Glenda Jackson

Last updated on the 6 June 2024 by Evandrus

Glenda Jackson headshot

Mini Biography

Born: 9 May 1936, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England. 

Glenda Jackson defied expectations with a life that traversed the bright lights of theatre and film to the rigorous world of British politics. Her journey began humbly, the daughter of a bricklayer and a cleaning lady. Leaving school at 16, the young  Jackson found a passion for theatre in amateur productions. This passion, coupled with her undeniable talent, earned her a scholarship to the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

Women in Love - Glenda Jackson
Women in Love – Glenda Jackson

Following her graduation in 1956, Jackson embarked on a period gaining experience in repertory theatre. These early years were a crucible, where she developed the stage presence that would become her trademark – a steely gaze, a commanding voice and an ability to portray complex emotions with raw intensity. Her big break came in 1964 when director Peter Brook cast her in the controversial play “Marat/Sade.” Jackson’s portrayal of the revolutionary Charlotte Corday was a revelation, catapulting her to national attention.

The success on stage translated seamlessly to the silver screen. Glenda Jackson’s film debut in “The Knack…and How to Get It” (1965) established her as a rising star. She wasn’t afraid to take on challenging roles, characters often wrestling with internal demons or societal constraints. Her performances in “Women in Love” (1969) and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1971) earned her critical acclaim and Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. The latter half of the 1970s saw Jackson continue to excel, winning her first Oscar for her portrayal of a sardonic divorcee in “A Touch of Class” (1973).

Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth I
Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth I

Television also provided a platform for Glenda Jackson’s talent. She captivated audiences in miniseries like “Elizabeth R” (1971), where she embodied the complexities of Queen Elizabeth I, and “The Patricia Neal Story” (1981), a poignant portrayal of a stroke survivor. Throughout her career, Jackson gravitated towards intelligent scripts and characters that challenged traditional female archetypes. Whether it was the sardonic businesswoman in “Hopscotch” (1981) or the fiercely independent doctor in “House Calls” (1978), she brought depth and nuance to every role.

Glenda Jackson warried to actor Roy Hodges from 1958 to 1976, they had one son together. Beyond acting, she harboured a deep interest in politics, a passion that would eventually lead her down a new path. In 1992, Jackson successfully transitioned from the world of make-believe to the halls of Parliament, winning a seat as a Labour Party MP. This marked a significant shift, one that saw her dedicate the next 23 years to public service.

Glenda Jackson’s life stands as a testament to her remarkable talent and unwavering dedication. From her working-class roots to her Oscar-winning performances, she left an indelible mark on both stage and screen. And while her political career brought a different kind of spotlight, her legacy remains firmly rooted in her captivating portrayals of unforgettable characters.


BAFTA award


WINNER | Film: Actress for Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1972)


Oscar award


WINNER | Best Actress for Women in Love (1970) | Best Actress for A Touch of Class (1973)



Suggested viewing


Elizabeth R (1971)

Elizabeth R (1971) poster

Bftv 9.5 / IMDb 8.7

A young princess, haunted by a turbulent past, traverses the treacherous waters of court intrigue and religious upheaval to become a powerful queen, forging a path for England as she grapples with loneliness, love and the burdens of leadership.

Top cast: Glenda Jackson, Ronald Hines, Robert Hardy, Stephen Murray, John Shrapnel, Angela ThorneRobin Ellis, Peter Jeffrey, Rachel Kempson, Vivian Pickles.


Mary, Queen of Scots (1971)

Mary, Queen of Scots poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.1

A Catholic queen returning to a Protestant Scotland faces political and religious turmoil. Clashing with her powerful cousin, the Queen of England, she traverses a treacherous path of love, betrayal and imprisonment in a fight for her crown.

Top cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Glenda Jackson, Patrick McGoohan, Timothy Dalton, Nigel Davenport, Trevor Howard, Daniel Massey, Ian Holm.

More Elizabeth I

Elizabeth poster     Elizabeth: The Golden Age poster      Becoming Elizabeth poster


Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)

Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.0

Entangled in a web of love, a free-spirited young man juggles passionate relationships with a divorced woman and a successful doctor, navigating the emotional complexities of a love triangle where none of them are truly fulfilled.

Top cast: Peter Finch, Glenda Jackson, Murray Head, Murray Head, Peggy Ashcroft, Tony Britton, Maurice Denham, Bessie Love, Vivian Pickles, Frank Windsor, Thomas Baptiste, June Brown.


A Touch of Class (1973)

A Touch of Class poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.5

An unexpected affair blossoms between a married American businessman and a divorced British woman during a business trip. Their clandestine encounters turn serious, forcing them to confront their desires, cultural differences and the potential consequences of upending their established lives.

Top cast: George Segal, Glenda Jackson, Paul Sorvino, K Callan, Cec Linder, Michael Elwyn, Mary Barclay, Nadim Sawalha, Ian Thompson.


The Music Lovers (1971)

The Music Lovers poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.2

Tormented composer Tchaikovsky, struggles with his artistic genius and societal pressures, grappling with his hidden desires and a disastrous marriage, all while his music continues to capture the complexities of the human experience.

Top cast: Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson, Max Adrian, Christopher Gable, Kenneth Colley, Izabella Telezynska, Maureen Pryor, Bruce Robinson.


Stevie (1978)

Stevie (1978) poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 6.9

Confined by suburban life and a domineering aunt, a brilliant but eccentric poet finds solace in her words, navigating the drudgery of daily routines while yearning for connection and a life that reflects the vibrancy of her imagination.

Top cast: Glenda Jackson, Mona Washbourne, Alec McCowen, Trevor Howard, Emma Louise Fox.


The Maids (1975)

The Maids (1975) poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 6.3

Two repressed sisters, working as maids for a wealthy woman, escape their frustrations through elaborate role-playing. They alternate between mistress and servant, indulging in fantasies of power and rebellion, but the line between reality and their twisted games begins to blur with dangerous consequences.

Top cast: Glenda Jackson, Susannah York, Vivien Merchant, Mark Burns.


Marat/Sade (1967)

Marat/Sade (1967) poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.5

Within the confines of an asylum, notorious author Marquis de Sade, stages a chaotic play re-enacting the assassination of revolutionary figure Jean Paul Marat, blurring the lines between sanity and madness as the patients embody the characters and their own repressed desires.

Top cast: Patrick Magee, Clifford Rose, Glenda Jackson, Ian Richardson, Michael Williams, Freddie Jones, Hugh Sullivan, John Hussey.


Glenda Jackson full filmography @ Wikipedia
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