Jackie Forster

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Jackie Forster
Jackie Forster.jpg
BornJacqueline Moir MacKenzie
(1926-11-06)6 November 1926
London, England
Died10 October 1998(1998-10-10) (aged 71)
London, England
OccupationNews reporter, actress,
lesbian rights activist
Spouse(s)Peter Forster (1958–1962)

Jackie Forster (née Jacqueline Moir Mackenzie; 6 November 1926 – 10 October 1998[1]) was an English news reporter, actress and lesbian rights activist.[1][2]

Early history[edit]

Forster's father was a colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps and she spent her early years in British India. When she was six, she was sent to boarding school in Britain at Wycombe Abbey and then to St Leonards School in Fife. During the Second World War, she played lacrosse and field hockey for Scotland.[1][3]

Forster became an actress and joined the Wilson Barrett repertory company in Edinburgh before moving to London in 1950. She attended the Arts Theatre Club was in various West End productions and films before developing a successful career as a TV presenter and news reporter under the name of Jacqueline MacKenzie.[1][3][4]

In 1957 she was on a lecture tour in North America for part of the year and was in Savannah, Georgia, when she had her first lesbian affair. Despite this she married author Peter Forster in 1958, but the marriage was over within two years as she accepted her true sexual identity. They divorced in 1962 and she went to live in Canada.[1][3]

Of her early lesbian experiences, she said "I didn't see myself as being a lesbian, or her, because I didn't look as I imagined they did, and nor did she. We weren't short back and sides and natty gent's suiting. I got the image from The Well of Loneliness, like we all did. There were drug stores around the States, with these pulp books, lurid stories about lesbians who smoked cigars and had orgies with young girls. I thought, where are these women? We never met anyone we knew were lesbians. There were no other books that I found about lesbians, no films that we ever saw: nothing at all."[5]

In 1964, Forster returned to Britain to work for Border Television; and then eventually moved in with a girlfriend and her children in London.[3]


In the 1960s Forster joined the Minorities Research Group and wrote for its journal Arena Three. She would also regularly promote the magazine in the Gateways club.[6]

Later on, she came out publicly in 1969 when she joined the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) and went to serve on its Executive Committee.[7] She was in the first Gay Pride march in the UK in August 1971.

In 1972 Forster was one of the founders of Sappho,[8] which was a social group and one of the UK's longest-running lesbian publications (Sappho magazine was published from 1972 to 1981, although the group continued to meet regularly for many more years). The Sappho group members used to meet in the Chepstow pub in Notting Hill and had speakers such as Maureen Duffy and Anna Raeburn.

After Sappho, Forster became a member of Greater London Council's Women's Committee.

From 1992 until her death in 1998 Forster was an active member of the Lesbian Archive and Information Centre management Committee[9] (now part of the Glasgow Women's Library).In 1997 a BBC film crew came to the archive to film her for a programme about her life which was to be part of The Day That Changed My Life series. Her work has made a huge impact on shaping the archive.

Television and film appearances[edit]

  • Caesar's Wife, 1951, television acting role.[10]
  • You're Only Young Twice, 1952, film acting role as Nellie.[1][11][12]
  • Love and Mr Lewisham, 1953, television acting role.[11]
  • The Wedding of Lili Marlene, 1953, film acting role as Theatre Barmaid.[1][13]
  • Serious Charge, 1953, repertory theatre acting role.[1]
  • The Broken Jug, 1953, television acting role as Grete.[14]
  • Gilbert Harding Finds Out, 1954, as straight-to-camera television reporter.[1]
  • Lilacs in the Spring, 1954, film acting role.[1]
  • The Dam Busters, 1955, film acting role as Canteen Waitress.[1]
  • You Can't Escape, 1955, television acting role as Mrs Baggerley.[15][16]
  • Grace Kelly's Monaco wedding to Prince Rainier, 1956, as straight-to-camera television reporter. Won a Prix D'Italia.[1]
  • Pantomania or Dick Wittington, 1956, television comedy acting role.[17][18]
  • Tonight, as straight-to-camera television reporter.[1]
  • Hotfoot and Highlight, as straight-to-camera television reporter.[1]
  • Panorama, as straight-to-camera television reporter.[1]
  • Late Night Extra, as straight-to-camera television reporter.[1]
  • Trouble for Two, 1958, television acting role in a sitcom.[1][19]
  • Discovering America, 1958–1960, as straight-to-camera television reporter.[1]
  • Jacqueline Mackenzie in America, as straight-to-camera television reporter.[1]
  • Speak for Yourself, 1974 as television co-scriptwriter.[1]
  • Gays: Speaking Up, 1978 as interviewee.[20]
  • We Recruit, 1995, appearance in a Channel 4 television documentary about the Lesbian Avengers.[1][21]
  • From High Heels to Sensible Shoes, 1997, contributor to the BBC television series The Day That Changed My Life.[22][1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Knitting Circle". www.knittingcircle.org.uk. Archived from the original on 12 March 2007.[unreliable source?]
  2. ^ p.270 From the Closet to the Screen – Jill Gardner ISBN 0-86358-427-6
  3. ^ a b c d "Brighton Ourstory Project – Lesbian and Gay History Group". www.brightonourstory.co.uk.
  4. ^ "Jacqueline Mackenzie". IMDb.
  5. ^ p.34 From the Closet to the Screen – Jill Gardiner ISBN 0-86358-427-6
  6. ^ p.122 From the Closet to the Screen – Jill Gardiner ISBN 0-86358-427-6
  7. ^ "Jackie Forster".
  8. ^ Woddis, Carole (31 October 1998). "Obituary: Jackie Forster". The Independent.
  9. ^ "LAIC at the Glasgow Women's Library". Archived from the original on 13 May 2007.
  10. ^ "Caesar's Wife (1951)".
  11. ^ a b "Love and Mr Lewisham (1952)".
  12. ^ "You're Only Young Twice". 1 July 1952 – via www.imdb.com.
  13. ^ "The Wedding of Lilli Marlene" – via www.imdb.com.
  14. ^ "The Broken Jug (1953)".
  15. ^ "You Can't Escape (1956)".
  16. ^ "You Can't Escape" – via www.imdb.com.
  17. ^ "Pantomania (1956)".
  18. ^ "Pantomania, or Dick Whittington". 25 December 1956 – via www.imdb.com.
  19. ^ "BBC". BBC. Archived from the original on 6 March 2007.
  20. ^ "Jackie Forster".
  21. ^ "We Recruit (1995)".
  22. ^ "From High Heels to Sensible Shoes (1997)".

External links[edit]