet to win her first Oscar. She received previous nods for her performances in “Albert Nobbs,” “Dangerous Liaisons,” “Fatal Attraction,” “The Natural,” “The Big Chill” and “The World According to Garp.” As Close’s film debut was relatively late, at age 35, following an acclaimed stage career, she has essentially been an academy award nominee since the beginning of her film career. She now holds the record for being the actress with the most nominations without winning. The Wife will be her fourth nomination for Best Actress.
But if she wins an Oscar, she’ll become the 25th performer to pull off what’s known as the Triple Crown of acting awards. She already has three Emmys and three Tonys, and an Oscar would put her in a tie for first place with Maggie Smith for the most number of these awards.
She steps it up and gives back
Another thing I truly admire about Close is her philanthropic endeavors. In fact, I was “chuffed” (couldn’t resist!) to discover that she shares a lot of my values and causes. To name a few, she has been an active supporter for animal charities and causes such as gay marriage, women’s rights, and mental health.
As a psychologist, I have to commend her involvement in mental health anti-stigma initiatives. Close co-founded Bring Change 2 Mind in 2010 after her sister, Jessie Close, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and her nephew, Calen Pick, with schizoaffective disorder. The national campaign aims to combat the stigma around mental illness, to provide access to information, and to provide support to those with mental illness. In 2013 Close also paid a visit to the White House to urge passage of the Excellence in Mental-Health Act, to help strengthen the mental health-care system in the US, which was signed into law by President Obama the following year.
She’s also a fellow dog lover! She has been involved with a number of causes for our four-legged friends and is also an advocate of dog adoption. She volunteered and produced a documentary for Puppies Behind Bars, an organization that trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and first responders.
With the Baftas and Academy Awards around the corner, next month could be a big one.
“It really does feel different,” she told Today about her seventh Oscar nod. “I’m thrilled to be in this time in my life and this time in my career, to be invited into this incredibly special room. It feels amazing.”
Well, I think she’s amazing. And seven is a lucky number.