Gordon Jackson (actor)
19 December 1923|
Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
15 January 1990 (aged 66)|
Rona Anderson (m. 1951)
Gordon Cameron Jackson, OBE (19 December 1923 – 15 January 1990) was a Scottish actor best remembered for his roles as the butler Angus Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs and as George Cowley, the head of CI5, in The Professionals. He also portrayed Flt. Lt. Andrew MacDonald, "Intelligence", in The Great Escape.
Gordon Jackson was born in Glasgow in 1923, the youngest of five children. He attended Hillhead High School, and in his youth he took part in BBC radio shows including Children's Hour. He left school aged 15 and became a draughtsman for Rolls-Royce.
His film career began in 1942, when producers from Ealing Studios were looking for a young Scot to act in The Foreman Went to France and he was suggested for the part. After this, he returned to his job at Rolls-Royce, but he was soon asked to do more films, and he made the decision to make acting his career. Jackson soon appeared in other films, including Millions Like Us, San Demetrio London, The Captive Heart, Eureka Stockade and Whisky Galore!. In the early years of his career, Jackson also worked in repertory theatre in Glasgow, Worthing and Perth.
In 1949, he starred in the film Floodtide, along with actress Rona Anderson. He and Anderson married two years later on 2 June 1951. They had two sons, Graham and Roddy. The same year, he made his London stage debut, appearing in Seagulls Over Sorrento.
In the 1950s and 1960s he appeared on television in programmes such as The Adventures of Robin Hood, ABC of Britain, Gideon's Way and The Avengers. In 1955 he had a small part in The Quatermass Xperiment, the film version of the BBC TV serial. He later had supporting roles in the films The Great Escape, The Bridal Path and The Ipcress File. In 1969, he and his wife had important roles in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. That year, he played Horatio in Tony Richardson's production of Hamlet and he won a Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actor, having also taken part in the film version.
Gordon Jackson became a household name playing the stern Scottish butler Hudson in sixty episodes of the period drama Upstairs, Downstairs from 1971 to 1975. In 1976, he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor for the episode "The Beastly Hun". In 1974, he was named British Actor of the Year and in 1979 he was made an OBE. Jackson was cast opposite Bette Davis for the American television film Madame Sin (1972), which was released in overseas markets as a feature film.
His next big television role was in The Professionals from 1977. He played George Cowley in all 57 episodes until the programme's end in 1983, although filming had finished in 1981. He played Noel Strachan in the Australian Second World War drama A Town Like Alice (1981), winning a Logie Award for his performance.
After A Town Like Alice and The Professionals, Gordon Jackson continued his television work with appearances in Hart to Hart, Campion and Shaka Zulu and the films The Shooting Party and The Whistle Blower. He also appeared in the theatre, appearing in Cards on the Table, adapted from the novel by Agatha Christie at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1981 and in Mass Appeal by Bill C. Davis at the Lyric Hammersmith in 1982. From 1985 to 1986, Jackson narrated two afternoon cookery shows in New Zealand for TVNZ called Fresh and Fancy Fare and its successor Country Fare. His last role before his death was in Effie's Burning, and this was broadcast posthumously.
In December 1989, he was diagnosed with bone cancer; the diagnosis was too late and nothing could be done. He died on 15 January 1990, aged 66, in London. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium. 
