Two years and one baby later, she’s back onscreen in the hit series’ Homeland’s final season.
Carrie Mathison is back at long last—and thank goodness, because we rabid fans were beginning to lose hope we’d ever see her again. Claire Danes’ complicated, fascinating character returns this month for the eighth and final season—12 episodes worth—of the Golden Globe-winning Homeland (it was meant to return last June, but the complications of filming in various international locations caused delays). She’s endured more traumatic situations than any of us could imagine, and this season is no different: It finds Carrie recovering from months of confinement in a Russian gulag, her body and mind taxed, much to the chagrin of her mentor, Saul (Mandy Patinkin), who is relying on her to rejoin him—yet again—and help him to solve the world’s problems
one more time.
Danes has been in show business since she was a teenager, making her name 25 years ago in the teen angst-themed drama My So-Called Life, which began on ABC, was cancelled after a year and then subsequently ran on MTV. Danes made a lasting impression with her portrayal of high school sophomore Angela Chase (the impressive cast included Bess Armstrong as her mother, Wilson Cruz as her gay best friend struggling with his sexuality and Jared Leto as her crush, Jordan Catalano), garnering an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and taking home a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series. They were the first of numerous awards she would go on to win—today, at age 40, she has won a total of three Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes and two Screen Actors Guild Awards; in 2012, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
But much has happened on and off the screen in the quarter of a century that Danes has been in the limelight—most of which, unless you’re an avid follower of hers, you probably don’t know.
15 Things About Claire Danes
1. As a child, she studied dance; at age 10, she took acting classes at HB Studio, the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.
2. In 1997, she wrote an introduction to Neil Gaiman’s Death: The Time of
3. In 1998, she attended Yale University to study psychology. She took classes for two years but didn’t complete her degree—but her letter of recommendation was written by none other than director Oliver Stone.
4. She began her acting career in a
guest spot on Law & Order’s third season premiere.
5. She appeared in Soul Asylum’s music video “Just Like Anyone” in 1995, playing a teen who is actually an angel trying to fit in at her high school prom.
6. Danes turned down the role of Rose—famously played by Kate Winslet, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio—in Titanic, just after completing the film Romeo + Juliet with him.
7. After seeing her performance in Romeo + Juliet, director Baz Luhrmann dubbed the then 16-year-old Danes “the Meryl Streep of her generation.”
8. She was banned from the Philippines after expressing her disgust with the living conditions in that country following her experience filming Brokedown Palace there in 1998, forcing her to make a public apology in order to be allowed back.
9. Danes made her Broadway debut in 2007 playing Eliza Doolittle in the revival of Pygmalion—a performance for which she received mediocre reviews from critics.
10. Steven Spielberg cast Danes in Schindler’s List after seeing her work in My So-Called Life, but she was unable to take the role because there was no tutoring available to her in Poland.
11. She was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.
12. Danes has been in therapy since age 6 and has said she considers it “a helpful tool and a luxury to self-reflect and get some insight.”
13. She met her husband, the British actor Hugh Dancy, on the set of Evening; they married in 2009 in a secret ceremony and have two children, Cyrus, born in 2012, and Rowan, born in 2018.
14. On motherhood, Danes has said, “Having a child was the best thing that ever happened to us. But it is constant company with terrible conversation.”
15. And perhaps her wisest piece of advice is the following: “If you do something that you’re not genuinely passionate about, it is a little soul-crushing. Just not worth it.”