Gordon Cameron Jackson, OBE, lived from 19 December 1923 to 15 January 1990. He was an award winning actor who made many appearances in both film and TV as well as on the stage. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Gordon Jackson was born the youngest of a family of five children in Glasgow in 1923. He attended Hillhead High School, but while there took part in a number of BBC radio shows including Children's Hour. After leaving school at the age of 15, he went to work as a draughtsman at Rolls-Royce. In 1942, Ealing Studios were looking for a young Scot to act in The Foreman Went to France and Jackson was suggested. Further film work followed, including San Demetrio London, and The Captive Heart. Perhaps the most memorable film in which he starred during this period was Whisky Galore!
In 1949, Jackson starred opposite the Scottish actress Rona Anderson in the film Floodtide. The two married on 2 June 1951, and had two sons. He also made his London stage debut in 1951 in Seagulls Over Sorrento. During the 1950s and 1960s Jackson appeared in TV shows such as The Quatermass Xperiment, The Adventures of Robin Hood, ABC of Britain, The Navy Lark, Gideon's Way and The Avengers as well as in films such as The Great Escape, The Bridal Path and the The Ipcress File.
Real fame came with his role as the butler, Hudson, in sixty episodes of the period drama Upstairs, Downstairs that ran from 1971 to 1975. In 1974, he was named British Actor of the Year; in 1976, he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor; and in 1979 he was awarded an OBE. In 1977 he took on the role of George Cowley in The Professionals which ran for 57 episodes. He was involved in a wide range of projects during the 1980s, including narrating afternoon cookery shows in New Zealand and films such as A Town Like Alice (in which his performance won him a Logie Award), The Shooting Party and The Whistle Blower. He died in London aged 66 in 1990.