Glenn Close’s childhood in a cult

From JAM! Movies:

Close says she was in a ‘cult’

Glenn Close was well-equipped for a career in acting because her teenage involvement in a “cult” gave her the chance to practice pretending to be someone she was not.

The Fatal Attraction star joined the extremely conservative change-the-world movement Moral Re-Armament with her family when she was just seven years old.

She tells New York Magazine, “It was a cult, where everyone was told to think alike, and that’s devastating.”

Close toured the world as part of the group’s musical collective Up With People until she went to college, but the veteran is grateful for her time spent with the sect because it helped her hone her acting skills.

She continues, “I decided that I would not trust even my instincts. Because I didn’t know what they were. Everything had been dictated.

“It also gives you a huge sense of looking from the outside in, and I think that in many ways that has been very good as an actor, because you are somebody who is asked to go into a character… I always felt that I was held together with Scotch tape and paper clips, and, as an actor, that’s good.”

Natacha’s French hippy parents Marcel and Genevieve were recruited into The Children of God during the 1970s as teenagers in Paris. Renamed Moonlight and Star, they survived by busking and begging, but the cult only allowed them to keep 10 per cent of what they earned. Three sons Matt, Marc and Joe came before Natacha was born in 1983, the year they were sent to a commune in Thailand: here.

1 thought on “Glenn Close’s childhood in a cult

  1. Smile ‘Til It Hurts: The Up with People Story

    The documentary film Smile ‘Til It Hurts: The Up with People Story [1][2] premiered at the 2009 Slamdance Film Festival. It is an unofficial documentary of the organization’s mission based on historical research and the troupe’s own never-before-seen archival footage. The film was directed and produced by Lee Storey who is married to early alumnus William Storey.

    The film documents the troupe’s history from a religious and political perspective from its origins in the late 1950s within Moral Re-Armament and the Sing-Out groups, through its successful years in the 1980s and subsequent decline in 2000 with an annual $31 million budget. The film includes a post-script on the troupe’s tours since Up With People re-opened in 2005, with a focus on community service.

    Smile ‘Til It Hurts includes commentary by P.J. O’Rourke, Peter Yarrow and Mark Crispin Miller, with rare archival footage from Up With People,and archival footage of the troupe with Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, Bob Hope and Glenn Close, among others. The film reveals board membership with funding from corporate entities including Halliburton, General Motors, Exxon, and Searle, and highlights how the troupe carried a pro-Western political ideology with a corporate agenda to counter the hippie subculture and bring a more positive propaganda message of Freedom and Democracy from the troupe’s inception through the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. The film further reveals that the musical group emphasized extreme right wing politics, while participants allege that the troupe rules included aspects of a religious cult, including arranged marriages and control over sex in marriage. In later years, participants discuss changes in the cultish aspects of the organization and how it softened to happy groupthink persona.[3]

    Reviews have noted that while the film is a critique of the organization, the film has also shown respect for those who were involved and demonstrated their good intentions.


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