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Brittany Snow

Mark Duplass

Amy Poehler

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

James Roday

David Duchovny

Ed Begley

George Eads

Ellen Pompeo

Abigail Breslin

Alan Arkin

Glenne Headly Biography

Home > Actresses > H > Headly, Glenne > Biography

Birth Name: Glenne Headly
Born: 03/13/1955
Birth Place: New London, Connecticut, USA

Born Glenne Aimee Headly in New London, CT on March 13, 1955, she spent her first years shuttling between her mother's home in San Francisco and her maternal grandmother in Pennsylvania. Headly eventually settled with her mother in Greenwich Village during her elementary school years, which were filled with introductions to the arts and classes for gifted students. Acting took prominence among her many interests, and she soon graduated with honors from the High School of Performing Arts. Rather than immediately devote herself to a four-year drama program in college, Headly traveled to Switzerland to study at an American College to study literature and art history while gaining valuable life experience. After graduation, she relocated to New York City to study drama at the Herbert Berghof Studios, but a chance trip to Chicago introduced her to the city's thriving theater scene. Headly joined the New Works Ensemble at the St. Nicholas Theatre before joining the famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company for a production of Sam Shepard's "Curse of the Starving Class." Her co-star was actor John Malkovich, whom she would marry in 1982. While in Chicago, she would earn four Joseph Jefferson Awards for performances between 1980 and 1985 while earning her Actors Equity Card. In 1981, she landed her first screen role in Arthur Penn's low-key character drama "Four Friends."

In 1985, she returned with Malkovich to New York, where she appeared in several well-regarded productions, including revivals of "The Philanthropist," which earned her a Theatre World Award, and "Balm in Gilead" with Steppenwolf. Her film and television career soon expanded from bit roles in Woody Allen's "The Purple Rose of Cairo" (1985) to sympathetic character turns in "Seize the Day" (PBS, 1987) opposite Robin Williams and Susan Seidelman's "Making Mr. Right" (1987) with Malkovich. A steady stream of supporting roles preceded her breakout part in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (1989), a wry remake of "Bedtime Story" (1964), with Steve Martin and Michael Caine as international con men who meet their match in Hedley's seemingly naïve heiress. That same year, she earned an Emmy nomination as Elmira Johnson, the cold-hearted wife of Chris Cooper's ill-fated sheriff, in the miniseries "Lonesome Dove" (CBS, 1989).

Her knack for both sly comedy and convincing drama attracted the attention of director Warren Beatty, who cast her as Tess Trueheart, long-suffering girlfriend to comic strip hero Dick Tracy, in his big-budget 1990 film adaptation. The heights of the film's success were somewhat dampened by her divorce from Malkovich that same year, though she quickly rebounded with a co-starring turn opposite Demi Moore in Alan Rudolph's thriller "Mortal Thoughts," as an abused wife who allegedly conspired to dispatch her abusive husband (Bruce Willis) with the help of a friend (Willis' then-spouse, Demi Moore). After playing real-life physician and scientist Mary Guinan, who was an integral part of early research into AIDS, in the HBO drama "And the Band Played On" (1993), Headly met her second husband, electrical grip and editor Byron McCulloch, on the set of the Canadian drama "Ordinary Magic."

Headly would enjoy a long spate of appearances in features like "Mr. Holland's Opus" (1995), as Richard Dreyfuss' faithful wife, and Anjelica Huston's "Bastard Out of Carolina" (Showtime, 1996), which earned her a second Emmy nomination as the kindly aunt of an abused child. During this period, she also appeared in the third season of "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) as pediatrician Dr. Abby Keaton. In 1997, she gave birth to a son, who became the focus of Headly's life; projects were chosen based on whether they were filmed near the family's home, or if they took place during summer vacations or school breaks. Though her appearances were fewer, they remained substantive. She was a thinly veiled version of actress and saloon owner Texas Guinan, who funneled Broadway gossip to columnist Walter Winchell (Stanley Tucci), in the HBO biopic "Winchell" (1998), then returned to the stage after a 10-year absence to co-star with Miranda Richardson in a London production of "Aunt Dan and Lemon" in 1999. Because she was a fan of the TV series, she also made an uncredited cameo as a bartender who cuts off Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) in the successful film adaptation of "The X-Files: Fight the Future" (1998).

On television, she played Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews' daughter in a live adaptation of "On Golden Pond." There were also brief stints as a series regular on "Encore! Encore" (NBC, 1998) as the sister of vain opera star Nathan Lane, and a recurring turn as Tony Shalhoub's environmentally conscious ex-wife on "Monk" (USA, 2002-09). In 2003, she starred with David Hyde Pierce in a Los Angeles production of "The Guys," then traveled that same year to Ireland to appear in the one-woman play, "My Brilliant Divorce." Headly soon balanced regular work as maternal figures in Hollywood product like "Confessions of a Teenaged Drama Queen" (2004) and "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" (2008) with edgier work in independent features like "The Amateurs" (2005), Mira Nair's "The Namesake" (2007) and "The Joneses" (2010), which reunited her with her "Mortal Thoughts" co-star, Demi Moore.