Glenda Jackson

(b. 1936) English actress and politician

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(1936– )

British actress who made her name on stage, screen, and television before entering national politics in the 1990s.

Glenda Jackson was born in Birkenhead; after working in a chemist's shop she attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London before working with various repertory companies (1957–63). In 1963 she made her film debut in This Sporting Life and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. Throughout her career Jackson has combined film and stage work. After the Royal Shakespeare Company's Theatre of Cruelty Season at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (1964), she played in Marat/Sade in London, New York, and Paris (1965) as well as performing in the film version (1967). She also appeared in the stage and film versions of both Hedda Gabler (1975; filmed 1976) and Stevie (1977; filmed 1978), about the poet Stevie Smith. Other plays include Hamlet (1965), Antony and Cleopatra (1978), Great and Small (1982), The House of Bernarda Alba (1986), and Mother Courage (1990).

Of her films, Women in Love (1969) earned her an Academy Award and awards from the New York Film Critics and National Board of Review. A second Oscar came with the comedy A Touch of Class (1973). Other memorable films include Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), for which she received a British Academy Award, and The Romantic Englishwoman (1974). She also starred in The Incredible Sarah (1976), as Sarah Bernhardt, Health and Giro City (both 1982), Turtle Diary (1985), and The Rainbow (1989). On the small screen she has proved no less successful, her distinctive style earning her an Emmy Award for the title role in the television series Elizabeth R (1971), after she had appeared in the same role in the film Mary Queen of Scots in the same year.

Long noted for her left-wing views, in 1992 Jackson was elected as the Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate. Following Labour's election victory in 1997 she was appointed a junior transport minister with special responsibility for London.

Subjects: Theatre.

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