Few in modern British history have come as far or achieved as much from humble beginnings as Glenda Jackson has. From acclaimed actress to respected MP (Member of Parliament), she is known for her high intelligence and meticulous approach to her work. She was born to a working-class household in Birkenhead, where her father was a bricklayer. When she was very young, her father was recruited into the Navy, where he worked aboard a minesweeper. She graduated from school at 16 and worked for a while in a pharmacy. However, she found this boring and dead-end and wanted better for herself. Her life changed forever when she was accepted into the prestigious Royal Acadamy of Dramatic Art (RADA) at the age of 18. Her work impressed all who observed it. In addition, she married Roy Hodges at 22.
Her first work came on the stage, where she won a role in an adaptation of "Separate Tables", and made a positive impression on critics and audiences alike. This led to film roles, modest at first, but she approached them with great determination. She first came to the public's notice when she won a supporting role in the controversial film Marat/Sade (1967), and is acknowledged to have stolen the show. She quickly became a member of Britian's A-List. Her first starring role came in the offbeat drama Negatives (1968), in which she out-shone the oddball material. The following year, controversial director Ken Russell gave her a starring role in his adaptation of the 1920s romance Women in Love (1969). The beautifully photographed film was a major success, and Jackson's performance won her an Academy Award for Best Actress. In the process, she became an international celebrity, known world-wide, yet she didn't place as much value on the status and fame as most do. She did, however, become a major admirer of Russell (who had great admiration for her in return) and acted in more of his films. She starred in the controversial The Music Lovers (1970), even though it required her to do a nude scene, something that made her very uncomfortable. The film was not a success, but she agreed to do a cameo appearance in his next film, The Boy Friend (1971). Although her role as an obnoxious actress was very small, she once again performed with great aplomb.
1971 turned out to be a key year for her. She took a risk by appearing in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), as a divorced businesswoman in a dead-end affair with a shallow bisexual artist, but the film turned out to be another major success. Also, she accepted the starring role in the British Broadcasting Corporation's much anticipated biography of Queen Elizabeth I, and her performance in the finished film, "Elizabeth R" (1971), was praised not only by critics and fans, but is cited by historians as the most accurate portrayal of the beloved former queen ever seen. That same year, she appeared in the popular comedy series "The Morecambe & Wise Show" (1968) in a skit as Queen Cleopatra, which is considered on of the funniest TV skits in British television, and also proof that she could do comedy just as well as costume melodrama. One who saw and raved about her performance was director Melvin Frank, who proceeded to cast her in the romantic comedy A Touch of Class (1973), co-starring George Segal. The two stars had a chemistry which brought out the best in each other, and the film was not only a major hit in both the United States and Great Britian, but won her a second Academy Award. She continued to impress by refusing obvious commercial roles and seeking out serious artistic work. She gave strong performances in The Romantic Englishwoman (1975) and The Incredible Sarah (1976), in which she portrayed the legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt. However, some of her films didn't register with the public and her marriage fell apart in 1976. But her career remained at the top and in 1978 she was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire. That year, she made a comeback in the comedy House Calls (1978), co-starring Walter Matthau. The success of this film which led to a popular television spin-off in the United States the following year. In 1979, she and Segal re-teamed in Lost and Found (1979), but they were unable to overcome the routine script.
During the 1980s, she appeared in Hopscotch (1980) also co-starring Walter Matthau, and HealtH (1980) with Lauren Bacall, with disappointing results, although Jackson herself was never blamed. Her performance in the TV biography Sakharov (1984) (TV), in which she played Yelena Bonner, devoted wife of imprisoned Russian nuclear scientist Andrei Sakharov opposite Jason Robards, won rave reviews. However, the next film Turtle Diary (1985), was only a modest success, and the ensemble comedy Beyond Therapy (1987) was a critical and box office disaster.
As the 1980s ended, Jackson continued to act, but became more focused on public affairs. She grew up in a household that was staunchly supportive of the Labour Party. She had disliked the policies of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, even though she admired some of her personal attributes, and strongly disapproved of Thatcher's successor, John Major. She was unhappy with the direction of British government policies, and in 1992 ran for Parliament. Although running in an area (Hampstead and Highgate) which was not heavily supportive of her party, she won by a slim margin and immediately became its most famous newly elective member. However, those who expected that she would rest on her laurels and fame were mistaken. She immediately took an interest in transportation issues, and in 1997 was appointed Junior Transportation Minister by Prime Minister Tony Blair. However, she was critical of some of Blair's policies and is considered an intra-party opponent of Blair's moderate faction. She is considered a traditional Labour Party activist, but is not affiliated with the faction known as The Looney Left. In 2000, she ran for Mayor of London, but lost the Labour nomination to fellow MP Frank Dobson, an ally of Blair's, who then lost the election to an independent candidate, Ken Livingstone. In 2005, she ran again and won the nomination, but lost to Livingstone, winning 38% of the vote. When Blair announced he would not seek reelection as Prime Minister in 2006, Jackson's name was mentioned as a possible successor, although she didn't encourage this speculation.
|Roy Hodges||(1958 - 26 January 1976) (divorced) 1 child|
Playing emancipated women roles
Good diction and strong speaking voice.
Only British Member of Parliament to win an Oscar.
She had her appendix removed. [October 1999]
She was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1978 Queen's Honours List for her services to drama.
March, 2002 - was hospitalized for serious injuries sustained to her wrist and hip.
Named after actress Glenda Farrell.
In 1992 closed the curtain on her acting career and became Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate.
Appointed Junior transport minister in 1997.
Has a theatre named after her.
She was awarded the 1984 London Critics Circle Theatre Award (Drama Theatre Award) for Best Actress for her best performance in Strange Interlude.
