Glenda Jackson


  1. Anouk Aimée, Justine, 1968.      Glenda or nobody as Lawrence Durrell’s enigmatic heroine said the Ulysses director, Joseph Strick.  Result: No Glenda – and no Strick. He was fired, replaced George Cukor, who quickly OK’d the French beauty – hardly an actress of the required depth.
  2. Vanessa Redgrave, The Devils,  1971.     “Please, Ken,” she begged Ken Russell,  “I’ve had enough of nuerotic, sex-starved women.  Don’t ask me to go crazy and start tearing off my clothes again.”  So, she swopped roles with  Vanessa,  taking on director John Schlesinger’s Sunday, Bloody Sunday. “Ken punished me  in a plaster cast from 6am-8pm” for her guest spot in The Boyfriend.
  3. Liza Minnelli, Cabaret, 1971.  Confirming the fact that director Bob Fosse was here to stay (alas not for long enough), Cabaret stems from the Weimar Berlin stories by Christopher Isherwood who based his main character (he is the other one!) Sally Bowles on the British often naked teenage libertine flapper-actress-singer-writer Jean Ross – later Communist , Spanish civil war correspondent and lover of jazz pianist (later actor) Peter van Eyck.  On her father’s advice, Minnelli (rejected for the Broadway production!) chanelled Louise Brooks as Sally. Isherwood said Liza was too talented  such a “medicore” singer.  Never said what he thought of her dozen rivals: Ursula Andfess, Julie Andrews, Ann-Margret, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Jill Ireland (!), Glenda Jackson, Shirley MacLaine, Barbra Streisand, Brenda Vaccaro, Natalie Wood. Plus Julie Christie… with Warren Beatty as her gay pal Brian!
  4. Hildegarde Neil,  Antony and  Cleopatra, 1972.     “Believe me,” Orson Welles told his friend Charlton Heston,  “if you don’t find a great Cleopatra,  you can’t do this play.”   Welles wuz right. Glenda had  played  Cleo on  a 1971  Morecambe  &  Wise BBC show ( “All men are fools and what makes them so is having beauty like what I have got”) and, because of that,  with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1978. Heston first thought of Anne Bancroft, and it was her husband, Mel Brooks, who said no thank you. Next: Diana Rigg, Portia in the 1969 Julius Caesar. “Charley Hero” then shuffled through Sophia Loren (the El Cid co-star he never got on with), the Greek Irene Papas and four other true Brits: Glenda Jackson, Vanessa Redgrave, Susannah York – and signed the less expensive Neil. The film was, sang The Guardian critic Derek Malcolm, “The Biggest Asp Disaster in the World.”
  5. Liv Ullmann, 40 Carats,1973.     Also seen for the fortysomething falling for a twentysomething in Greece were Doris Day (!), Audrey Hepburn,  Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, Elizabeth Taylor, Joanne Woodward.
  6. Elizabeth  Taylor,  The Driver’s Seat/Identikit,  Italy, 1974.     Italian maestro Luchino Visconti’s  plan  in  1970. However, a lesser director.Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, made the film  and it  was never heard of again…
  7. Stephane Audran,  Black Bird, 1975.     George Segal badly needed her Touch of Class but shooting clashed with The Maids.
  8. Katharine Hepburn, Rooster Cogburn, 1974.   If well enough to reprise his Oscar-winning True Grit marshal, John Wayne wanted Ingrid Bergman as Eula Goodnight, no less. Producer Hal Wallis shortlisted Bette Davis, Maureen O’Hara, (of course!). Plus true Brits Jackson, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith.   But he rejected any comeback for Loretta Young (his producer son Mike Wayne’s godmother) which is when Duke, trying to avoid two wrinklie co-stars, suggested Mary Tyler Moore. Hepburn won because the script by ex-Duke co-star Martha Hyer (Mrs Wallis, credited as Martin Julien) was a flagrant rehash of Hepburn’s African Queen – as pathetic as director Stuart Miller. It was his second feature. The “6ft 6ins sonuvabitch no-talent, ” as Duke termed him, never made a third.
  9. Goldie Hawn, The Duchess and The Dirtwater Fox, 1977. Glenda’s surprise 1973 comedy foil, George Segal, was Charlie “Dirtwater Fox” Malloy – just not when she was due to make the allegedly comic Western: a foul-mouthed prostitute v cutesy cardsharp.. Back then, The Fox was The Falk – Peter Falk. She selected scripts better than Segal – and when good material ran out, she quit in 1992 and was elected (for four terms) as a Socialist Member of the British Parliament in 1992. She became a junior minister under Tony Blair – and was once suggested as his successor as Prime Minister. (She returned to the stage in 2016 as… King Lear). Goldie also learned…. “that I should never curse in a film, just doesn’t match my image. It would be a different matter if it were Taxi Driver… and it wasn’t Mel Brooks, either.”
  10. Piper Laurie, Tim, Australia 1979.      “Very  interested but unavailable until April 1982,” she told down-under actor-turned-producer Michael Pate. So Carrie‘s mum became the mother of an unknown called… Mel Gibson.

