Glenn Close: Still having quite a run

These days actress Glenn Close is drawing kudos for a seemingly unlikely role. Anthony Mason has our Sunday Profile:

Take a stroll with actress Glenn Close around her New York neighborhood, and you'll be accompanied by the two terriers she calls her "boys" - "Jakey, 12, and Billy, 10.

"I always imagine what it's like to be a dog sniffing in New York!" she laughed.

She was taking Jake and Bill for a final walk before jetting off to the Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles, where the 64-year-old Close was nominated for Best Actress for her performance in the film "Albert Nobbs."

She did not win, but the betting is she may get another shot at a Best Actress award, as a potential Oscar nominee:

"It would be wonderful. I'm not going to lie, especially for this, you know?" she said.

Close had worked 15 years to bring "Albert Nobbs" to the screen. She not only stars in the film, she co-wrote and co-produced it.

She said she loved producing: "I consider myself a creative producer. I'm not a bean counter. I can't do a budget. But I love developing scripts, and I love putting the team together.

"People say, 'Weren't you really stressed by being, you know, three different things?' And I never really was."

Glenn Close and Mia Wasikowska in "Albert Nobbs."
Roadside Attractions

The painfully shy Nobbs is a butler in a 19th century Dublin hotel . . . a servant with a secret, a woman who transformed herself into a man.

"It's interesting, 'cause a lot of people refer to Albert as a he," Close said. "But I never - to me she's always a woman."

"How would you describe Albert?" Mason asked.

"She stopped being feminine when she was 14. She disappeared into this disguise in order to survive."

Sexually abused as a child and abandoned by her family, Nobbs finds exile in her work:

"So not only for her survival did she disappear into this brilliant profession, in which you were supposed to be invisible anyway - servants were not supposed to look people in the eye," Close said.

She said she practiced a different kind of walk by studying Charlie Chaplin: "It's kind of picking up your feet a little bit more."

It was part of a remarkable transformation: "There came a time when I looked up and it wasn't me anymore," Close said. "And it was subtle. It wasn't gobs of prosthetics. It was actually only the tip of my nose, making my ears bigger, making them stick out a little bit more."

Close had first played Nobbs in 1982 in an off-Broadway play in New York. She won the part after she thought she'd flunked the audition:

"I was never good at auditioning," she laughed. "And it's tricky to go in and for five minutes play this woman who has been invisible as a man. And I stopped the audition and said, 'I'm boring myself so I must be boring you, so I'm going to go home."

Then, her agent called: "They told him it was the most interesting thing that had happened during the day. So they wanted me to come back."

A drama major at Virginia's College of William and Mary, the actress spent nearly a decade in the theater before landing her first film role at age 35, after director George Roy Hill spotted her in the Broadway musical "Barnum."

"I went on to give a very bad audition, trying to sound like Katharine Hepburn," Close laughed. But, she did get the part, of feminist nurse Jenny Fields in "The World According to Garp" (1982). The film, based on John Irving's novel, also won Close her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

"Well, I still remember when I heard that I had been nominated for 'Garp.' I was in the cellar of the house where we were shooting my second film, 'The Big Chill.' It was so far out of my realm of even thought," she said.

"And then you had quite a run," Mason said.

"I did for a while, didn't I?" she laughed. "All those years ago!"