The well-known British actress of stage and movie, Glenda Jackson, passed away at the age of 87. Jackson, a two-time Oscar winner, took a break from acting to pursue a two-decade career in the British Parliament.
He then made a triumphant stage acting comeback. Jackson passed away following a “brief illness,” according to her agent Lionel Larner.
“One of the world’s greatest actresses has died, and one of my best friends has died as well,” Larner explained.
On May 9, 1936, Jackson was born in Birkenhead, England. She lived in a flat with an outdoor toilet while growing up in the working class, according to NPR. But despite her modest origins, she was awarded a scholarship at the esteemed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London where she is now studying acting.
She began performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964, garnering praise for parts like Ophelia in Hamlet. She later reprised the part on Broadway and in a film adaptation. Jackson’s performance as Charlotte Corday in Marat/Sade was a breakthrough role that established her as a passionate and courageous performer.
“I like to take risks, and I want those risks to be larger than the confines of a structure that’s simply meant to entertain,” she mentioned.
Her screen career was a result of her stage success. For the romantic comedies A Touch of Class and Women in Love from 1968, she twice won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She was also a nominee for Hedda and Sunday Bloody Sunday.
Jackson’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in the television series Elizabeth R earned her two Primetime Emmy Awards. Queen Elizabeth II bestowed upon her the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1978.
Jackson was still considered as one of the best stage actors of her period. She received Tony nominations for both her performances in Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude and Lady Macbeth on Broadway in the 1980s. But Jackson gave up acting in 1992 to pursue a new career in British politics.
She was inspired by her dislike of Margaret Thatcher’s policies as well as the dearth of high-caliber acting parts that were available to her in her middle years.
“Certainly, the life of an actress in films is very short. And in the theater, there’s a terrible trough when there are no parts worth playing,” Jackson said in an interview, per NPR. “I mean, until you sort of hit about 60 and then a few sort of cracking character parts. And I really can’t see myself hanging around for 20 years waiting to play an old biddy in something.”
She was chosen to serve in parliament as a Labour Party representative for the Hampstead and Highgate constituency in London. Under Prime Minister Tony Blair, her party retook control during her tenure as an MP, and she was appointed a junior minister of transportation.
Jackson took on issues like transportation, women’s rights, homelessness, and disabilities throughout her political career. She opposed Britain’s participation in the Iraq War and was a harsh critic of the Conservative Party and Margaret Thatcher’s policies.
Jackson made another professional change after serving in politics for more than 20 years. She decided not to compete for re-election in 2015, claiming she was too elderly, and went back to acting instead.
In her 80s, she made a bold and daring comeback to the stage by taking on the gender-flipped title role in productions of King Lear in both London and Broadway.
She garnered a lot of praise for making a comeback.Jackson became one of the rare individuals to win the “Triple Crown of Acting”—an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony—for her portrayal in Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women in 2018, as well as her first Tony Award.The Great Escaper, which will be released soon, will include Jackson in her last acting role alongside Michael Caine.
Rest in peace to the great Glenda Jackson — one of the best actresses of her generation 💔
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