Glenn Close continues to play strong women brilliantly, as the first season of Damages is wrapping up on the FX Network


Say it isn’t so! One of the best drama series is coming to a close. Damages on the FX network, starring Glenn Close, Rose Byrne Tate Donovan and Ted Danson will be wrapping up its first season in just a few weeks.

A cable-ratings powerhouse, Damages is a legal thriller set in the world of high-stakes litigation in New York City. It provides a view to the true nature of power by following attorney Patty Hewes, one of the strongest female characters ever created for a TV series.

If you think Glenn Close has played hard-hearted females and villains in the past, with her roles Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, and, of course, as Cruella DeVil in 101 Dalmatians— well, Patty kicks it up a notch. She is a lawyer who is revered and reviled because she is out to win, no matter what the cost. And she’s very good at her job.

Close is also good at her job. One of the finest actors in the business, among the top five, at least, if not higher. She is an award winner who can pick and choose her own roles, and admits she has the luxury of deciding whether she wants to act in feature films, in television, or on the stage. She has even won a Tony for starring in the musical Sunset Boulevard on Broadway. An actor’s dream.

Her many outstanding movie roles have netted her five Oscar nominations– for her memorable characters in Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, The Natural, The Big Chill and The World According to Garp. Yet she moves with ease back and forth from the silver screen to the small screen, doing outstanding TV productions such as Sarah, Plain and Tall and Serving in Silence (for which she won an Emmy). She even had a run at the acclaimed FX series The Shield playing a tough police captain who ran roughshod over Michael Chiklis for a season.

Asked to discuss the type of roles offered to her in feature films and television, she was very frank.


“I have always been seduced by really good writing,” she states. “Very early in my career I made the decision to go where the writing was. At the time I was told, if I did anything on television it might really affect my career in films. It just didn’t make sense to me. I kept thinking, ‘If the English can do it, why can’t we do it?’ So basically that’s how I have made my choices– what I read on the pages. So if I get a wonderful script [for film or TV], that’s what I would do. To have the chance to do a show [Damages] with this incredibly complex character, was pretty exciting.”

Happy with her treatment by the FX network people while she was shooting The Shield, Close says she told them, “If they ever came up with a great idea of doing something in New York, in my own backyard, I’d love it. I love the FX philosophy of storytelling, and I loved that they explore the gray areas of life, and they take big risks.”

To play such a strong female characters on television, “became kind of a no-brainer for me,” says Close, who believes cable shows are “more willing to explore more complex female characters. So to find these real authentic, complex, strong female parts, I think that kind of writing is being done for television now. I personally feel that some of the great writing out there today is on television.”

Playing opposite Close in Damages, Rose Byrne describes her co-star as “always very sweet, an angel and lovely. But definitely dynamic.”

Byrne reports, “Glenn is a natural presence and commands respect, obviously, for her body of work. Being a young actress, I’ve grown up admiring her. Seeing how she works, and how she communicates with the directors, and where she takes a scene. You know, it’s very educational for me, and fun. We have fun.”

Well, I guess even a tough cookie can be fun.

Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.