West News Wire: Glenda Jackson, a two-time Academy Award-winning actress who also served as a British lawmaker and pursued a second career in politics before making a well-received comeback to stage and cinema in her later years, passed away at age 87.
She passed away on Thursday at her London home, according to Jackson’s agent Lionel Larner, following a brief illness. He claimed that she had just finished filming “The Great Escaper,” in which she had a supporting role alongside Michael Caine, 90.
Jackson received his training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London after being born into a working-class family in Birkhenhead, northwest England, in 1936. She appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she starred in the avant-garde drama “Marat/Sade,” which was directed by Peter Brook. She went on to become one of the biggest British stars of the 1960s and 1970s and won two Academy Awards, for “Women in Love” in 1971 and “A Touch of Class” in 1974.
On television, she took home two Emmy Awards in 1972 for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in “Elizabeth R.,” and secured a place in British pop-culture history by playing Cleopatra in a classic sketch on “The Morecambe & Wise Show” in 1971. “All men are fools,” she proclaimed in what became a famous one-liner, “and what makes them so is seeing beauty like what I have got.”
In her 50s Jackson went into politics, winning election to Parliament in 1992. She spent 23 years as a Labour Party lawmaker, serving as a minister for transport in Prime Minister Tony Blair’s first government in 1997.
She came to be at odds with Blair over the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She said Blair’s decision to enter the U.S.-led war without United Nations’ authorization left her “deeply, deeply ashamed.”
“The victims will be as they always are, women, children, the elderly,” she told The Associated Press before the invasion.
Jackson’s blunt manner and outspokenness continued throughout her political career, and may have helped keep her from high government office. After former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died in 2013, she eschewed politeness about the dead to rail in Parliament against the “heinous social, economic and spiritual damage wreaked upon this country” by the late leader.
Jackson returned to acting after leaving Parliament in 2015 and had some of her most acclaimed roles, including the title character in Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” It opened at London’s Old Vic in 2016 and later played on Broadway.
She had her first film role in a quarter-century in the 2019 movie “Elizabeth is Missing.” Jackson won a BAFTA award, Britain’s equivalent of an Oscar, for her performance as a woman with Alzheimer’s trying to solve a mystery.
Tulip Siddiq, Jackson’s successor as Labour lawmaker for the London seat of Hampstead and Kilburn, said she was “devastated to hear that my predecessor Glenda Jackson has died.”
“A formidable politician, an amazing actress and a very supportive mentor to me. Hampstead and Kilburn will miss you Glenda,” Siddiq wrote on Twitter.
Jackson is survived by her son, Dan Hodges.