An Associate Member of RADA.
Has been nominated for Broadway's Tony Award four times: as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic), in 1966 for portraying Charlotte Corday in Peter Weiss' "Marat/Sade," a performance recreated in the film version of the same title, Marat/Sade (1967); and, as Best Actress (Play): in 1981 for "Rose;" in 1985 for playing Nina Leeds in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Strange Interlude," a role she recreated in a television version of the same title, "American Playhouse: Strange Interlude (#7.1)" (1988); and in 1988 for playing Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's "Macbeth." She has yet to win.
On 5th May 2005 she has been re-elected MP for Hampstead & Highgate for the 4th time.
She was not present to receive either of her Oscars.
Prior to military service, her father worked as a bricklayer.
Represented the north London communities of Hampstead and Highgate in Parliament.
Mother to Daniel Pearce Jackson Hodges (b. 1969).
The first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for a role in which she appeared significantly 'nude' (Women in Love, 1969).
I had no real ambition about acting. But I knew there had to be something better than the bloody chemist's shop.
[on her Oscars] My mother polishes them to within an inch of their lives until the metal shows. That sums up the Academy Awards - all glitter on the outside and base metal coming through. Nice presents for a day. But they don't make you any better.
If I'm too strong for some people, that's their problem.
An actor can do "Hamlet" right through to "Lear", men of every age and every step of spiritual development. Where's the equivalent for women? I don't fancy hanging around to play Nurse in "Romeo and Juliet". Life's too short.
[speaking in 1974] Ideally, one would love to work in England. But if no one in England is going to take their courage in both hands and dig into their pockets and finance films - then, you're going to have to work abroad.
I was the archetypal spotty teenager who suffered the tortures of the damned because I wasn't like those girls in the magazines. I had lank, greasy hair and I was fat and spotty.
If anyone thinks I looked sexy stripped in The Music Lovers (1970) they must think Minnie Mouse is sexy.
[on acting] You'd think it's something one would grow out of. But you grow into it. The more you do, the more you realize how painfully easy it is to be lousy and how very difficult to be good.
Men can be a great deal of work for very little reward.
You see women in America who've had facelifts - faces as smooth as melons. It makes my stomach turn to think about voluntarily putting myself under a surgeon's knife.
One of the most depressing remarks that was made when I first came to the House of Commons was made by an MP who said, "What d'you want to come here for? You're famous already".
[on acting] When I have to cry, I think about my love life. When I have to laugh, I think about my love life.
If all the star system can offer its talent is the crap it does, then producers should pay through the eyes, ears, nose, mouth - any orifice you can think of.
Why put make-up on when you only have to take it off again?
I used to empty ashtrays for the cigarette butts, re-roll them and make myself a fag. I used to live on a pound of sausages and a cooking apple.
I was five months pregnant when I made that nude scene in Women in Love (1969). I'd never had such a marvelous bosom.
[upon learning of her unexpected second Oscar victory in 1974] I was working but I doubt that I would have been there even if I hadn't been. Watching it on television here in my hotel suite, I kept telling myself that I ought to turn it off and go to bed. I felt disgusted with myself--as though I were attending a public hanging . . . No one should have a chance to see so much desire, so much need for a prize, and so much pain when it was not given.
Funny things do happen, though. "Harper's" wanted to include me in their gallery of "Most Beautiful Women". That was hilarious. It was all a terrible mistake, of course. I wound up on a separate page as "a stern young beauty bursting upon London". Stern, you see. Not that I'm really tough.
[on Hollywood] One has to have a reason for going there. If you have a job there, it's like a passport or a visa, and you can always get out. But I should think to be stuck there all the time you'd go mad.
On work: I knew early on that I'd have to work, work, work if I was wanted to amount to much; plums don't drop into plain girls' laps.
[Observation, 1970] It's ridiculous when you think how hard I'm working right now, when for so many years nobody even knew I existed.But I don't want to wake up one morning and find myself stuck in the hermetically sealed, centrally heated, showbiz world which can destroy you. I wouldn't like to think that I couldn't go to the launderette when I felt like it.
I was never part of the glitzy, glamoury, showbizzy part of the entertainment world. I don't think I could ever have been. It wouldn't have interested me and, you know... I wouldn't have been any good at it.
[on gender roles in theatrical plays] There was the male and female lead, the male and female juvenile lead, and the male and female character lead, and the male and female juvenile character lead, and if you didn't fit into any of those boxes then you didn't work.
Acting is not about dressing up. Acting is about stripping bare. The whole essence of learning lines is to forget them so you can make them sound like you thought of them that instant.
My money goes to my agent, then to my accountant and from him to the tax man.
I look forward to growing old and wise and audacious.
At a meeting you might present an idea and it will be listened to and someone will say, 'Oh yes, that's fine.' Ten minutes later a man down the table will produce the same idea, but possibly reworked in its presentation, and there will be unanimous acceptance of what a good idea it was. Also you will be talked over, that's the other thing, you sort of become invisible, and if you protest this, you are deemed to be some form of extreme harridan.
One has to begin to take all the work and redirect it into a way in which the problem is actually solved, not merely managed.
[on Margaret Thatcher] The first Prime Minister of female gender, OK. But a woman? Not on my terms.
I was meticulous in not being personally rude. I didn't know the woman: I did know the policies. I spoke up because history has been rewritten over the past week. I lived through the Thatcher period. I know what it was like. I know what it was like for my constituents. The reality bore no resemblance to what's being presented.
|Women in Love (1969)||$7,200|
|A Touch of Class (1973)||$200,000|
|House Calls (1978)||$1,000,000|
(May 2010) In the 2010 UK General Election, Glenda Jackson (standing for the Labour Party) is re-elected to her seat in Parliament for the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency in north London.
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