TailSlate remembers Glenne Headley

Glenne Headley

Glenne Headley, who worked on stage, television and movies during her all too brief career has died at the age of 63.  According to the New York Times, the cause of her death was complications from a pulmonary embolism.

Born in New London, CT she attended the American College in Switzerland and then began working in theater in Chicago.  She  met he future husband, John Malkovich while they were appearing together in a production of “The Starving Class.”

In 1981 she appeared in Arthur Penn’s Four Friends in a minor role and followed that up with another small part in Doctor Detroit in 1983.  She went on to her “breakthrough” role in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” starring opposite Michael Caine and Steve Martin.  It is that role, along with her portrayal of “Tess Trueheart” in 1990’s Dick Tracy and for playing “Elmira Boot Johnson” in the mini-series Lonesome Dove that she will be best remembered for.

At TailSlate we thought she was a very talented person, not just as an actress.  She learned American Sign Language for her role in 1995’s Mr. Holland’s Opus as “Iris Holland,” the wife of the title character played by Richard Dreyfuss.  She was a member of Mensa and spoke fluent French.  But what we admire the most is that after the birth of her son in 1997, she chose to focus on her family rather than her acting career.

We loved her work in the previously mentioned Mr. Holland’s Opus.  She more than held her own in her scenes with Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss.  We also very much enjoyed her work in the television series “ER.”  She did a multi-episode arc as “Dr. Abby Keaton” a pediatric surgeon who had an affair with one of her students, “Dr. John Carter” (Noah Wyle).  In 2006 she did a very memorable one-off on “Grey’s Anatomy” as a patient who was also a healer.

More recently she appeared in The Circle playing the mother of the Emma Watson character, and in Don Jon where she was also playing the mother of the Joseph Gordon-Levitt character.  It is interesting to note that Don Jon wasn’t her first film where porn was a central theme.  Back in 2006 she was in an uneven but interesting movie titled The Moguls (later known as The Amateurs) about people in a small town trying to find financial success by making a porn film.

At the time of her death, she was working on the Hulu series “Future Man.”  Reports are that her character on the program will not be recast.  She also had wrapped production on a new film, Villa Capri, slated for release this coming November.

Glenne Headley and John Malkovich divorced after he reportedly had an affair with Michelle Pfeiffer while they were making Dangerous Liaisons.  She is survived by her husband Byron McCulloch and their son.


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