Remembering Glenda Jackson: The Life and Legacy of an Oscar-Winning Trailblazer

Glenda Jackson: Oscar-winning actor and politician passes away at 87


Glenda Jackson, the double Oscar-winning actor and former Labour MP, has died at the age of 87 after a “brief illness”. In this article, we pay homage to the life and career of this amazing woman who accomplished so much both in the entertainment industry and in politics.

Early Life and Education

Glenda Jackson was born in 1936 in Birkenhead, Merseyside, to a working-class family. She grew up dreaming of becoming a dancer, but when she grew too tall, she turned to acting. After failing her school certificate, she worked at her local Boots store and joined a friend at the YMCA amateur dramatics society. She later won a grant to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

Early Career

After joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964, Jackson made her film debut in Lindsay Anderson’s This Sporting Life. Her first Oscars win came in 1970, for her performance as Gudrun Brangwen in Ken Russell’s adaptation of the DH Lawrence novel, Women in Love. She won her second Oscar three years later for A Touch Of Class, the 1973 romantic comedy about an adulterous couple having an affair.

Career Break for Politics

In 1992, Jackson took a hiatus from acting and began a political career as a Labour Party lawmaker, serving under four different party leaders over the course of her 23-year career in Parliament. She was a vocal opponent of the Iraq War, and of tuition fees.

Late-in-Life Return to Stage and Screen

After leaving politics in 2015, Jackson made an acclaimed return to the stage, playing the lead role in a revival of King Lear. She also returned to screen acting, appearing in the TV series Elizabeth is Missing and the film The Great Escaper.

King Lear at 82

A large part of Jackson’s return to the spotlight was her 2016 portrayal of King Lear in London’s West End. She performed the role amidst rumours concerning her tenure previous tenure in politics. The performance won her the Best Actress award at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards which came with a scathing criticism of the Evening Standard’s criticism of her work over her career in politics.


Glenda Jackson will be remembered as one of the greats of British cinema and theatre, a performer who won countless awards and accolades, but never seemed to care much for them. She was a trailblazer too, one of the first actresses to make the jump from stage to screen and back again, and then to pursue a career in politics after a lifetime in the public eye. Her legacy serves as an inspiration to future generations of artists and politicians alike.

Reaction to her Death

Leading political figures and actors across the UK have paid tribute to Glenda Jackson, including co-star Michael Caine, who said: “I was saddened to hear that Glenda has passed away. She was a great actress, a wonderful person, and I always enjoyed working with her. She will be greatly missed by many.”


Glenda Jackson may be gone, but her legacy and incredible body of work remain. She was a true trailblazer, both in the arts and in politics, and will always be remembered as one of the greats of British cinema, stage, and public life.


Q: What were Glenda Jackson’s most famous movies?

A: Glenda Jackson’s two most famous movies are “Women in Love” and “A Touch of Class”.

Q: What did Glenda Jackson win her Oscars for?

A: Glenda Jackson won her Oscars for Best Actress in “Women in Love” in 1970 and “A Touch of Class” in 1973.

Q: What did Glenda Jackson think about awards?

A: Glenda Jackson did not care much for awards, preferring “getting a good part”.

Q: When did Jackson begin her political career?

A: Glenda Jackson began her parliamentary career in 1992.

Q: How did Glenda Jackson’s King Lear performance go?

A: Glenda Jackson’s performance as King Lear in 2016 won her Best Actress at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and was widely acclaimed.