She has one son by her ex-husband, Roy Hodges whom she married in 1958 and divorced in 1976.
Having studied acting at RADA, Jackson made her professional stage debut in Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables in 1957, and her film debut in This Sporting Life in 1963. Subsequently a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for four years, she worked for director Peter Brook in several productions, including of Peter Weiss' Marat/Sade as Charlotte Corday. Jackson also appeared in the film version.
Fame came with Jackson's starring role in the controversial Women in Love (1969) for which she won her first Academy Award for Best Actress, and another controversial role as Tchaikovsky's nymphomaniac wife in Ken Russell's The Music Lovers added to her image of being prepared to do almost anything for her art. She confirmed this by having her head shaved in order to play Queen Elizabeth I of England in the BBC's 1971 blockbuster serial, Elizabeth R. Her portrayal of Elizabeth I is considered unparalled in accuracy by Elizabethan scholars.She received two Emmy Awards for her work in this series. In the same year, she also appeared in a BBC Morecambe and Wise Show, playing Cleopatra in a comedy sketch which is generally recognised as one the funniest sequences in British TV history.
Filmmaker Melvin Frank watched this and saw her comedic potential and offered her the lead female role in his next project. She earned a second Academy Award for Best Actress for this particular comic role in A Touch of Class (1973), and Eric and Ernie apparently sent her a telegram saying: 'Stick with us kid, and we'll get you a third!'. She also portrayed Queen Elizabeth in a film about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots and she has been recognised as one of Britain's leading actresses. In 1978, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Until recently, a theatre and arts academy in Borough Road, Birkenhead was named after her. It has been demolished by Wirral Council and replaced with flats.
As a high profile backbencher she became a regular critic of Blair over his plans to introduce top-up fees. She also called for him to resign following the Judicial Enquiry by Lord Hutton in 2003 surrounding the reasons for going to war in Iraq and the death of government adviser Dr. David Kelly. Jackson was generally considered to be a traditional left-winger, often disagreeing with the dominant Blairite governing centre-left faction in the Labour Party.
By October 2005, her problems with Blair's leadership swelled to a point where she threatened to challenge the Prime Minister as a stalking horse candidate in a leadership contest if he didn't stand down within a reasonable amount of time. On 31 October, 2006, Jackson was one of 12 Labour MPs to back Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party's call for an inquiry into the Iraq War.
Her constituency boundaries will change dramatically at the next election. Gospel Oak and Highgate wards will become part of Holborn & St Pancras, and the new Hampstead & Kilburn ward will cross the border into Brent to include Brondesbury, Kilburn and Queens Park wards (from the old Brent East and Brent South seats). It is not yet known whether she intends to stand again.
|1963||This Sporting Life||Extra||Uncredited|
|1963||This Sporting Life||Singer at party||Uncredited|
|1967||Benefit of the Doubt||Bit part|
|Marat/Sade||Inmate portraying Charlotte Corday|
|1968||Tell Me Lies||Guest|
|The Wednesday Play||Julie||Let's Murder Vivaldi|
|1969||Women in Love||Gudrun Brangwen||Academy Award for Best Actress;|
Nominated - BAFTA Award; Nominated - Golden Globe
|ITV Saturday Night Theatre||Marina Palek||Salve Regina|
|1970||Play of the Month||Howards End; Nominated - BAFTA TV Award|
|The Music Lovers||Nina (Antonina Milyukova)|
|1971||Sunday Bloody Sunday||Alex Greville||BAFTA Award;|
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress
|The Boy Friend||Rita||Uncredited|
|Mary, Queen of Scots||Queen Elizabeth I||Nominated - Golden Globe|
|Elizabeth R||Queen Elizabeth I||TV mini-series; Emmy Award;|
Nominated - BAFTA TV Award
|1972||The Triple Echo||Alice|
|1973||A Touch of Class||Vicki Allessio||Academy Award for Best Actress;|
Golden Globe; Nominated - BAFTA Award
|A Bequest to the Nation||Lady Hamilton|
|1975||The Romantic Englishwoman||Elizabeth Fielding|
|Il Sorriso del grande tentatore||Sister Geraldine|
|Hedda||Hedda Gabler||Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress;|
Nominated - Golden Globe
|1976||The Incredible Sarah||Sarah Bernhardt||Nominated - Golden Globe|
|1977||Nasty Habits||Sister Alexandra|
|1978||House Calls||Ann Atkinson|
|Stevie||Stevie Smith||Nominated - Golden Globe|
|The Class of Miss MacMichael||Conor MacMichael|
|1979||Lost and Found||Tricia|
|1980||Hopscotch||Isobel von Schonenberg|
|1981||The Patricia Neal Story||Patricia Neal||TV - Nominated - Golden Globe|
|1982||The Return of the Soldier||Margaret Grey|
|1984||Sakharov||Yelena Bonner (Sakharova)||TV - Nominated - Golden Globe|
|1985||Turtle Diary||Neaera Duncan|
|Business as Usual||Babs Flynn|
|1988||Strange Interlude||Nina Leeds||TV|
|Salome's Last Dance||Herodias / Lady Alice|
|1989||The Rainbow||Anna Brangwen|
|King of the Wind||Queen Caroline|
|1990||T-Bag's Christmas Ding Dong||Vanity Bag||TV|
|The Real Story of Humpty Dumpty||Glitch the Witch (voice)|
|1991||The House of Bernarda Alba||Bernarda Alba||TV|
|A Murder of Quality||Ailsa Brimley||TV|
|1992||The Secret Life of Arnold Bax||Harriet Cohen||TV|
|1994||A Wave of Passion: The Life of Alexandra Kollontai||Alexandra Kollontai (voice)||TV|