Glenda Jackson

Active - 1963 - Present  |   Born - May 9, 1936 in Birkenhead on Wirral, Chesire, England  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

On stage, screen, and television, powerhouse actress Glenda Jackson displayed a fierce intelligence and a brazen toughness that have bordered on abrasiveness. With her sharp facial features, Jackson is more handsome than glamorous, but this has only helped her career in that it provided her the opportunity to play a wide variety of strong-willed, smart, and sexy women. She specialized in dramas but also dabbled in comedies. The daughter of a Liverpool bricklayer, Jackson left school at age 16 to join an amateur acting troupe, taking odd jobs to support herself. After ten years of scraping by, she was invited to join the Theatre of Cruelty, an offshoot of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and cast as Charlotte Corday in Peter Brook's internationally award-winning The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis De Sade (aka Marat/Sade). In 1966, Jackson reprised her role in the film version, her first starring role; three years before, she had debuted with a bit part in This Sporting Life. Jackson worked closely with director Ken Russell, first appearing in his adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love (1969) as Gudrun. The role earned Jackson the first of two Academy Awards. In 1971, she was nominated for another Oscar for Sunday, Bloody Sunday, and earned her second award for the romantic comedy A Touch of Class (1973). In 1971, Jackson also won an Emmy for playing Queen Elizabeth on the highly acclaimed British miniseries Elizabeth R. Other notable television appearances include the title role in the moving account of Patricia Neal's recovery from a stroke The Patricia Neal Story (1981). Throughout much of her adult life, Jackson has been passionate about politics. In 1990, she unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the British Parliament. She tried again in 1992 and succeed in winning the Hampstead seat. Since the election, Jackson has retired from acting to devote her energies to her party and her constituents.

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  • Two-time Academy Award winner for acting roles; both times she did not appear at the ceremony to receive her award.
  • Became member of House of Commons in 1992.
  • Named CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), an honorary title given to her by the Queen, in 1978. 
  • Outspoken opponent of Tony Blair's policies from within the Labour party.
  • Attempted to win the Labour Party nomination for the election of the first Mayor of London in 2000.