Glenda Mary Jackson, CBE was born on May 9,1936 in Birkenhead, Cheshire, in the U.K. She is perhaps best known for her Oscar-winning performances in A Touch of Class and Women in Love, her Oscar-nominated performances in Hedda and Sunday Bloody Sunday, as well as her time as an active member of Parliament in the U.K. from 1992 through 2015.
Jackson attended West Kirby County Grammar School for Girls and was also a keen member of the Towns Women's Guild drama group during her teenage years. She received a scholarship to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1954. Whilst at RADA, she made her professional stage debut in Terence Rattigan's Seperate Tables in 1957 and worked in repertory for the next six years. She made a name for herself on the stage after becoming a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964 and remained with them for four years. Perhaps her most notable role during this period was as asylum inmate Charlotte Corday, the assassin of Marat, in Peter Weiss' Marat/Sade (the shortened name for The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade) in 1965. After the play's West End run, a Broadway transfer opened in December 1965, with Jackson making her Broadway debut and receiving her first Tony Award nomination in 1966. Back in London, she also earned critical acclaim for her performances in the Vietnam War protest play US in 1966 and as Ophelia in Hamlet in 1967.
In the mid-1970s, Jackson returned to the RSC stage to play the titular role in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler and went on to earn her first Olivier Award nomination in 1977 for her performance in Stevie. She received a second Olivier Award nomination in 1979 for Antony and Cleopatra and a third nomination in 1980 for her performance as the titular character in Rose. She returned to Broadway and reprised the latter performance in 1981, earning her second Tony Award nomination. She starred in a London revival of Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude as Nina Leeds, which also transferred to Broadway. Jackson picked up a fourth Olivier Award nomination in 1984 and a third Tony Award nomination in 1985 for her performances. Jackson returned to Broadway to take on the iconic role of Lady Macbeth (opposite Christopher Plummer) in the 1988 Broadway revival of the Shakespearean classic. This led to her fourth Tony Award nomination in as many Broadway appearances.
In 1989, Jackson took on the iconic role of Martha (opposite John Lithgow) in a Los Angeles production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and in 1990, she returned to the London stage as Galactia, a 16th-century female Venetian artist, in Howard Baker's Scenes from an Execution at the Almeida Theatre.
Over the course of her prolific career in film and television, Jackson became a breakout star of the 1970s, winning Academy Awards in 1971 for Women in Love and in 1974 for A Touch of Class, and receiving Academy Award nominations in 1972 for Sunday Bloody Sunday and in 1976 for Hedda. Other standout screen performances include her double Emmy Award-winning portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth R in 1972 and her 1982 Emmy-nominated performance as the titular character in The Patricia Neal Story. She also earned a Golden Globe nomination for the latter, as well as for Sakharov (1985), Stevie (1979), The Incredible Sarah (1977), and Mary, Queen of Scots (1972).
Jackson decided on a headline-making career change in the early 1990s and became a member of Parliament in the U.K. in 1992, even serving as a Junior Transport minister under Tony Blair from 1997 to 1999, before officially retiring from politics in 2015.
Jackson returned to acting after after a 23-year absence in Émile Zola's Blood, Sex and Money on BBC Radio 4 in 2015 and returned to the British stage in October 2016 to take on the titular role in the Old Vic's gender-bending revival of Shakespeare's King Lear, which earned her a fifth Olivier Award nomination. She returned to Broadway for the first time after almost 30 years in Edward Albee's Three Tall Women from February 27 to June 24, 2018, and won the 2018 Tony Award in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her efforts.
She returned to Broadway and once again took on the title role in a brand new production of King Lear at Broadway's Cort Theatre from February 28 through June 9, 2019.