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Glenda May Jackson, CBE (born 9 May 1936) is an English actress and politician, currently Labour Member of Parliament for the constituency of Hampstead and Highgatemarker in the London Borough of Camdenmarker.

Biography

She was born in Birkenheadmarker on the Wirralmarker, where her father was a bricklayer. She attended the West Kirby County Grammar School for Girlsmarker, then worked for two years in a Boots pharmacy store, before studying at RADA in Bloomsburymarker.

She has one son by her ex-husband, Roy Hodges, whom she married in 1958 and divorced in 1976.

Career in acting

Having studied acting at RADA, Jackson made her professional stage debut in Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables in 1957, and her film debut in This Sporting Life in 1963. Subsequently a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for four years, she worked for director Peter Brook in several productions, including of Peter Weiss' Marat/Sade as Charlotte Corday. Jackson also appeared in the film version.

Fame came with Jackson's starring role in the controversial Women in Love (1969) for which she won her first Academy Award for Best Actress, and another controversial role as Tchaikovsky's nymphomaniac wife in Ken Russell's The Music Lovers added to her image of being prepared to do almost anything for her art. She confirmed this by having her head shaved in order to play Queen Elizabeth I of England in the BBC's 1971 blockbuster serial, Elizabeth R. Her portrayal of Elizabeth I is considered unparalled in accuracy by Elizabethan scholars .She received two Emmy Awards for her work in this series. She also appeared on the Morecambe and Wise Show in 1971, playing Cleopatra in a comedy sketch which is generally recognised as one the funniest sequences in British TV history . This led to many other appearances on the show, including the Christmas Shows of 1971 and 1972.

Filmmaker Melvin Frank watched this and saw her comedic potential and offered her the lead female role in his next project. She earned a second Academy Award for Best Actress for this particular comic role in A Touch of Class (1973), and Eric and Ernie apparently sent her a telegram saying: 'Stick with us kid, and we'll get you a third!'. She also portrayed Queen Elizabeth in a film about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots and she has been recognised as one of Britain's leading actresses. In 1978, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

The Glenda Jackson Theatre, on the Borough Road campus of Wirral Metropolitan Collegemarker, Birkenhead, was named after her in 1983. It closed in 2003, and was demolished by Wirral Council, to make way for a new housing estate, in 2004.

Career in politics

She retired from acting in order to enter the House of Commonsmarker in the 1992 general election as the Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgatemarker. After the 1997 general election, she was appointed a junior minister in the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair, with responsibility for London Transport, a post she resigned before an attempt to be nominated as the Labour Party candidate for the election of the first Mayor of London in 2000. The nomination was eventually won by Frank Dobson, who lost the election to Ken Livingstone, the independent candidate. In the 2005 general election, she received 14,615 votes, representing 38.29% of the votes cast in the constituency.

As a high profile backbencher she became a regular critic of Blair over his plans to introduce top-up fees. She also called for him to resign following the Judicial Enquiry by Lord Hutton in 2003 surrounding the reasons for going to war in Iraqmarker and the death of government adviser Dr. David Kelly. Jackson was generally considered to be a traditional left-winger, often disagreeing with the dominant Blairite governing Third Way faction in the Labour Party.

By October 2005, her problems with Blair's leadership swelled to a point where she threatened to challenge the Prime Minister as a stalking horse candidate in a leadership contest if he didn't stand down within a reasonable amount of time. On 31 October 2006, Jackson was one of 12 Labour MPs to back Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party's call for an inquiry into the Iraq War.

Her constituency boundaries will change dramatically at the next election. Gospel Oak and Highgate wards will become part of Holborn & St Pancras, and the new Hampstead & Kilburn ward will cross the border into Brent to include Brondesbury, Kilburn and Queens Park wards (from the old Brent East and Brent South seats). She revealed in an interview that she will stand for the next election.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1963 This Sporting Life Singer at party Uncredited
1967 Benefit of the Doubt Bit part
Marat/Sade Inmate portraying Charlotte Corday
1968 Tell Me Lies Guest
The Wednesday Play Julie Let's Murder Vivaldi
Negatives Vivien
1969 Women in Love Gudrun Brangwen Academy Award for Best Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama




ITV Saturday Night Theatre Marina Palek Salve Regina
1970 Play of the Month Howards Endmarker
Nominated — British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
The Music Lovers Nina
1971 Sunday Bloody Sunday Alex Greville BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
The Boy Friend Rita Uncredited
Mary, Queen of Scots Queen Elizabeth I David di Donatello Special David
Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama

Elizabeth R Queen Elizabeth I TV mini-series
Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Drama Series
Nominated - British Academy Television Award for Best Actress

1972 The Triple Echo Alice
1973 A Touch of Class Vicki Allessio Academy Award for Best Actress
Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Prize San Sebastián for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role



A Bequest to the Nation Lady Hamilton
1974 The Maids Solange
1975 The Romantic Englishwoman Elizabeth Fielding
Il Sorriso del grande tentatore Sister Geraldine
Hedda Hedda Gabler David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama

1976 The Incredible Sarah Sarah Bernhardt Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1977 Nasty Habits Sister Alexandra
1978 House Calls Ann Atkinson
Stevie Stevie Smith Montreal World Film Festival Award for Best Actressmarker
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama


The Class of Miss MacMichael Conor MacMichael
1979 Lost and Found Tricia
1980 Hopscotch Isobel von Schonenberg
Health Isabella Garnell
1981 The Patricia Neal Story Patricia Neal TV
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film

1982 The Return of the Soldier Margaret Grey
Giro City Sophie
1984 Sakharov Yelena Bonner (Sakharova) TV
CableACE Award for Actress in a Movie or Miniseries
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film

1985 Turtle Diary Neaera Duncan
1987 Beyond Therapy Charlotte
Business as Usual Babs Flynn
1988 Strange Interlude Nina Leeds TV
Salome's Last Dance Herodias / Lady Alice
1989 The Rainbow Anna Brangwen
King of the Wind Queen Caroline
Doombeach Miss
1990 T-Bag's Christmas Ding Dong Vanity Bag TV
The Real Story of Humpty Dumpty Glitch the Witch (voice)
1991 The House of Bernarda Alba Bernarda Alba TV
A Murder of Quality Ailsa Brimley TV
1992 The Secret Life of Arnold Bax Harriet Cohen TV
1994 A Wave of Passion: The Life of Alexandra Kollontai Alexandra Kollontai TV (voice)


References

  1. Steve Grant, ‘Spectrum: A talent to smoulder and chill / Times Profile of actress Glenda Jackson’, The Times (15 January 1987).
  2. Liam Murphy, ‘College to be replaced by 125 town houses’ Daily Post (Liverpool, 17 July 2004), p. 11.


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