- (1936 - ) British actress, who has brought an abrasiveintegrity to many classic and contemporary roles, both on stage and in films.The daughter of a bricklayer and a cleaning lady, she worked as a shop assistantbefore taking elocution and fencing lessons and being acceptedinto the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (see RADA). However,Jackson recalled that after graduating "I spent the first ten yearsmainly out of work." She made her debut in London in 1957 atthe Arts Theatre Club in All Kinds of Men, before appearingin the West End in Bill Naughton's Alfie (1963).
In 1964 Jackson joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and appearedin the celebrated Theatre of Cruelty season, giving a highlypraised performance as Charlotte Corday in Peter Brook'sproduction of Weiss's Marat/Sade in London and on Broadway.In 1967 she played Masha in Chekhov's Three Sisters at theRoyal Court Theatre and in 1975 toured Britain, America, and Australiain the title role of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. Three years laterJackson appeared opposite Alan Howard in Peter Brook's production of Antonyand Cleopatra - a role she later burlesqued in the Morecambeand Wise Christmas Show (according to Jackson, the highlight of heracting career).
In 1983 Jackson became director of the United British Artistsproduction company, whose members include Diana Rigg, Albert Finney,and Ben Kingsley. She received outstanding reviews in 1984 as Ninain O'Neill's five-hour drama Strange Interlude at the Dukeof York's Theatre, London, a production seen the following year onBroadway. In 1988 she starred in Macbeth on Broadway, and in1990 in Brecht's Mother Courage in London.
Her international film career has brought her two Academy Awardsas Best Actress, for Women in Love (1970) and A Touch ofClass (1973). Her most memorable television role came in 1971,when she played Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth R.
Jackson's career in the theater went into abeyance when shewas elected Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate in 1992. She remainsthe only British MP to have won an Oscar.