- Category : Political
- Type : PSE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Defiance 1
Glenda May Jackson, CBE, (born 9 May 1936) is a two-time Academy Award-winning British actress and politician, currently Labour Member of Parliament for the constituency of Hampstead and Highgate in the London Borough of Camden.
She was born in Birkenhead, The Wirral, Cheshire, across the River Mersey from Liverpool, into a working-class family, and once worked in a Boots pharmacy store.
She has one son by her ex-husband, Roy Hodges.
Having studied acting at RADA, 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, 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 of England in the BBC's 1971 blockbuster serial, Elizabeth R. Her portrayal of Elizabeth I is considered unparalled in accuracy by Elizabethan scholars. In the same year, she also appeared in a BBC Morecambe and Wise Show, playing Cleopatra in a comedy sketch which is generally recognised as one the funniest sequences in British TV history.
Filmmaker Melvin Frank watched this and 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 this particular comic role in A Touch of Class (1973), and Eric and Ernie apparently sent her a telegram saying: 'Stick with us kid, and we'll get you a third!'. She also portrayed Queen Elizabeth in a film about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots and she has been recognised as one of Britain's leading actresses. In 1978, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Until recently, a theatre and arts academy in Borough Road, Birkenhead was named after her. It has been demolished by Wirral Council and replaced with flats.
She 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 has become a regular critic of Blair over his plans to introduce top-up fees. 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 is generally considered to be a traditional left-winger, often disagreeing with the dominant Blairite governing centre-right 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 didn't 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 will change dramatically at the next election. Gospel Oak and Highgate wards will become part of Holborn & St Pancras, and the new Hampstead & Kilburn ward will cross the border into Brent to include Brondesbury, Kilburn and Queens Park wards (from the old Brent East and Brent South seats). It is not yet known whether she intends to stand again.