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Glenn Close Helps Traumatized Soldier on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

11/03/2011 at 05:30 PM EDT

Glenn Close, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Guest
Glenn Close
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
She's played a ruthless litigator on Damages and an enraged ex-lover on Fatal Attraction, but this week Glenn Close shows a softer side.

The multiple-Oscar nominee appears on Friday night's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which builds a new home for an Iraq war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Through her charity work, Close met Staff Sgt. Allen Hill, who survived a roadside bomb blast but suffers debilitating flashbacks triggered by loud noises and dimly lit spaces. She referred him to the ABC show because his Ottawa, Kan., home is located near a loud rock quarry.

"Allen couldn't come home because every time there was an explosion he would go into a flashback, which is like a catatonic state," says Close.

The show built Hill a home in one week, but the surprise unveiling featuring a group of family and friends – usually the climax of the program – had to be muted to protect Hill.

"The whole crowd, children included, had to be absolutely silent to give him a chance to digest what's going on," says Close. "It was just amazing."

Close, 64, who founded Bring Change 2 Mind to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness, is shooting a new season of Damages for DirecTV and is getting Oscar buzz for the upcoming film Albert Nobbs, in which she plays a woman who dresses as a man to get a job as a butler in 1800s Ireland.

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