  11. Maggie  Smith,  Quartet, 1981.     Before Merchant-Ivory took over, Glenda  planned it with her production partner Robert  Enders.  They managed five films, during 1974-1988.
  12. Karen Black,  The Grass Is Singing, Sweden-Zambia, 1981.    Karen  made a wondrous,  if surprising substitute in “the hardest role and accent of my  life.  She was so anti-sexual and  repressed – losing her mind.”  Off-screen,  Karen lost  her heart to director Michael Raeburn and unwound by replacing Jeanne Moreau in Chanel Solitaire in Paris within days of finishing her greatest unsung (unseen?) performance.
  13.  Sheila Ruskin, Doctor Who #114: The Keeper of the Traken, TV, 1981.     She declined the elderly Keeper’s wife Kassia in good company: Glenda, Helen Mirren, Fiona Walker and two Avengers, Joanna Lumley and Diana Rigg! They all decided against visiting the Traken Union empire of peace and harmony, with Doc4 Tom Baker.
  14. Jessica Lange, Frances, 1982.      Howard Hawks  said  she always seemed to be shining. “More talent than anyone I ever worked with.”She and Vivien Leigh were beaten by Ingrid Bergman toFor Whom The Bell Tolls, 1943 She’s the subject of various books, plays (viz Sally Clarke’s Saint Frances of Hollywood),  pop and rock songs – French-Canadian singer Mylène Farmer even took her name. All actresses loved her talent and guts (when wrongfully committed to asylums by her parents) and 23  wanted to be…  Frances Farmer.  From the sublime to the ridiculous: Meryl Streep, to Susan Dey  of TV’s Partridge Family. Kim Basinger tested with Sam Shepard (Lange’s husband). Undaunted Susan Blakely made her own 1983  TVersion (from Farmer’s book, Will There Really Be A Morning?). Plus Anne Archer, Ann-Margret, Blythe Danner, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Glenda Jackson, Diane Keaton, Liza Minnelli, Michelle Phillips, Katharine Ross, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood.
  15. Susan Blakely, Will There Really Be Morning? TV, 1983,     The alternate Frances Farmer biopic was one of Natalie Wood’s passion-projects that got away in 1966. Blakely, who made her name in TV’s Rich Man, Poor Man,won the rights to Farmer’s own book and held every other actress at bay, insisting on playing Francis, herself. And that shed id. Triumphantly.
  16. Lynda Baron,Doctor Who #127: Enlightenment,TV, 1983.       It was some years before producer John Nathan-Taylor revealed he had first invited Glenda to play the villainess Captain Wrack, skipper of the pirate ship, Buccaneer – opposite Doc5 Peter Davison. Well, this was a special ocasion – the first (and only) Whoverse episode scripted and directed by women, Barbara Clegg and Fiona Cumming, respectively.   Jackson retired in 1992 when elected to the British Parliament. The only Oscar-winner to become an MP retired from politics in 2011 and returned to the stage in 2016 as… King Lear!


 Birth year: 1936Death year: 2023Other name: Casting Calls:  16