Glenda Jackson, born 80 years ago today, had an enviable acting career both on stage and screen. As a member of the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, where she and her cohorts helped to bring about a widespread, modern reappraisal of the Bard's work and later as a film actress, where she brought a new kind of screen presence to the fore. Her breakthrough screen role was in Ken Russell's adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's WOMEN IN LOVE (1969) and she won nearly every award in the book: Academy Award, National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, etc.
She followed this triumph with other major performances in films like SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY (1970), MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS (1971), A TOUCH OF CLASS (1973), for which she won her second Academy Award, and many more, through the '80s and into the '90s.
Her acting legacy could be called, with some understatement, secure. Which is why it is so admirable that she retired altogether from acting in pursuit of a new career, that of a Labour MP. In Parliament, she used her magnificent voice and bearing to advocate for progressive causes, often excoriating her opponents for cutting education and other services, and maintaining a staunch antiwar stance. She retired in 2015 after 23 years of service in Parliament.
Here she is in 2013, during Parliaments remarks about the departed Baroness Margaret Thatcher. On a day when the room was filled with sober tribute and remembrance, Jackson made sure that the spirit of anti-Thatcherism was heard loud and clear. By the time her argument reaches its climax, the dissents in the chamber are loud and raucous. It's really something, especially when Jackson refutes the argument of one who has come to pay tribute to her political enemy Thatcher for being the first woman prime minister. Jackson's response is personal, brilliantly phrased and acidic.