Jackie Forster: Who was the famed news reporter and lesbian activist?
Google Doodle hails accomplished journalist and actress who found her true calling as a campaigner following decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain in 1967
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Jackie Forster (1926-98) on what would have been her 91st birthday, a news reporter and actress who became one of Britain’s leading lesbian activists, a woman whose courage in coming out during less enlightened times made her a role model to thousands.
Born in Islington but raised largely in India where her colonel father was stationed with the British Army Medical Corps, Jackie was sent back to Britain in 1932 to attend Wycombe Abbey girl’s boarding school in Buckinghamshire and then St Leonard’s School in Fife, Scotland.
Displaying particular prowess in hockey and lacrosse, Jackie graduated and became an actress with Edinburgh’s Wilson Barrett repertory company, moving to London in 1950. A series of minor roles and bit-parts on film and television followed, most notably in Michael Anderson’s classic war caper The Dam Busters (1955).
Under her maiden name, Jackie Mackenzie, the young actress turned her attention to news reporting, her charismatic approach proving a hit with audiences as she pioneered the straight-to-camera address then rarely deployed in current affairs broadcasting.
Her most eye-catching assignment saw her dispatched to Monte Carlo to cover the wedding of Hollywood star Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier, for which she won the Prix d’Italia in 1956.
Visiting Savannah, Georgia, in 1957 on a lecture tour to discuss her media experiences, Jackie had her first lesbian encounter and realised her true sexuality. She nevertheless married novelist Peter Forster the following year, only for the partnership to be dissolved in 1962.
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