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Profile of Glenda Jackson

Updated on March 7, 2015

Glenda Jackson was born in 1936, Birkenhead, Great Britain, she was one of the four siblings her father was a bricklayer and her mother a Charlady. Jackson left school at sixteen and worked in a chemist shop as a shop assistant while pursuing amateur dramatics in her spare time. At eighteen, Jackson decided to leave her mundane job at the chemist, after applying she was accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. While studying she meet and fell in love with actor Roy Hodges leaving RADA, Jackson married Hodges when she was twenty-two.


1957 after graduating, she made her first stage appearance in the play “Separate Tables”. Her first stage performance didn’t go unnoticed making a lasting impression on theatre audiences. In 1963, her success on stage along with Jackson’s determination, eventually managed to land her a supporting actress role, in the stage play Marat/Sade acting as an inmate of an Asylum. The show was transferred to Broadway Jackson was given the same role as before by the director, the success of the stage show lead to the making of the film version Marat/Sade in 1967. The following year her memorable role from the previous year landed her a lead role this time as a quirky character in the film Drama Negatives. Making a guest appearance, Jackson showed she could be a versatile actress, playing a wide range of characters in the Morecambe and Wise show in 1968. Ken Russell a film director knew for his controversial films offered Jackson the lead role in his 1920’s film Women in Love realised in 1969. The Film was a box office hit with audiences and Jackson won the Academy Award at the Oscars for Best Actress. A rising film star Jackson was offered more acting roles from Russell’s next film. Musical Lovers had a nude scene while Jackson agreed to strip for the camera deep down she felt awkward about exposing herself to audiences. 1971 was to prove an eventful year, beginning with the Boyfriend a film Jackson played a small role this time as an obnoxious individual. Later that year she acted as a divorced business woman who begins an affair with a bisexual artist, Sunday Bloody Sunday was realised the same year. The director was unsure how audiences would take the film as the recent massacre was still fresh in the people’s minds; the film was a huge success. The BBC cast Jackson in the role of Elizabeth 1 for a television series which, for her performance in the series proved popular with audiences. A Touch of Class 1973 a romantic comedy by the director Melvin Brag starring Jackson and George Segal was again a hit with film audiences. Again for the second time in a row Jackson won the Academy Award for best actress at an award ceremony.

In 1976, cracks started to show in her relationship with her husband Hodges as they outgrew one another which eventually lead to their divorce. Jackson continued to star in films through the rest of the seventies; her popularity was beginning to wane. 1978 Jackson was made given the title of CBE and in the same year she starred with Walter Malthaeu in the film House Calls which brought her back into the limelight. A spin-off television series was produced in America the following year, the on-screen chemistry worked well for them both and later that year they both starred again this time in the film Lost and Found. Early 1980 reuniting with co-star Malthaeu they both appeared in the film Hopscotch, and later in the same year Jackson appeared alongside Lauren Bacall in the film Health. Both films flopped at the cinemas; it was becoming evident that her popularity was continuing to go downhill with the audiences. Recovering from the dire box office films Jackson once again started in a television series Sarhkow playing the wife a jailed Russian scientist. This time however she won over her critics over with her superb performance receiving successful reviews. Turtle Diary in 1985 was Jackson’s next role again sadly though the film only met with mediocre success and Beyond Therapy in 1987 was considered a spectacular flop.

Ever since Jackson was a young girl her parents had been keen labour voters, with strong political influences from her family Jackson had always been a Labour voter. In the late eighties John Major who succeeded Margret Thatcher as the new Prime Minister, Jackson disliked the newly elected Prime Minister compared to his predecessor. Deciding to stand as a Labour MP for the 1992 election, her reputation as an actress among voters positioned her as a favourite to win a seat in Parliament, when the results were announced she had won by a narrow margin. Her critics believed she would be taking a back seat in politics; however they were in for a rude shock. The newly elected MP worked hard in her elected constituency, by working on improving transport problems. Two years later the party promoted her to Transport Teams Co-ordinator continuing her work with transport. In 1997 Jackson, became Junior Transport Minister, three years later she resigned her position in a bid to become Major for London, however she was beaten by MP Frank Dobson. Never giving up easily, in 2005 Jackson sort nomination again but lost the candidate vote to Ken Livingstone. After Tony Blair resigned as Prime Minister, it was rumoured that Jackson would stand for Party leader. Instead she continues to serve as an MP, and in 2010, she became the MP for the newly created Hampstead and Highgate district of London.

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