Friday 16 June 2023

Goodbye Glenda!

It must have been around 2001, Liz was a student in London, and one Saturday afternoon she telephoned me, very excited
"Mum, I've just seen Glenda Jackson in the Garden Centre in Blackheath!!" 
"Oh Wow! Glenda Jackson the actress? How fantastic!" 
"No Mum, the Labour MP..."
And I suddenly realised that this brilliant woman had given up acting to become an MP when Liz was about 10, and so Liz only recognised this woman for her second career in politics. 
When I was 16, I loved watching this fiery woman portraying Queen Elizabeth I in the BBC series-  from the feisty young woman to the tired old monarch, it was riveting viewing [we only had a black and white TV then, sadly]
She was superb. Her working class roots meant she understood grim poverty, but she also was wonderful in Shakespearian roles, and film adaptations of DH Lawrence books.
In 1971, she received an Oscar for "Women in Love" - and 18 years later in "The Rainbow" she acted as the mother of the character she'd played in the earlier film.
From 1957-1992 she was in films,on TV, with the RSC and acting on Broadway. 
But all the time she held strong political values - fighting for women's right, protesting against the VIetnam War, supporting Oxfam and the International year of the child. A lifelong member of the Labour Party.
She left the stage and in 1992 became the  Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate [later Hampstead and Kilburn], serving till 2015. She stood no nonsense, and spoke her mind. A champion of the underdog - she really did care about making the country and better place. 
And then aged 79 she retired from Parliament and returned to the stage again in 2015.
At the age of 80 she played the title role in King KLear to great acclaim.
She is one of only 24 people to win the Triple Crown of Acting Awards [Oscar, Emmy, Tony] But it took her nearly half a century to do it!
Oscar in 1971, Emmy in 1972 - and the Tony in 2018. 
In her last role, based on a true story, she plays the wife of a WW2 veteran [played by Michael Caine]who absconds from his Sussex care home to go to France for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. I am looking forward to seeing The Great Escaper.
Having been friends for years, Sir Michael led the tributes when her death was announced this week
What did she regard as the best moment - she always said that the apotheosis of her acting career was appearing as Cleopatra in the Morecambe and Wise Show.
She was so popular, that she was invited back again.

Thank you Ms Jackson - for your wonderful acting - and for the years you spent working on behalf of your constituents and your country. RIP


  1. I watched an interview with her on the news, today. I hadn't realized she had been an MP for some time!

  2. I liked her! I first saw her in a children's tv show- she played Vanity Bag in 'T-Bag's Christmas Dingdong' and I have fond memories of Elisabeth Estensen and she dressed to the nines in a cat fight over who would be the fairy at the top of the Christmas tree! I always remember my Mum telling me that it was Glenda Jackson! Kx

    1. That film was made in 1990. I never watched TBag

  3. A wonderful actress and a fine human being. I felt very sad to hear that she had died yesterday.
    I remember being terribly moved by her portrayal of Tchaikovsky's wife in the film. Elizabeth R was stunning and so enjoyable.
    Rest in Peace Glenda Jackson.

    1. Totally agree. The range of characters she portrayed was amazing, from Shakespearian tragedy to childlike humour!

  4. Replies
    1. Thankyou Philip, typo corrected. She had SO much energy, didn't she? Many younger actresses, with their botox, implants, plastic surgery etc would do well to look at these Grand Dames of the British theatre - octagenarians like Vanessa Redgrave, Judi Dench., Diana Rigg etc. Women who have accepted that the bloom of youth will inevitably fade, but that true acting skills go on developing. I'd also mention Frances De La Tour - but she's a mere 78!

  5. Great actress, good sport and a very passionate and dedicated politician. Catriona

  6. Simply a great woman. It seems that we are losing so many good people this year.

  7. I think she really did come into the category of"the great and the good"

  8. Glenda Jackson has been a favorite in our household, too. A wonderful actress and an admirable woman. May she rest in peace.



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