Glenn Close Reveals Mike Nichols' Final, "Touching" Words to Her

Glenn Close Real Thing - H 2014

The actress, who first met the director when she read for 1983's 'The Real Thing,' remembers the legend in The Hollywood Reporter's tribute

This story first appeared in the Dec. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Glenn Close starred in Mike Nichols' production of The Real Thing in 1984.

I first met Mike Nichols when I went to read with Jeremy Irons for The Real Thing in 1983.

We sat at a table, and we read, and right at the end of the reading, he said, "Well, I think you should do this part." So that was fantastic. And then I proceeded to have one of the great experiences of my career. He gave Jeremy and me a wonderful direction: "If you ever get lost, just drown in each other's eyes …"

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There was also a day in rehearsals when we were having trouble with the second act, and he came in to say, "I know what's wrong — the furniture's in the wrong place." And he was right. He reconfigured the furniture, and everything fell into place.

I remember the day he told me, "Just bring your day along with you." I thought, "Oh, that's interesting." So in the play, when [my character] entered with a bag of groceries, my preparation became imagining her parking the car, locking it, walking up the stairs. That's one of the fascinating aspects of theater — the variables are different every day: We've all had different days, and if you can just incorporate that and live in the moment, you are off and running for the next two and a half hours.

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We had lunch two weeks ago, a gathering of the women from the original Real ThingChristine Baranski and Cynthia Nixon, and Whoopi Goldberg came, too — and he was talking about how luck has a lot to do with one's life. For someone like Mike to say that! For somebody so incredibly sophisticated and brilliant. The last thing he wrote to me — two days after we had lunch — was so touching: He wrote, "Love is the key."

Read more from THR's tribute to Mike Nichols:

Aaron Sorkin on Mike Nichols: "The Most Talented Person I Have Ever Known"

'Birdcage' Actor Dan Futterman Recalls Mike Nichols Breaking Into Fits of Giggles on Set

Morgan Freeman Reveals the Phrase That "Exemplifies" Mike Nichols

Emma Thompson, Rita Moreno on Working With the Director

Tom Stoppard on Mike Nichols: "The Pleasantest Person to Be With"

How Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky Became Mike Nichols: A Timeline

Critic's Notebook: Todd McCarthy Reflects on the Film Career of Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols: A Giant of the American Theater