NEW YORK — Saks Fifth Avenue is getting cozy with Glenn Close — for a good cause.

Close has been named this year’s Entertainment Industry Foundation ambassador to Saks’ 2006 Key to the Cure program. She follows Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman, and will be featured in the campaign wearing a limited-edition T-shirt by Oscar de la Renta with a pink bow motif. The image was photographed by Timothy White and placed in September and October magazines. The T-shirts, retailing for $35 ($31 of it will go to EIF’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund), will be available at Saks in October.

“I decided to participate because I could and because I’ve lost too many friends to cancer, most recently Dana Reeve to lung cancer, and my grandmother had breast cancer,” Close said. “I believe in science, and one of the great treasures of this country is that we’ve always been in the forefront of scientific investigation … that’s why it’s tremendously important to raise money for women’s cancer research.”

The Key to the Cure initiative is a partnership with the Women’s Cancer Research Fund. Mercedes-Benz USA is offering additional support and has created a signature edition of its E 350 luxury sedan to benefit the organization.

“Glenn is internationally known both on stage and screen; she is an Oscar nominee; she is a mother, a Saks shopper,” said Saks’ chief executive officer Stephen Sadove. “She is also passionate about some of the women’s health issues that we have to deal with and that are so important to Saks.”

On Oct. 11, Saks will host a gala to kick off a nationwide shopping weekend, Oct. 12-15, during which a portion of Saks sales will go to EIF’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund. In the seven years since it was launched, the shopping weekend has raised more than $20 million, which has been distributed to more than 50 charitable organizations. “It goes right to the researchers in the communities in which we operate,” Sadove said. “I lost a sister to cancer. It’s something that is very important and dear to me.”

The Women’s Cancer Research Fund was created by Kelly Chapman Meyer, Anne Douglas, Quinn Ezralow, Marion Laurie and Jamie Tisch, and chairs Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg.

This story first appeared in the July 14, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Close noted, “I’ve been told in my lifetime there will be a cure, and I believe it. But it won’t happen unless we support important scientific research through programs like EIF’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund.”

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