RIP Glenne Headly

By Josh Simpkins
Special to the Sun

Growing up in the 1980s as I did, I had my share on onscreen crushes. Alongside my friends, I lusted after Carrie Fisher, Heather Locklear, and Brooke Shields, to name a few. However, I had one crush that wasn’t quite understood by my contemporaries: the beautiful, charming and talented Glenne Headly. Well, this morning my 10-year-old self is in tears as I sadly announce that enigmatic Emmy-nominated actress and originating member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Glenne Headly, passed away on June 8, 2017. She was 63 years old.

Headly’s career began on the stage, as she was an original member of Chicago’s renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company. She went on to marry fellow ensemble member and future mega-star John Malkovich in 1982, though the pair divorced in 1988. Headly made her feature film debut in the 1981 dramatic comedy Four Friends, which launched a very successful film career. From there, she went on to appear in such films as Doctor Detroit (1983), Fandango (1985), and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)—one of my favorite films featuring the actress. This success led to her being cast in the blockbuster comic strip film adaptation of Dick Tracy alongside stars Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, and Madonna.

Though Headly’s body of film work—including Mortal Thoughts (1991) opposite Demi Moore, Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995) opposite Richard Dreyfuss, and What’s the Worst That Could Happen? (2001) opposite Danny DeVito—is vast, spanning decades, she also had much success on the small screen as well. On television, she had a recurring role on ER from 1996-97, she played Karen Stottlemeyer on Monk from 2003-2006, and was in the short-lived sit-com Encore! Encore! (1998) with Nathan Lane and Joan Plowright.

Headly received her first Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1989 for her work as Elmira Boot Johnson in the critically acclaimed miniseries Lonesome Dove. In 2001, she was in the live theatrical presentation of “On Golden Pond” as the troubled daughter of Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews. She also appeared in the telefilms Women vs. Men (2002), My Own Country (1998) and Pronto (1997), among others. Headly received her second Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1996 for her portrayal of Aunt Ruth in Bastard Out of Carolina, directed by Anjelica Huston.

Over the past fourteen years, Headly slowed down her career, proclaiming that family is the most important thing in life to her. As such, she set aside most of her time to be a responsible parent and active mother to her son, Stirling. The roles that she chose to portray over this time were chosen, for the most part, when they occurred close to home or on a lengthy school break. Her latest film—though not her last, as her IMdB page says she has a film in post-production slated for release in late 2017—The Circle, was released back in April of this year. Starring alongside Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, The Circle is a gripping Dramatic Thriller about a woman who lands her dream job at a powerful tech company, only to uncover an agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity.

Headly was currently in production on the Hulu series Future Man, with Josh Hutcherson and Ed Begley Jr. At the time this article was written, cause of death was still to be determined. Rest in Paradise, Glenne Headly, the scarlet haired goddess of my adolescence.