In Memoriam: Glenda Jackson

Glenda Jackson
( May 9, 1936 – June 15, 2023)

Glenda Jackson’s remarkable journey from humble beginnings to acclaimed actress and respected Member of Parliament stands out in modern British history. Born into a working-class family in Birkenhead, she left school at 16 to work in a pharmacy before being accepted into the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) at 18.

Her career began on the stage, earning praise for her roles in productions like “Separate Tables” and making a memorable impression in the film “Marat/Sade” (1967). She continued with her starring role in “Women in Love” (1969), winning an Academy Award for Best Actress.

1971 was a pivotal year for Jackson, starring in successful films like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and earning acclaim for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in “Elizabeth R” and “Mary, Queen of Scots.” Her versatility was evident in appearances on popular comedy shows like “The Morecambe & Wise Show” as Queen Cleopatra, also proof that she could do comedy just as well as costume melodrama. Honored as Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1978, Jackson continued to excel in both film and television, notably in the comedy “House Calls” (1978).

Transitioning to public affairs in the 1980s, she was unhappy with the direction of British government policies, and in 1992 ran for Parliament. She immediately took an interest in transportation issues, and in 1997 was appointed Junior Transportation Minister by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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In her 80s, she made a remarkable comeback to acting. She headlined “Elizabeth is Missing,” a television film portraying a woman grappling with dementia. Additionally, she took on the iconic role of King Lear in productions staged in both London and New York. Her portrayal in Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Women” earned her a Tony Award in 2018.

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