Glenda Jackson, Two-Time Oscar Winner and Former Politician, Dead at 87

Glenda Jackson
Getty Images

The longtime English actress had an award-winning career, spanning the stage and screen.

Glenda Jackson, the two-time Oscar winning actress and former member of the U.K. Parliament, has died "after a brief illness." She was 87. 

Jackson's death was confirmed by her agent, who issued a statement to multiple media outlets. "Glenda Jackson, two-time Academy Award-winning actress and politician, died peacefully at her home in Blackheath, London this morning after a brief illness with her family at her side," the rep said.

A longtime performer, Jackson recently completed filming her role as Irene Jordan in The Great Escaper, a movie co-starring Michael Caine as a World War II veteran sneaking out of his care to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Norway. 

Born in Cheshire, England, in 1936, Jackson won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London before making her professional acting debut in 1957, with the stage play, Ted Willis' Doctor in the House. Not long after that, she began appearing on screen, both in films and on television. 

Jackson quickly became a formidable presence both on screen and the stage, earning several major accolades during her acting career, including two Academy Awards for Best Actress. The first one was for Women in Love in 1970, and the second one came three years later for A Touch of Class. In between her two Oscars, she also earned two Primetime Emmys for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in the Masterpiece Theatre production of Elizabeth R

Despite being nominated four previous times for Tony Awards for her time on the Broadway stage, it wasn't until 2018 that she won the award for Best Leading Actress in a Play for Three Tall Women. The win also earned her the Triple Crown of Acting, a rare feat bestowed upon performers who have earned at least one competitive Oscar, Emmy and Tony. 

In total, it took Jackson 47 years to earn the achievement, becoming only the 24th person to do it at the time since 1953. 

During that time, Jackson took an extended hiatus from acting for a life in politics. She put her celebrated career on hold in 1992, when she was elected to the House of Commons, the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. She remained there until she retired in 2015.

Since her return to the screen and stage, Jackson has appeared in the 2019 film, Mothering Sunday, as well as the TV special, Elizabeth Is Missing. She also followed up her Tony Award-winning performance in Three Tall Women by reprising the titular role in King Lear, a production she previously took on in 2016, a year after stepping away from politics. 

She also won two BAFTA Awards, an International Emmy and a Golden Globe during her award-winning stretch on screen. Her final wins were for Elizabeth Is Missing.

"We are deeply saddened to learn that award-winning actress and former MP Glenda Jackson has died at the age of 87," the BAFTAs wrote on Twitter. "Jackson became an international star in the 1970s and most recently won a BAFTA for her role in Elizabeth is Missing in 2020."

According to the BBC, Jackson is survived by a son and grandson.