Actress twice Oscar winner, muse of filmmaker Ken Russell, politically committed to the point of putting her artistic career aside in the early 1990s to become elected Labor Party, Glenda Jackson died at the age of 87.
Great British actress, twice Oscar winner for Best Actress in 1971 and 1974 for Love and A Mistress in the arms, a woman on her back, Glenda Jackson died this Thursday, June 15 in London, at the age of 87 years, at the end “a brief illness”.
The announcement was made by his agent Lionel Larne. Two-time Academy Award-winning actress and politician Glenda Jackson has passed away peacefully at her home […] this morning after a brief illness with his family by his side. She had just recently finished filming The Great Escaper in which she co-stars with Michael Caine“.
Born on May 9, 1936, the daughter of a bricklayer and a housekeeper, Glenda Jackson first worked as an employee in a pharmacy and took drama lessons for amateurs. Far from her modest family background, she managed to study at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
A double Oscar winner
Spotted by the great director Peter Brooks, he hired her in 1963 to play the character of Ophelia in his adaptation of Hamlet. A passion for the theater that will never leave her, and for which she will obtain no less than five citations at the Lawrence Olivier Awards.
Muse of filmmaker Ken Russell, he entrusts her with the title role of his film, adaptation of a work by DH Lawrence. In this work which deals with the war of the sexes and relations within the elite of the British industrial region of the Midlands in the 1920s, Glenda Jackson gives the answer to Oliver Reed, another favorite actor of the filmmaker. Jackson will win the Oscar for Best Actress for her composition.
In 1971, she won a BAFTA for Best Actress thanks to John Schlesinger in the sentimental drama Un Dimanche comme les autres. Her role as a divorced mother of two in the comedywill earn her her second Oscar for Best Actress.
Renowned for her intense dramatic compositions, she nevertheless won, to everyone’s surprise, the statuette for a role in a light comedy, in the face of actresses who were much more favorites: Ellen Burstyn in The Exorcist, Marsha Mason in Permission to love, Barbra Streisand in Our Best Years, and Joanne Woodward in Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams. Jackson does not come to Hollywood to seek his prize, and is represented by his director Melvin Frank.
The political shift
After 35 years spent in theater and cinema, Glenda Jackson, fiercely anti-Thatcher, is entering politics. In 1992, she was thus elected as a member of the Labor Party, and kept her constituency until 2015. She was even part, albeit briefly, of the government of Tony Blair, in which she obtained the portfolio of the Ministry of Transport, from 1997 to 1999.
After leaving the political scene in 2015, she found her way back to the boards and film sets, notably playing a woman with dementia for the BBC in Elizabeth Is Missing, which earned her a BAFTA. His final role, at the age of 87, is therefore in The Great Escaper.
Directed by Oliver Parker, the film tells the authentic story of British veteran Bernard Jordan (played by Michael Caine) who escaped from his retirement home in June 2014 in order to be able to join his comrades in combat during the ceremonies organized to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the landing of the allied forces in Normandy.
While she worked with renowned filmmakers and directors throughout her great career, Jackson always feared that each of her roles would be her last. “I never got to a point where I wasn’t worried about not working as an actress anymore” she declared in the columns of the British newspaper. “It’s a very crowded job, and especially crowded if you’re a woman. The writers don’t find women that interesting.”
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Two-time Oscar winner Glenda Jackson dies at 87