In 1995 Glenn Close won the Tony Award for her portrayal of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard with critics lauding her work as one of the best performances of the 20th century. Now, back on Broadway in the same role, Close is not eligible for a nomination (though critics now say it’s one of the best performances of the 21st century). On the March 22 episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Close explains she’s not bothered by it.
“Well, does one always do something to win an award?” she replied. “Yes!” cried Colbert. “No,” she demured. “You could look at it that it takes the pressure off. I just hope that every one of my cast members gets nominated.”
Close relishes stepping into Sunset at Broadway’s Palace Theatre each night. “Norma Desmond is one of the greatest roles that has ever been written for a female and certainly for a female who is 50 and older than 50,” she said. “It demands everything of you.”
From the emotional connection between actor and audience to her theory on acting (“acting is a lot about physics and neuroscience; you can have a thought onstage and it can resonate with somebody in the back row), her conversation with Colbert steered away from his usual banter and jokes into one of the more intimate interviews with Close we’ve seen.
She even revealed the moment she knew she wanted to act—inspired by Katharine Hepburn who she met many years later at her Kennedy Center Honors ceremony. Hepburn penned Close a letter after that saying: “I’m glad I persuaded you when you were a mere child to join this terrible profession—this terrifying profession and, let’s face it—this delicious way to spend your life.”