About Kate Jackson
Kate Jackson (born October 29, 1948) is an American actress, director, and producer, perhaps best known for her role as Sabrina Duncan in the popular 1970s television series Charlie's Angels. Jackson is a three-time Emmy Award nominee in the Best Actress category, has been nominated for several Golden Globe Awards, and has won the titles of Favorite Television Actress in England, and Favorite Television Star in Germany—several times—for her work in the television series Scarecrow and Mrs. King. She co-produced that series through her production company, Shoot the Moon Enterprises Ltd., with Warner Brothers Television. Jackson has starred in a number of theatrical and TV films, and played the lead role on the short-lived television adaptation of the film Baby Boom.
Early life and career
Lucy Kate Jackson was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the daughter of Ruth (née Shepherd) and Hogan Jackson, a business executive. She attended The Brooke Hill School for Girls and then went on to the University of Mississippi, where she was a member of the Delta Rho chapter of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, but during her sophomore year at the University of Mississippi, she moved to New York City to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Jackson worked as an NBC page at the network's Rockefeller Center studios and did summer stock in Vermont before landing a small role as the mysterious, silent ghost Daphne Harridge on the 1960s supernatural daytime quasi-soap opera Dark Shadows. In 1971, Jackson had a starring role as Tracy Collins in Night of Dark Shadows, the second feature film based on the daytime serial. She was joined by her Dark Shadows castmates Lara Parker, David Selby, Grayson Hall, Nancy Barrett, John Karlen, and Thayer David. This movie was more loosely based on the series than House of Dark Shadows was, and it did not fare as well at the box office as the first film did. The same year, she worked with James Stewart in two episodes of the short-lived sitcom, The Jimmy Stewart Show.
She then appeared as nurse Jill Danko, wife of a character played by Sam Melville, for four seasons on the 1970s crime drama The Rookies. A supporting cast member, Jackson filled her free time by studying directing and editing. She also appeared in several TV films during this period. Jackson's performance was well received in the 1972 independent film Limbo, one of the first theatrical films to address the Vietnam War and the wives of soldiers who were POWs, MIA or killed in action (KIA). She also appeared in an all-star ensemble cast in Death Scream, a 1975 television dramatization of the circumstances surrounding a real-life 1964 murder as reported in a sensational article in the New York Times.
In 1975, she met with Rookies producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg to discuss her contractual obligation to star in another television series for Spelling/Goldberg Productions upon that show's cancellation. Goldberg told her of a series that was available — because "every network has passed on it", The Alley Cats. Spelling said that when he told Jackson the title of the series had to be changed and asked her what she would like to call it, she replied, Charlie's Angels, pointing to a picture of three female angels on the wall behind Spelling.
At the beginning of the third season of Charlie's Angels, Jackson was offered the Meryl Streep role in the feature film Kramer vs Kramer (1979), but was forced to turn it down because Spelling told her that they were unable to rearrange the hit show's shooting schedule to give her time off to do the film. At the end of the third season, Jackson left the show saying, "I served it well and it served me well, now it's time to go."
In 1982, Jackson starred opposite her Rookies co-star, Michael Ontkean, and Harry Hamlin in the feature film Making Love, directed by Arthur Hiller. It was a movie some considered to be ahead of its time, and attempted to deal sensitively with the issue of homosexuality. However, it received tepid reviews and did poorly at the box office.
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Jackson made what was for the time a whopping $6,000,000 deal with CBS to star in a comedy series. She elected instead to accept the starring role in Scarecrow and Mrs. King, a one-hour action drama in which she played housewife Amanda King opposite Bruce Boxleitner's spy, code-named "Scarecrow". Jackson also co-produced the series with Warner Brothers Television through her production company, Shoot the Moon Enterprises. It was during this series that she developed a keen interest in directing. When asked on the set one afternoon "What do you do tomorrow?", Jackson replied, "I don't work, I just direct." Scarecrow and Mrs. King was on the air from 1983–1987, The series was strong enough in the ratings that it beat its NBC competition, Boone.
