Gordon Jackson (actor)

Last updated

Gordon Jackson

Gordon Jackson as Mr. Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs
Gordon Cameron Jackson

(1923-12-19)19 December 1923
Glasgow, Scotland
Died15 January 1990(1990-01-15) (aged 66)
London, England
Years active1942–1990
(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 Capt Jimmy Cairns in Tunes of Glory , and Flt. Lt. Andrew MacDonald, "Intelligence", in The Great Escape . [1]


Early life

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 . [2] He left school aged 15 and became a draughtsman for Rolls-Royce. [3]

Early career

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 [3] 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 decided to make acting his career. [4] 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. [1] The same year, he made his London stage debut, appearing in the play Seagulls Over Sorrento by Hugh Hastings.

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 . [1] That year, he played Horatio in Tony Richardson's production of Hamlet and he won a Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actor, [2] having also taken part in the film version.

Later career

Gordon Jackson became a household name playing the stern Scottish butler Angus Hudson in sixty episodes of the period drama Upstairs, Downstairs from 1971 to 1975. [1] 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 hard-hitting police drama The Professionals from 1977. [1] He played George Cowley in all 57 episodes of the programme, which ended in 1983, although filming 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. [2] 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; he died on 15 January 1990, aged 66, in London. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium. [5]

Selected filmography

Television credits

Note: TV films are listed in the filmography.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Hayter (actor)</span> British actor (1907–1983)

Henry James Hayter was a British actor of television and film. He is best remembered for his roles as Friar Tuck in the film The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952) and as Samuel Pickwick in the film The Pickwick Papers (1952), the latter earning him a BAFTA Award for Best British Actor nomination.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Keenan Wynn</span> American actor (1916–1986)

Francis Xavier Aloysius James Jeremiah Keenan Wynn was an American character actor. His expressive face was his stock-in-trade; and though he rarely carried the lead role, he had prominent billing in most of his film and television roles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Duncan Macrae (actor)</span> Scottish actor

John Duncan Macrae was one of the leading Scottish actors of his generation. He worked mainly as a stage actor and also made five television appearances and seventeen films.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rona Anderson</span> British actress (1926–2013)

Rona Anderson was a Scottish stage, film, and television actress. She appeared in TV series and on the stage and films throughout the 1950s. She appeared in the films Scrooge and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and on TV in Dr Finlay's Casebook and Dixon of Dock Green.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jack Kruschen</span> Canadian actor (1922–2002)

Jacob "Jack" Kruschen was a Canadian character actor who worked primarily in American film, television and radio. Kruschen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dr. Dreyfuss in the 1960 comedy-drama The Apartment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sam Kydd</span> British actor

Samuel John Kydd was a British actor. His best-known roles were in two major British television series of the 1960s, as the smuggler Orlando O'Connor in Crane and its sequel Orlando. He also played a recurring character in Coronation Street. Kydd's first film was The Captive Heart (1946), in which he played a POW. He made over 290 films, more than any other British actor, including 119 between 1946 and 1952.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Finlay Currie</span> Scottish actor (1878–1968)

William Finlay Currie was a Scottish actor of stage, screen, and television. He received great acclaim for his roles as Abel Magwitch in the British film Great Expectations (1946) and as Balthazar in the American film Ben-Hur (1959).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gene Evans</span> American actor (1922–1998)

Eugene Barton Evans was an American actor who appeared in numerous television series, television films, and feature films between 1947 and 1989.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Claude Akins</span> American actor (1926–1994)

Claude Aubrey Akins was a Cherokee-American character actor with a long career on stage, screen, and television. He was best known as Sheriff Lobo on the 1979–1981 television series B. J. and the Bear, and later The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, a spin-off series.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jean Cadell</span> Scottish actress (1884–1967)

Jean Dunlop Cadell was a Scottish character actress. Although her married name was Jean Dunlop Perceval-Clark she retained her maiden name in the context of acting.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Raymond Huntley</span> English actor (1904–1990)

Horace Raymond Huntley was an English actor who appeared in dozens of British films from the 1930s to the 1970s. He also appeared in the ITV period drama Upstairs, Downstairs as the pragmatic family solicitor Sir Geoffrey Dillon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Victor Maddern</span> English actor (1928–1993)

Victor Jack Maddern was an English actor. He was described by The Telegraph as having "one of the most distinctive and eloquent faces in post-war British cinema."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clive Morton</span> English actor

Clive Morton was an English actor best known for playing upper class Englishmen, he made many screen appearances, especially on television. In 1955, he appeared in Laurence Olivier's Richard III and is recalled by fans of Doctor Who for his role as prison governor George Trenchard in The Sea Devils in 1972. He played Commander Julius Rogue in the first series of the fondly-remembered children's TV series Rogue's Rock in 1974. One of his last roles was as an aged butler in an episode of Upstairs Downstairs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bruce Seton</span> British actor (1909-1969)

Sir Bruce Lovat Seton, 11th Baronet was a British actor and soldier. He is best remembered for his eponymous lead role in Fabian of the Yard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Reginald Beckwith</span> British actor

William Reginald Beckwith was an English film and television actor, who made over one hundred film and television appearances in his career. He died of a heart attack aged 56.

Filmography of the South African, British-based actor and comedian Sid James.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nicholas Phipps</span> British actor (1913–1980)

William Nicholas Foskett Phipps was a British actor and writer who appeared in stage roles between 1932 and 1967 and more than thirty films between 1940 and 1970. He wrote West End plays, songs and sketches for revues, and film scripts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cyril Chamberlain</span> English actor (1909–1974)

Cyril Chamberlain was an English film and television actor. He appeared in a number of the early Carry On, Doctor and St. Trinian's films.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jack Lambert (British actor)</span> British actor

Jack Lambert was a British film and television actor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter Illing</span> Anglo-Austrian actor (1899–1966)

Peter Illing was an Austrian-born British film and television actor.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 367. ISBN   978-1-84854-195-5.
  2. 1 2 3 "The Authorised Guide to The Professionals". 26 April 2006.
  3. 1 2 "Gordon Jackson Biography". BritMovie.co.uk. Archived from the original on 9 September 2010.
  4. "The Best of Upstairs, Downstairs". TV Times. 1976.
  5. "- YouTube". YouTube .