Glenne Headly

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Glenne Headly
Glenne Headly at the Geffen Playhouse, 2016 (cropped).jpg
Headly in 2016
Glenne Aimee Headly

(1955-03-13)March 13, 1955
DiedJune 8, 2017(2017-06-08) (aged 62)
Years active1972–2017
  • (m. 1982; div. 1988)
  • Byron McCulloch
    (m. 1993)

Glenne Aimee Headly (March 13, 1955 – June 8, 2017) was an American actress. She was widely known for her roles in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Dick Tracy, and Mr. Holland's Opus. Headly received a Theatre World Award and four Joseph Jefferson Awards and was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards.[1]

In 2017, she starred in The Circle and Just Getting Started, the latter marking her final film role, released six months after her death. She also starred with Ed Begley Jr. and Josh Hutcherson in Future Man, Hulu's half-hour comedy television series produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg; she died on June 8, 2017, mid-way through filming the series.

Early life and education[edit]

Headly was born on March 13, 1955, in New London, Connecticut.[2] Her first years were spent living in the care of her mother, Joan Ida Headly (née Sniscak),[3] in San Francisco, and her maternal grandmother in Lansford, Pennsylvania.

Early in her elementary school years, she joined her mother, who was then living in Greenwich Village. She studied ballet at the Robert Joffrey school of ballet and modern dance at the Martha Graham Studios. In New York, she attended public schools, including P. S. 41, where she was placed in a class for intellectually gifted children. There, a fifth-grade teacher introduced her to the work of Jacques Cousteau in an oceanography class, triggering a lifelong interest in preserving the natural world. She later went on to the High School of Performing Arts, majoring in drama and graduating with honors.[4]

Rather than continuing to study the dramatic arts, she attended the American College of Switzerland, a small college in Leysin from which she graduated with a bachelor's degree.[5] Soon after, she moved to New York, taking day jobs as a waitress so she could work nights in the theater for little or no salary.[6] Later, she moved to Chicago,[6] where she joined the New Works Ensemble at the St. Nicholas Theatre. She was eventually cast in a Goodman Theatre production of Curse of the Starving Class, directed by Robert Falls and co-starring John Malkovich.[7]

Film and television career[edit]

While appearing on the Chicago stage in Curse of the Starving Class, Headly was asked to join the Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble, which was looking to expand.[5] She also appeared in several other productions. In Chicago, she was nominated for five Joseph Jefferson awards, and won three for best supporting actress. She received her Actors' Equity card when cast by Vivian Matalon in a summer theatre production of Charley's Aunt, and joined SAG when Arthur Penn wrote a breakout role for her in the film Four Friends.[8]

On August 2, 1982, Headly married fellow ensemble member John Malkovich.[4] Soon after, she replaced Ellen Barkin in Extremities off-Broadway. She then was cast in The Philanthropist, also off-Broadway, and won a Theatre World Award for best newcomer.[4] In New York, she appeared in Balm in Gilead with her fellow Steppenwolf Theatre members,[9] and in Arms and the Man, on Broadway, with Kevin Kline and Raul Julia.[10]

1988–1995: Early work[edit]

Headly played several supporting roles in such films as Making Mr. Right, Paperhouse, Seize the Day and Nadine, but her role in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), with Steve Martin and Michael Caine, truly launched her film career. In 1988, Headly was named Most Promising New Actress by the Chicago Film Critics Association.[11] That same year, Headly divorced Malkovich after he had an affair with Michelle Pfeiffer during the filming of Dangerous Liaisons.[12][13][14]

In 1989, Headly played the role of Elmira Boot Johnson in the critically acclaimed TV miniseries Lonesome Dove, a part for which she received her first of two Emmy Awards nominations for best supporting actress in a television movie.[15]