During filming of the show's fourth season, in January 1987, Jackson elected to receive a mammogram for the first time, a test which led to the diagnosis of a small malignant tumor. This time, her series' producer — the only person she told about the diagnosis—worked with her to reschedule her work on the show. Checking into a hospital under an alias, her course of action was to undergo a lumpectomy. Jackson returned to the series a week later, working with the aid of painkillers through five weeks of radiation treatments.
1988 to 2003
Receiving a "clean bill of health", Jackson followed up the cancelled Scarecrow and Mrs. King by taking on the main role in Baby Boom, a 1988 TV sitcom version of the original movie starring Diane Keaton, but it lasted only one season.
In 1989, she starred in the film Loverboy playing Patrick Dempsey's mother. She had taken the job in order to work with the director, Joan Micklin Silver, having admired the work Silver had done on the film Hester Street.
In September 1989, another mammogram indicated residual breast cancer which the previous operation had missed. This time the course of action was a partial mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. “The range of emotions you go through is amazing”, she says. “But I made a conscious decision to be positive.” Jaclyn Smith cancelled a trip to New York City, meeting Jackson at her doctor’s office before she checked into the hospital. “I’d been crying before I got there,” says Smith. “Then I saw Kate, and she had a smile on her face. She said, 'We've gotten through other things, like divorces, and we'll get through this.' And we did.” When Jackson awoke after surgery, “The first thing I heard was good news. My lymph nodes were clean.” Back at home she read medical journals, switched to a macrobiotic diet and came to terms with her reconstructive surgery. “I'm never going to have the perfect body”, she says. “I'm not into facelifts and lip poufs. But I can wear a strapless evening gown, a bustier or whatever is required for a part.”
Jackson starred in several TV movies over the next several years, while working for breast cancer awareness. In 1995, on the heels of a night filming schedule on location, she checked herself into an Alabama hospital for tests due to a feeling of malaise and an inability to sleep. After several tests, Dr. Gerald Pohost, now head of cardiology at U.S.C., diagnosed that Jackson had been born with an atrial septal defect, a tiny hole in her heart which had previously gone undetected despite Jackson's active lifestyle. She underwent open heart surgery to correct the defect, although as cardiologist Dr. P. K. Shah related in a February 3, 2006, appearance with Jackson on Larry King Live, the current treatment no longer involves surgery.
She has appeared in TV movies and has made numerous guest appearances on TV. She dialed down her professional pursuits when her son, Charles Taylor Jackson, was adopted in 1995. She stated at the time, "I don't see how I can go about a directing career and be a good mom at the same time. And if I'm not a good mom, I don't think it matters much what else I do well."
She has dedicated herself to speaking out on the subjects of breast cancer and heart health and in 2003, was awarded the "Power of Love" award by the American Heart Association for her work.
2004 to present
In 2004, the television film Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie's Angels aired, with actress Lauren Stamile portraying Jackson. In August 2006, Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith, the three original Angels, appeared together in a surprise appearance at the Emmy Awards in a tribute to the recently-deceased Spelling at the Shrine Auditorium.
Jackson played Elizabeth Prentiss, the mother of FBI Agent Emily Prentiss (played by Paget Brewster) on Criminal Minds. In August 2008, she was a guest judge on an episode of Jaclyn Smith's Bravo reality series Shear Genius, presiding over a hairdressing competition to update the original trio's signature hairdos.
On August 3, 2010, it was announced that Jackson would be writing a memoir, to be published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster. Titled The Smart One, the book was scheduled be released on October 11, 2011.
In 1978, Jackson married fellow Southerner, the actor/producer Andrew Stevens, the son of actress Stella Stevens; they divorced in 1982. She married David Greenwald in 1982, but they divorced two years later. Her third marriage was to stuntman Tom Hart in 1991, but they also divorced two years later. In 1995, Jackson adopted a son, Charles Taylor Jackson.
In May 2010, Jackson filed a lawsuit against her financial advisor, Richard B. Francis, claiming his actions cost Jackson more than $3 million and brought her to financial ruin. In December 2010, the parties reached an undisclosed settlement.