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Oscar-winning actress and MP Glenda Jackson dies


Glenda Jackson, the double Oscar-winning actress and former Labour MP has died aged 87.

“Glenda Jackson, two-time Academy Award-winning actress and politician, died peacefully at her home in Blackheath, London, this morning after a brief illness with her family at her side,” read a statement from her agent, Lionel Larner.

“She recently completed filming ‘The Great Escaper’ in which she co-starred with Michael Caine.”

Born in Birkenhead, she was the daughter of a bricklayer, but maybe her road to acting was set out by her mother who named her after Hollywood star, Glenda Farrell.

“My mother was torn between two Hollywood stars – Glenda Farrell and Shirley Temple. I think I’m quite grateful she opted for Ms Farrell,” said Jackson in 2020.

Her first acting experiences were in West Kirby and Hoylake, before she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Drama in London.

In the 60s she became part of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which led her to Broadway and then film.

In 1970 she won her first Oscar for her performance in the film adaptation of DH Lawrence’s Women in Love – she starred opposite Oliver Reed.

She received her second Oscar, also for Best Actress, 3 years later for A Touch of Class. On neither occasion did she attend the ceremony.

Her early career ranged from Elizabeth R for BBC – a role for which she shaved her head – to Sunday Bloody Sunday and appearing on the Morecambe and Wise Show as Cleopatra, and The Muppet Show.

Aged 56 though, Jackson opted to leave acting and pursue a life in politics, announcing that she was going to stand in the 1992 General Election for the Labour Party.

She was elected to the Hampstead and Highgate constituency, a Conservative stronghold for 20 years.

In 1999 she would try and become Labour’s candidate for London mayor – but was defeated by Frank Dobson. An outspoken critic of New Labour, she threatened to stand against Tony Blair for leadership of the party.

Her socialist leanings were highlighted when Parliament was recalled following the death of Margaret Thatcher. Jackson said she had inflicted “heinous social, economic and spiritual damage” upon the country, adding: “The first Prime Minister of female gender, OK. But a woman? Not on my terms.”

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In 2015, she decided not to defend her seat and returned to acting after a 23 year absence.

In 2016 she took the title role in King Lear at the Old Vic and was nominated for Best Actress at the Olivier Awards. In 2018 she won a Tony for Three Tall Women on Broadway.

Her return to television came in 2019 with Elizabeth is Missing for BBC One – for which she won an International Emmy and Bafta for Best Actress.

The Great Escaper marked a return to film after an absence of almost 30 years. It tells the true story of Bernard Jordan’s escape from a care home to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France. Michael Caine plays Jordan, with Jackson his wife. The paid had last acted together in The Romantic Englishwoman in 1975.




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