I fist saw her here —
You can’t imagine the impact of seeing her live on stage. Onbiously a film career beckoned.
Glenda May Jackson, CBE (born 9 May 1936) is a British Labour Party politician and former actress. She has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1992, and currently represents Hampstead and Kilburn. She previously served as MP for Hampstead and Highgate. After constituency changes for the 2010 general election, her majority of 42 votes was one of the closest results of the entire election
Jackson was born in Birkenhead on the Wirral, Cheshire where her father was a bricklayer Jackson was educated at the West Kirby County Grammar School for Girls, then worked for two years in a Boots chemist shop, before studying at RADA in Bloomsbury
Having studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Jackson made her professional stage debut in Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables in 1957, and her film debut in This Sporting Life in 1963. Subsequently a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for four years, she worked for director Peter Brook in several productions, including of Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade as Charlotte Corday. Jackson also appeared in the film version
Fame came with Jackson’s starring role in the controversial Women in Love (1969) for which she won her first Academy Award for Best Actress, and another controversial role as Tchaikovsky’s nymphomaniac wife in Ken Russell’s The Music Lovers added to her image of being prepared to do almost anything for her art. She confirmed this by having her head shaved in order to play Queen Elizabeth I in the BBC’s 1971 blockbuster serial, Elizabeth R. The series was later shown on PBS in the US and Jackson received two Emmy Awards for her work. She also portrayed Queen Elizabeth in the film Mary, Queen of Scots. She appeared on the Morecambe and Wise Show in 1971, playing Cleopatra in a comedy sketch. This led to many other appearances on the show, including the Christmas Shows of 1971 and 1972. In 1971 British exhibitors voted her the 6th most popular star at the British box office.
And then —
Filmmaker Melvin Frank saw her comedic potential and offered her the lead female role in his next project. She earned a second Academy Award for Best Actress for A Touch of Class (1973). Morecambe and Wise apparently sent her a telegram saying: ‘Stick with us kid, and we’ll get you a third!’. By then, she was recognised as one of Britain’s leading actresses. In 1978, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She was one of the most fondly remembered later guest stars on The Muppet Show because she told the producers that she would perform any material they liked; this turned out to be a role where she has a delusion that she is a pirate captain who hijacks the Muppet Theatre as her ship. In 1989, she appeared in Ken Russell’s The Rainbow, playing Anna Brangwen, mother of Gudrun, the part which had won her her first Academy Award.
And then —
The Glenda Jackson Theatre, on the Borough Road campus of Wirral Metropolitan College, Birkenhead, was named after her in 1983. It closed in 2003, and was demolished by Wirral Council, to make way for a new housing estate, in 2004
This quite logically led to —
Jackson retired from acting in order to enter the House of Commons in the 1992 general election as the Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate. After the 1997 general election, she was appointed a junior minister in the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair, with responsibility for London Transport, a post she resigned before an attempt to be nominated as the Labour Party candidate for the election of the first Mayor of London in 2000. The nomination was eventually won by Frank Dobson, who lost the election to Ken Livingstone, the independent candidate. In the 2005 general election, she received 14,615 votes, representing 38.29% of the votes cast in the constituency.
As a high profile backbencher she became a regular critic of Blair over his plans to introduce top-up fees in England. She also called for him to resign following the Judicial Enquiry by Lord Hutton in 2003 surrounding the reasons for going to war in Iraq and the death of government adviser Dr. David Kelly. Jackson was generally considered to be a traditional left-winger, often disagreeing with the dominant Blairite governing Third Way faction in the Labour Party.
By October 2005, her problems with Blair’s leadership swelled to a point where she threatened to challenge the Prime Minister as a stalking horse candidate in a leadership contest if he did not stand down within a reasonable amount of time. On 31 October 2006, Jackson was one of 12 Labour MPs to back Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party’s call for an inquiry into the Iraq War.
Her constituency boundaries changed for the 2010 general election. The Gospel Oak and Highgate wards became part of Holborn & St Pancras, and the new Hampstead & Kilburn constituency switched into Brent to include Brondesbury, Kilburn and Queens Park wards (from the old Brent East and Brent South seats). On 6 May 2010, Jackson was elected as the MP for the new Hampstead and Kilburn constituency with a margin of 42 votes over Conservative Chris Philp and Liberal Democrat Edward Fordham. She had the second closest result and second smallest majority of any MP in the 2010 election.
In June 2011, Jackson announced that, presuming the Parliament elected in 2010 lasts until 2015, she would not seek re-election. She explained “I will be almost 80 and by then it will be time for someone else to have a turn
But before she signs off — this triumph
What can one say but BRAVO!
And on a morepersonal note, Jacob Collier puts my thoughts about her into song — with the help of Jerome Kern