Childhood & Early Life
Glenda May Jackson was born on May 9, 1936, in Birkenhead, Cheshire, England.
Her mother, Joan Jackson, worked in shops and as a domestic help. Her father, Harry Jackson, was initially a bricklayer and later became a building contractor.
Glenda Jackson�is the eldest of her parents' four daughters.
She attended the 'West Kirby Grammar School' West Kirby, Merseyside, England. She graduated school at the age of 16, though some sources claim she quit school before graduating.
During her teenage years, she performed at the 'Townswomen's Guild' drama group and worked with 'Boots UK Limited.'
In 1954, Glenda Jackson earned a scholarship to the 'Royal Academy of Dramatic Art’ (RADA).
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In 1957, while at ‘RADA,’ Glenda made her theater debut with 'Separate Tables.' For the following 6 years, she appeared in repertory theater.
Glenda Jackson�made her film debut with a minor role in 'This Sporting Life' in 1963.
The following year, she became a member of the 'Royal Shakespeare Company’ (RSC).
Glenda Jackson played 'Charlotte Corday' in the Peter Weiss's production 'Marat/Sade' and also appeared as 'Ophelia' in Peter Hall's 'Hamlet' in 1965.
She had a meaty part in the play 'US' in 1966. She reprised the role in the play's movie adaptation, 'Tell Me Lies,' in 1968. Toward the end of 1968, she appeared in 'Negatives.' Though the movie did not fare well at the box office, her performance was highly appreciated by critics.
In 1969, she appeared in 'Women in Love,' which brought her an 'Academy Award' (her first) in the “Best Actress” category.
In 1971, Glenda Jackson appeared as 'Antonina Miliukova' in 'The Music Lovers.' She refused to be part of 'The Devils,' which was released in 1971.
She shaved her head to portray 'Queen Elizabeth I' in the ‘BBC's TV serial 'Elizabeth R' in 1971. She secured two 'Primetime Emmy Awards' for the role. The same year, she played 'Queen Elizabeth I' in 'Mary, Queen of Scots.' That year, she delivered the first of her many performances with Morecambe and Wise, as 'Cleopatra,' in a sketch comedy for the 'Morecambe and Wise Show' for the ‘BBC.’
Her portrayal of 'Alex Greville' in 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' earned her the 'BAFTA Award' in the “Best Actress” category and an 'Academy Award' nomination in 1972.
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Her comical role in the romantic comedy 'A Touch of Class' earned her the 'Academy Award' (her second) for the “Best Actress” in 1974.
She portrayed the lead character in the play 'Hedda Gabler,' with the ‘RSC.’ In 1975, she reprised the role in the play's film adaptation and earned another 'Oscar’ nomination.
In 1976, she essayed the role of 'Sarah Bernhardt' in the dramatization of Sarah's acting career, 'The Incredible Sarah.' The following year, she appeared as 'Sister Alexandra' in the comedy 'Nasty Habits.'
Glenda Jackson�appeared in the 1978 hit comedy 'House Calls.' The same year, she played 'Cleopatra' in 'Antony and Cleopatra' at the 'Aldwych Theatre.'
She starred as 'Patricia Brittenham' in 'Lost and Found' in 1979. The following year, she appeared in the movie 'Hopscotch' and the TV shows 'The Muppet Show' and 'The Morecambe and Wise Show.'
She appeared as 'Rose' in the play 'Rose,' which was staged at the 'Duke of York's Theatre,' West End, London, and 'Cort Theatre,' Broadway, New York, U.S., in 1980 and 1981, respectively. She essayed the role of stage actor Patricia Neal in the TV film 'The Patricia Neal Story,' also in 1981.
In 1982, she appeared in the movies 'The Return of the Soldier' and 'Giro City' and in London's 'Lyric Theatre' production 'Summit Conference.'
She appeared as 'Lotte' in 'Big and Little' at the 'Vaudeville Theatre' in 1983. The following year, she played 'Yelena Bonner' in the TV film 'Sakharov' and 'Nina Leeds' in the play 'Strange Interlude' at the 'Duke of York's Theatre.' The play was staged at the 'Nederlander Theatre,' ‘Broadway,’ in 1985.
In 1985, she returned to movies after a 3-year gap, appearing in 'Turtle Diary' (as 'Neaera Duncan’). The same year, she also appeared as 'Phedre' in the tragic play 'Phedre' at 'The Old Vic,' West End.
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She appeared as 'Charlotte' in the 1987 comedy 'Beyond Therapy.' The following year, she was featured in two movies, 'Business as Usual' and 'Salome's Last Dance.' That year, she also reprised the role of 'Nina Leeds' in the TV adaptation of the play 'Strange Interlude': an episode (with the same name) of the anthology series 'American Playhouse.' She also appeared as 'Lady Macbeth' in 'Macbeth' at the 'Mark Hellinger Theatre,' ‘Broadway.’
She played 'Anna Brangwen' in the 1989 movie 'The Rainbow' and 'Martha' in the play 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' at the 'Doolittle Theatre' in Los Angeles, California, U.S.
In 1990, she appeared as 'Queen Caroline' in 'King of the Wind,' as 'Dr. Doris Kruber' in an episode of the anthology comedy series 'Carol & Company' (titled 'Kruber Alert'), and as 'Mother Courage' in the play 'Mother Courage and Her Children.'
In 1991, she was cast as 'Bernarda Alba' in the TV film 'The House of Bernarda Alba' (adapted from the play of the same name) and 'Christine Mannon' in 'Mourning Becomes Electra.'
After her portrayal of 'Harriet Cohen' in the 1992 TV film 'The Secret Life of Arnold Bax,' she took an almost 23-year-long sabbatical to actively participate in politics.She returned to the stage in 2016 and created history by appearing as 'King Lear' in the play 'King Lear' at 'The Old Vic.' Two years later, she appeared as 'A' in 'Three Tall Women.' In 2019, she reprised the role of 'King Lear' at the 'Cort Theatre.'
After retiring from acting in 1992, she plunged into politics. She contested in the 1992 general election and became a member of parliament (MP), representing the 'Labour Party' from the constituency of Hampstead and Highgate. Until the 1997 general election, she served as a shadow transport minister.
She was elected as the MP again in 1997. She was appointed as the parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport, with the additional responsibility for transport in London, in the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair.
She quit the post in 1999, to be nominated as the party representative for London's mayor. However, she failed to make the cut.
In 2003, she began opposing Blair's policies related to higher education and the war on Iraq.
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She was elected as an MP again in 2005.
She supported the 'Scottish National Party's campaign for an inquiry into the Iraq War.
In 2010, she became an MP again. In 2011, she declared that she would not contest in the next election.
In 2013, after the death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, she sharply criticized her politics.
Her 2014 speech, which criticized Iain Duncan Smith, became viral.
In 2015, she quit active politics and returned to acting.