- One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942) (uncredited)
- The Foreman Went to France (1942) as Alastair "Jock" MacFarlan
- Women Aren't Angels (1943) as Man in small orchestra
- Nine Men (1943) as the Young 'un
- Millions Like Us (1943) as Fred
- San Demetrio London (1943) as Messboy John Jamieson
- Pink String and Sealing Wax (1945) as David
- The Captive Heart (1946) as Lieut. Lennox
- Against the Wind (1948) as Duncan
- Eureka Stockade (1949) as Tom Kennedy
- Floodtide (1949) as David Shields
- Stop Press Girl (1949) as Jock Melville
- Whisky Galore! (1949) as George Campbell
- Bitter Springs (1950) as Mac
- Happy Go Lovely (1951) as Paul Tracy
- The Lady with a Lamp (1951)
- Castle in the Air (1951) as Hiker
- Death Goes to School (1953) as Detective Inspector Campbell
- Seagulls Over Sorrento (1953 TV film) as Able-Seaman Haggis Mcintosh
- Malta Story (1953) as British Soldier (uncredited)
- Meet Mr. Lucifer (1953) as Hector
- The Love Lottery (1954) as Ralph
- Delavine Affair (1955) as Florian
- Passage Home (1955) as Ted Burns
- The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) as BBC TV producer
- Windfall (1955) as Leonard
- Moby Dick—Rehearsed (1955 TV film) as A Young Actor / Ishmael
- Women Without Men (1956) as Percy
- Blonde Bait (1956) as Percy (re-edited version of Women Without Men, with new scenes and actors and plot differences)
- Pacific Destiny (1956) as District Officer
- The Baby and the Battleship (1956) as Harry
- Sailor Beware! (1956) as Carnoustie Bligh
- Seven Waves Away (1957) as John Merritt
- Let's Be Happy (1957) as Dougal MacLean
- Hell Drivers (1957) as Scottie
- The Hasty Heart (1957 TV film) as Lachlen McLachlen
- Man in the Shadow (1957) as Jimmy Norris
- Blind Spot (1958) as "Chalky" White
- Yesterday's Enemy (1958 TV film) as Sgt. Ian McKenzie (reprised role in 1959 movie)
- Rockets Galore! (1958) as George Campbell
- The Navy Lark (1959) as Leading Seaman Johnson
- Three Crooked Men (1959) as Don Wescott
- Meeting at Night (1959 TV film) as Hector Maclachlan
- Yesterday's Enemy (1959) as Sgt. McKenzie
- The Bridal Path (1959) as PC Alec
- Blind Date (1959) as Sergeant
- Devil's Bait (1959) as Sergeant Malcolm
- Never Die (1959 TV film) as Ian "Jock" Bell
- The Price of Silence (1959) as Roger Fenton
- Cone of Silence (1960) as Capt. Jock Bateson
- The Soldier's Tale (1960 TV film) as The Narrator
- Tunes of Glory (1960) as Capt. Jimmy Cairns, M.C.
- Snowball (1960) as Bill Donovan
- Greyfriars Bobby: The True Story of a Dog (1961) as Farmer
- Two Wives at One Wedding (1961) as Tom
- Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) as Seaman Edward Birkett
- Hold My Hand, Soldier (1963 TV film)
- The Great Escape (1963) as Flt. Lt. Andrew MacDonald, "Intelligence"
- The Long Ships (1964) as Vahlin
- Benbow Was His Name (1964 TV film) as Campbell
- Daylight Robbery (1964) as Sergeant
- The Ipcress File (1965) as Jock Carswell
- Operation Crossbow (1965) as R.A.F. Pilot (scenes deleted)
- Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965) as MacDougal
- Cast a Giant Shadow (1966) as James MacAfee
- The Fighting Prince of Donegal (1966) as Captain Leeds
- Triple Cross (1966) as British Sergeant Questioning Chapman (uncredited)
- The Night of the Generals (1967) as Captain Engel
- Danger Route (1967) as Brian Stern
- The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) as Gordon Lowther
- Run Wild, Run Free (1969) as Mr Ransome
- Hamlet (1969) as Horatio
- The Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens (1970 TV film) as The Narrator
- Scrooge (1970) as Tom – Friend of Harry's
- Kidnapped (1971) as Charles Stewart
- On the Run (1971) as Mr. Mallory
- Madame Sin (1972) as Commander Cavendish
- Russian Roulette (1975) as Hardison
- Sonntagsgeschichten (1976 TV film) as Mr. Dunner
- Spectre (1977 TV film) as Inspector Cabell
- Golden Rendezvous (1977) as Dr. Marston
- The Medusa Touch (1978) as Dr. Johnson
- The Last Giraffe (1979 TV film) as Fielding
- The Masks of Death (1984 TV film) as Alec MacDonald
- The Zaz (1985) as The Commander
- The Shooting Party (1985) as Tom Harker
- The Whistle Blower (1986) as Bruce
- Gunpowder (1986) as Sir Anthony Phelps
- The Lady and the Highwayman (1989 TV film) as Harry
- Note: TV films are listed in the filmography.
- Upstairs, Downstairs (1971–1975 TV series) as Hudson
- The Professionals (1977–1983 TV series) as George Cowley
- A Town Like Alice (1981 TV miniseries) as Noel Strachan
- My Brother Tom (1986 TV miniseries) as Lockie McGibbon
- Shaka Zulu (1986–1989 TV series) as Prof. Bramston
- Noble House (1989 TV miniseries) as Supt. Armstrong
- Campion (1989 TV series) as Professor Gardner Cairey
- Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 367. ISBN 1-84854-195-3.
- "The Authorised Guide to The Professionals". 26 April 2006.
- "Gordon Jackson Biography". BritMovie.co.uk. Archived from the original on 9 September 2010.
- "The Best of Upstairs, Downstairs". TV Times. 1976.
- "Gordon Jackson". Find A Grave. 31 March 2002. Retrieved 2008-04-07.