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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - With a career spanning more than three decades, Glenn Close is one of the most respected and versatile actors of her generation, creating a myriad of unforgettable roles on stage and screen.
Now she's back on television, playing high-profile litigator, Patty Hewes, on "Damages'" which begins its third season January 25. on U.S. cable TV network FX.
Close, who has earned two consecutive Emmy awards and a Golden Globe for the role, depicts a complex woman -- in control, yet always with a hint of vulnerability.
She spoke to Reuters about the show, her passion for animals and her latest role as America's most visible advocate for people suffering from mental illness.
Q: You recently said the writers of "Damages" have "outdone themselves." What can fans expect in season No. 3?
A: "I think one of the reasons people are insanely tied to this show is because of the outstanding writing. This season they've created an intriguing story line based on a kind of Madoff-like Ponzi financial scheme where Patty plays a court appointed lawyer trying to recover any hidden money. We also have this amazing group of actors -- Lily Tomlin, Martin Short, Len Cariou, Campbell Scott. It's just fun and its quite dark."
Q: Is Patty modeled after anyone we may know?
A: "The woman I have gone on record crediting is Patricia Hines. Whenever she steps into a courtroom she knows without a doubt she's done more homework than every other person in the room. She prepares for trials by personally reading more than 10,000 documents and then presents her closing arguments extemporaneously. I love that kind of sheer intellectual capacity and voracious curiosity."
Q: Many actresses lament the scarcity of good, older woman roles. You seem to be in full stride. What's your secret?
A: "I'm not sure. I guess it's all about timing and what I'm attracted to. It's rare for a woman my age -- for a woman, period -- to have an opportunity to play a character who's a strong woman and in control."
Q: You're an award-winning movie, TV and Broadway actress who's done it all. Do you have preference for any medium?
A: "I'd have to say stage, which I haven't done in a long time because I'm married, and when you do theater you don't see your spouse for six nights a week. It's rough. I really want to do theater again, but doing 'Damages' makes it a little difficult since you have a limited run and basically no break whatsoever. But hopefully it will happen again soon."
Q: You host a blog about dogs where you feature pets and their owners. What can humans learn from four-legged friends?
A: "I grew up surrounded by animals and I've had dogs my whole life. So I know first hand how comforting the presence of a dog in someone's life can be.
"The program I've supported is called "Puppies Behind Bars" where inmates train service dogs for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. There are so many soldiers coming back with physical and mental disabilities, and what dogs do for these soldiers is incredible. It brings them back into their lives." (www.puppiesbehindbars.com and www.fetchdog.com)
Q: And recently you've been giving voice to a public campaign to break the stigma of mental illness. Why?
A: "It's something that's touched every member of my family. My sister is bipolar. My nephew suffers from schizo-affective disorder. What's really exciting is we're starting a grassroots campaign for an issue that touches millions of people. Since October, we have over 6,000 followers on Facebook.
"As an actor, I'm especially aware of the power of words and how frightening some words can be. I hope in saying words like bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, they lose their frightening power and just become part of our human condition, no different from any of other disease." (www.bringchange2mind.org)
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Patricia Reaney