October 4, 1943
Director, Documentarian, Editor, Producer
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Though British filmmaker Mick Jackson helmed the hugely successful Whitney Houston vehicle "The Bodyguard" (1992), his body of work was anchored by award-winning, fact-based dramas for film and television like "Threads" (BBC, 1984), "Tuesdays with Morrie" (ABC, 1999) and "Temple Grandin" (HBO, 2010). Born October 4, 1943 in Aveley, Essex, England, Jackson's educational career followed a similar path to his professional life: h earned a degree in electronics from the University of Southampton before gaining his postgraduate degree in drama from the University of Bristol. His film career also began on the technical side as an editor for BBC television productions before he moved into producing and directing a string of science-based documentary projects, including "The Ascent of Man" (BBC, 1973). By the early 1980s, Jackson was alternating between documentary and dramatic efforts, including the harrowing docudrama "Threads," about the impact of a nuclear war on middle-class British families. The BAFTA-winning film would set the tone for much of Jackson's subsequent work: dramas based on real-life events, like "Yuri Nosenko: Double Agent" (BBC, 1986) and "Life Story" (BBC, 1987), about the discovery of the DNA double helix. Jackson continued in this vein after moving to Los Angeles, where his skill with intimate dramas like "Chattahoochee" (1989), with Gary Oldman and Dennis Hopper as patients in a corrupt mental hospital, led to major studio assignments like "L.A. Story" (1991). Jackson moved into blockbuster territory with "The Bodyguard," the chart-topping romantic drama with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, but appeared to prefer character-driven, fact-based material like "Indictment: The McMartin Trial" (HBO, 1995), which earned him his first Emmy nomination and Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award for direction. He would continue to find success on the small screen, with DGA wins for the Oprah Winfrey-produced "Tuesdays with Morrie" and Emmy nods for "Live from Baghdad" (HBO, 2002), based on the non-fiction account by CNN producer Robert Weiner. Producing for television kept him busy at the turn of the millennium, but he returned to directing for several powerful TV efforts, most notably "Temple Grandin." about the autistic animal science professor and inventor, played by Claire Danes. The project won Jackson his first Emmy, as well as awards from the American Film Institute, DGA and the Peabody Awards. In 2016, Jackson directed "Denial," based on historian Deborah E. Lipstadt's book about her legal battle against Holocaust denier David Irving. The drama, penned by David Hare, was his first feature effort in more than a decade and received positive reviews during its theatrical run.