Headly then was cast by Warren Beatty to appear as Tess Trueheart in Dick Tracy. She next starred with Demi Moore and Bruce Willis in Mortal Thoughts, directed by Alan Rudolph. In 1992, she worked on a small Canadian film called Ordinary Magic, and on the first day of filming, met her future husband Byron McCulloch, whom she married in 1993.[16] She also co-starred with Ted Danson and Macaulay Culkin in the 1994 comedy Getting Even with Dad.[17]


Headly appeared in Mr. Holland's Opus, Sgt. Bilko, What's the Worst That Could Happen?, Breakfast of Champions, Around the Bend, 2 Days in the Valley, and others.[18]

Headly appeared in the television movies Winchell, And the Band Played On, Pronto, My Own Country, and Women vs. Men.[18] Headly received her second of two Emmy Awards nominations for best supporting actress in a television movie for Bastard Out of Carolina (1996).[15] She appeared as Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer's daughter in the 2001 live telecast of the play On Golden Pond for CBS.[19] She was cast in the series Encore! Encore!, starring Nathan Lane and Joan Plowright, from 1998 to 1999,[20] and had recurring roles as Dr. Abby Keaton on ER from 1996 to 1997[21] and as Leland Stottlemeyer's wife, Karen, on Monk.[22]


In 2004, she played the mother of Lindsay Lohan's character in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.[23] She appeared in the films The Amateurs (2005), The Namesake (2006), Comeback Season (2006), Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008), The Joneses (2009),[24] and Don Jon (2013).[25] Headly appeared in the film Strange Weather (2016)[26] and in the HBO limited series The Night Of (2016).[27] In 2017, she played Marguerite opposite Morgan Freeman in Just Getting Started.

Future Man[edit]

Headly and Ed Begley Jr. were cast in lead roles with Josh Hutcherson in Future Man, Hulu's half-hour comedy television series produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Headly died on June 8, 2017, during filming of the series. At the time of her death, she had filmed five episodes of the planned 13-episode season order. Producers stated that she would not be recast and that the episodes she filmed will air, leaving the writers to rework the episodes in which she was due to appear.[28][29]


Headly was an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company from 1979 until 2005,[30] although she never returned to Chicago to do a play after the late 1980s, believing that such a move would uproot and be disruptive to her family. She took a break from the stage altogether for 10 years until 1999, when she starred with Miranda Richardson in Wallace Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon, which premiered at the Almeida Theatre in London.[31][32][33]

In 1983, Headly appeared in Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist at the Manhattan Theater Club in New York.[34] In 1984, Headly appeared in Lanford Wilson's Balm in Gilead presented by the Circle Repertory Company and the Steppenwolf Theater Ensemble.[35] In 1985, Headly starred as Raina in George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man, directed by John Malkovich, in New York.[36] In 2000, Headly starred as Ellen in Detachments at the Tiffany Theater in Los Angeles, written and directed by Colleen Dodson-Baker.[37]

In 2001, Headly starred as Angela Kennedy Lipsky in the premiere of My Brilliant Divorce at the Druid Theatre in Galway, Ireland.[38] In 2003, Headly starred with David Hyde Pierce in The Guys as part of a revolving cast at the Actors' Gang in Los Angeles. She also appeared in Malkovich's production of Shaw's Arms and the Man, with Kevin Kline at New York City's Circle in the Square Uptown.[39] In 2012, Headly played Eva White in the Geffen Playhouse's production of The Jacksonian, written by Beth Henley.[40] In 2016, once again at the Geffen Playhouse, Headly starred in Sarah Ruhl's Stage Kiss.[41]


Headly died of complications from a pulmonary embolism on June 8, 2017, at the age of 62, in Santa Monica, California.[42][43]



