(LONDON) British actress Glenda Jackson, who won two Oscars before devoting herself to Labor Party politics, died Thursday at the age of 87, her agent announced, prompting many tributes.
“Glenda Jackson, two-time Academy Award-winning actress and politician, passed away peacefully at her home in Blackheath, London, after a brief illness alongside her family,” said Lionel Larner.
“She had recently finished filming The Great Escaper with Michael Caine,” he added.
“It was a fantastic experience, as it had been 50 years ago. I will miss her,” reacted the latter, aged 90, who had already shot in 1975 with Glenda Jackson in the film A romantic Englishwoman, and described her as “one of our greatest film actresses”.
Ken Russel’s muse, she won her first Oscar in 1970 for Love, an adaptation of D. H Lawrence’s daring novel about the passionate relationship between two sisters and their lovers.
In 1973, it was with the comedy A mistress in the arms, a woman on her back that she won her second statuette thanks to her composition of a divorced woman trapped in an impossible love with a married man.
Born on May 9, 1936 in Birkenhead, a small port opposite Liverpool, this daughter of a builder and a cleaner first worked as an employee in a pharmacy and took drama lessons for amateurs. Despite the lack of family support, she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and went on tour.
This is how director Peter Brook spotted her and hired her in 1963 to play his Ophelia in Hamlet.
After 35 years of career in theater and cinema, she went into politics to fight Margaret Thatcher, whom she accused of destroying British society. Elected in 1992 as a Labor MP for the London suburbs, she kept her constituency until 2015 and distinguished herself by her particular attention to the “poor, the unemployed and the sick”.
Appointed as Minister of Transport in the government of Tony Blair from 1997 to 1999, she became a fierce opponent after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
His passing “leaves a void in our cultural and political life that will never be filled,” said Labor Party leader Keir Starmer.