Niecy Nash Says She Often Left ‘Dahmer’ Set in Tears

Niecy Nash in Dahmer (Credit: Netflix)

For Niecy Nash, taking on a role in Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: the Jeffrey Dahmer Story proved to be one of the most challenging jobs of her career.

The award-winning actress portrays Glenda Cleveland, the neighbor who alerted police in Milwaukee about Jeffrey Dahmer’s heinous crimes, but was repeatedly ignored.

At a press conference for the series in Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 29, Nash said it gave her strength knowing that she was sharing Cleveland’s story.

“I felt responsible to get it right. I felt that for me, you kind of got to experience this movie through this woman’s eyes, because she laid eyes on it all. She was the town crier,” Nash said. “She was the, I’m pulling air quotes from heaven when I say, ‘nosy neighbor.’ But she was the one, that portal to say, ‘Are y’all seeing what I’m seeing? And nobody is going to do a thing?'”

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(L-R) Richard Jenkins, Niecy Nash, Evan Peters, Ryan Murphy attend 'Dahmer' news conference on Oct. 29, 2022. (Netflix/Vivian Killilea for Getty)
(L-R) Richard Jenkins, Niecy Nash, Evan Peters, Ryan Murphy attend the ‘Dahmer’ press conference on Oct. 29, 2022. (Credit: Netflix/Vivian Killilea for Getty)

Nash was joined on the panel by series creator Ryan Murphy, and co-stars Evan Peters (who plays Jeffrey Dahmer) and Richard Jenkins (who plays Lionel Dahmer).

In real life, Jeffrey Dahmer killed and dismembered seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991. The murders involved necrophilia, cannibalism, and dissolving body parts in acid. Many of his victims were Black men he met in gay bars.

Nash said it broke her heart knowing that Dahmer’s killing spree could have been stopped sooner if authorities had listened to Glenda Cleveland. The actress blamed racism and homophobia for the lack of police action.

“There were many days I left set with tears in my eyes because of the weight of all of these things happening and knowing that all of it didn’t have to,” she explained.

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Dahmer premiered on Sept. 21. Viewers quickly embraced the 10-episode limited series, making it one of Netflix’s most-watched shows of all time.

Ryan Murphy told reporters he never imagined the series would become so popular.

“Sometime in the next week, our show will have been viewed by 1 billion hours streamed, which sort of makes it the biggest hit of my career, in the 25th year of my career and something that none of us understood or saw coming,” he said.

Murphy said he called Nash right after the series premiered to let her know how well it was being received.

Nash noted that she wished she could have shared with Glenda Cleveland — who died in 2010 — that people around the world now know she tried to help.

“The truth is, I cried like a baby,” Nash said of her reaction when she learned the series was a hit. “I said to Ryan, ‘It is my prayer that wherever Glenda Cleveland’s soul is resting, that she finally feels heard. That she finally knows that her story has gone all around the world.'”