Year Title Role Notes Refs
1981 Four Friends Lola [44]
1983 Doctor Detroit Miss Debbylike [44]
1985 Fandango Trelis [44]
1985 The Purple Rose of Cairo Hooker (Billed as Glenne Headley) [44]
1985 Eleni Joan Gage [44]
1986 Seize the Day Olive [44]
1987 Making Mr. Right Trish [44]
1987 Nadine Renée Lomax [44]
1988 Stars and Bars Cora Gage [44]
1988 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Janet Colgate Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress [44][11]
1989 Paperhouse Kate Madden [44]
1990 Dick Tracy Tess Trueheart [44]
1991 Mortal Thoughts Joyce Urbanski [44]
1992 Grand Isle Adele Ratignolle [44]
1993 Ordinary Magic Charlotte [44]
1993 And the Band Played On Mary Guinan [44]
1994 Getting Even with Dad Theresa Walsh [44]
1995 Mr. Holland's Opus Iris Holland [44]
1996 Sgt. Bilko Rita Robbins [44]
1996 2 Days in the Valley Susan Parish [44]
1998 The X-Files Bartender Uncredited [44]
1998 Babe: Pig in the City Zootie Voice [44]
1999 Breakfast of Champions Francine Pefko [44]
2000 Timecode Dava Adair [44]
2001 Bartleby Vivian [44]
2001 What's the Worst That Could Happen? Gloria Sidell [44]
2004 Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen Karen [44]
2004 Eulogy Samantha [44]
2004 Around the Bend Katrina [44]
2005 The Amateurs Helen Tatelbaum [44]
2006 Comeback Season Deborah Pearce [44]
2006 The Namesake Lydia
2006 Raising Flagg Anne Marie Purdy [44]
2009 The Joneses Summer Symonds [44]
2013 Don Jon Angela [44]
2015 Dial a Prayer Mary [44]
2015 Merry Xmas Sarah Short film
2016 Strange Weather Mary Lou Healy
2017 The Circle Bonnie Holland [44]
2017 Just Getting Started Margarite Posthumous release
2018 Making Babies Bird Posthumous release [44]


Year Title Role Notes Refs
1989 Lonesome Dove Elmira Boot Johnson 4 episodes
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1993 Hotel Room Darlene Episode: "Tricks" [44]
1993 And the Band Played On Mary Guinan Television film [44]
1995 Frasier Gretchen Voice; episode: "An Affair to Forget" [44]
1996 Bastard Out of Carolina Aunt Ruth Television film
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1996–1997 ER Abby Keaton Recurring role, 9 episodes [44]
1997 Pronto Joyce Patton Television film [44]
1998 My Own Country Vickie Talley Television film [44]
1998 Winchell Dallas Wayne Television film [44]
1998 Recess Miss Salamone voice; 1 episode [44]
1998–1999 Encore! Encore! Francesca Pinoni Main role, 12 episodes [44]
2000 The Sandy Bottom Orchestra Ingrid Green Television film [44]
2001 The Fugitive Renee Charnquist Episode: "New Orleans Saints"
2001 A Girl Thing Helen McCormack Television film [44]
2001 On Golden Pond Chelsea Thayer Wayne Television film [44]
2002 Rugrats Dr. Cathy Voice; 1 episode [45]
2002 Women vs. Men Brita Television film [44]
2002 Lloyd in Space MIDGE (Military Intelligence Data Gathering Equipment) Episode: "Gimme Some Skin
2003–2006 Monk Karen Stottlemeyer 4 episodes [44]
2004 The Guardian Anne Joplin Episode: "Beautiful Blue Mystic" [46]
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Attorney Simone Bryce Episode: "Intoxicated" [44]
2008 Grey's Anatomy Elizabeth Archer Episode: "Lay Your Hands on Me" [46]
2008 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Viviana Conway Episode: "The Happy Place" [46]
2012 Psych Grace Larsen Episode: "Autopsy Turvy" [47]
2012 Pound Puppies Miss Petunia Voice; episode: "Pound Preemies"
2012 Parks and Recreation Julia Wyatt Episode: "Ben's Parents" [46]
2013 The League Gloria Episode: "The Von Nowzick Wedding" [46]
2016 The Night Of Alison Crowe 3 episodes [46]
2017 Future Man Diane Futturman 5 episodes; Posthumous release


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  45. ^ "Dr. Cathy".
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External links[edit]