Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role 1971
Plays Character That Is Related To The Sex Trade Industry
Christine Keeler in The Theatre of Cruelty 1964
Character Is A Prostitute
Two Oscar wins for Glenda Jackson is astounding but not unprecedented. What was truly amazing for her double Oscar wins, is that both happened within a 5-year period. But prior to her Oscar success she played a real-life hooker on the stage. In 1964 The Lamda Theatre Club staged a “Theatre of Cruelty” season. The goal was to showcase what they called “the existential horror behind all social and psychological facades”. For her contribution Glenda Jackson played several roles including the part of Christine Keeler. She was a young prostitute who found herself embroiled in a sex scandal involving high-level politicians in England.
She told Rex Reed in 1971 about the part “I was Christine Keeler, see, and I was in a courtroom saying lines from her actual trial. Then I was sent to prison, where I stripped to the raw, took a bath onstage and changed into prison clothes. Then the bathtub was turned upside down and it became John F. Kennedy’s coffin and I turned from Christine Keeler the prostitute into Jackie Kennedy accepting bishops and politicians at the Kennedy funeral. Now every time there’s a role for a nut case who takes her clothes off, they say “Call Glenda Jackson!”
Unfortunately no clips are available on-line anywhere of this production. But you can watch the real life Christine Keeler in a screen-test below.
Christine Keeler in Screen-Test
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If you know of this actress playing more than one prostitute role please comment below and let me know! I’ll gladly add it to the page here. If the video has been removed please leave a comment below to let me know.