Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kate Jackson

Kate Jackson

Actress, Birmingham

Kate Jackson's early desire to be an actress had to be hidden; proper southern girls did not pursue such professions. If her family had known she would end up as an "angel," they might not have protested the choice. Born October 29, 1948, in Birmingham, Jackson did appear in school productions and put on skits with her sister, but, when it came time to attend college, she chose the University of Mississippi and the traditional major of history. She transferred from U Miss to Birmingham Southern College halfway through her sophomore year, and enrolled in her first theatre class, a history of theatre and speech course.

After a summer apprenticeship at the Stowe Playhouse in Stowe, Vermont, Jackson moved to New York in 1968 and enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Following graduation, Jackson landed the role that would launch her into the world of television drama; she played the character of Daphne on the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Guest appearances followed a move to Los Angeles, and Jackson became a semi-regular player on a short-lived series, The Jimmy Stewart Show. Producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg spotted Jackson and recruited her for the role of nurse Jill Danko on their new series, The Rookies.

Jackson was such a hit on The Rookies that when it ended four years later, Spelling and Goldberg offered to make her the star of their new series, Charlie's Angels. Jackson was often eclipsed by her supposed "supporting actresses" in the series; a fact that made life on the set difficult. After losing out on the opportunity to star in Kramer vs. Kramer (the producers would not give her time off to take the role), Jackson left the series in 1979.

After a failed attempt at a big screen career, Jackson returned to television in the series Scarecrow and Mrs. King. Jackson was not only the star, but also the producer of the series. Scarecrow ended after four years, and Jackson found herself in the series Baby Boom, based on the movie of the same name. The show lasted only a few episodes, and, after two decades and two Emmy nominations, Jackson left series television to work in made-for-television movies; in the 1990's she has starred in eleven such films
In January 1987, Jackson discovered a lump in her breast and underwent a lumpectomy. The cancer returned in 1989, and Jackson had a partial mastectomy. She has shared her experience with other women to educate them about the importance of mammograms and cancer prevention. Jackson has been married twice, to actor Andrew Stevens and producer David Greenwald. She is currently single. In 1995, Jackson adopted a son, Charles Taylor Jackson.

--Alabama Hall of Fame