When she was still a child she used to practice signing autographs to her friends. Kate Jackson did appear in school productions such as The Mad Woman of Chaillot and put on skits with her sister at the Brookhill School for girls in Birmingham, Alabama (1966), but, when it came time to attend college, she chose the University of Mississippi (1966 - 1968) and the traditional major of History. She transferred from U Miss to Birmingham Southern College (1968) 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 distinguished American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Kate worked hard, appearing in various Academy productions such as "Night Must Fall", "Royal Gambit", "The Constant Wife" and "Little Moon of Alban". At the same time, to support herself she worked in various jobs. She modeled bridal gowns and worked as a tour guide at NBC for a while.
After she graduated the Academy in 1970 she got a call to audition for a role on a popular daytime horror soap opera. She won the role over several other actresses and got a year-long stint on Dark Shadows, the famous ABC gothic soap opera. She played Daphne Harridge, the ghost of a 19th century governess who tries to protect two children from her murderous lover. Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis impressed with Kate Jackson chose her to star in the feature film Night of Dark Shadows and after that, she decided it was time to try for better and bigger things in Hollywood. Within moths after arriving in Hollywood, she was working on the Jimmy Stewart Show playing the part of a college student and made a series of guest appearances on various TV shows like on Bonanza and earned some television feature roles in The Medex with Burgess Meredith and Movin On co-starring with David Soul.She also starred in Mark Robson's feature film Limbo and received excellent reviews. It was a big feat for a young actress to have starred in just a few years in two major feature films and appeared in many TV films. She went on starring in various TV movies-of-the-week becoming a TV scream queen as she starred in many thrillers including titles such as Satan's School for Girls, Killer Bees where she co-starred with the Hollywood legend Gloria Swanson, Death Cruise, Death Scream, Death at Love House etc. Producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg spotted Jackson and recruited her for the role of nurse Jill Danko on their new ABC police drama series, The Rookies. She played the role of Nurse Danko for 4 whole years. The audience loved her character and bombarded ABC with more letters than the rest of the cast received. And the big boom took place in 1976 when Aaron Spelling, producer of The Rookies signed Kate to co-star as Sabrina Duncan in Charlie's Angels. Charlie's Angels was actually the idea of Kate Jackson. She was discussing with Aaron Spelling at the 20th Century Fox Studios when she noticed a painting on the wall of three angels and the series developed from that.
The rest is almost television history. Kate Jackson along with her co-angels, Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Jaclyn Smith, became household names overnight and her careers zoomed sky-high. In 1977, Kate Jackson's first year on Charlie's Angels, she received the first of two Emmy nominations for Best Actress in a Dramatic Series. She was also nominated as Best Supporting Actress for the NBC series pilot James at 15. For 3 years she was Charlie's smartest angel, "the brainy one" and the only one who was a qualified actress. Kate Jackson continued to appear in various roles both on TV and cinema, including Thunder and Lightning produced by Roger Corman. In 1979 she married actor Andrew Stevens and after she wasn't allowed to star in the feature film Kramer Vs Kramer and Meryl Streep took the lead role in the landmark film “Kramer vs. Kramer,” – netting her an Oscar for Best Actress along the way – a disappointed Jackson, who had had dibs on the role initially, vowed never to lose an important role because of her light-weight TV commitment. She had also just married actor Andrew Stevens and had grown tired of the constant interest in her off-screen romantic life. After the finale of season three in the spring of 1979, Jackson took off her halo permanently – leaving “Charlie’s Angels” with no apparent leader. She left the show after acrimonious disagreements with the producers that ended in the comic, "I quit!" "You can't quit! You're fired!" routine.
Being unhappy on the Charlie's Angels set throughout the last season, she had described the show as a bit of fluff "so light it would take a week to get to the floor if you dropped it from the ceiling," so she wasn't exactly heartbroken to leave it behind. Perfume model Shelley Hack, who had little-to-no acting experience, stepped in as a brainy replacement for Bri – but Jackson was a hard component to replace. The show teetered on for another two seasons, before being cancelled in 1981. Her prospect was a quiet family life and a production company with her husband. They produced and stared in the TV remake of the classic Hollywood film Topper which also was the pilot for a TV series that was never made. But her marriage with young Andrew Stevens didn't survive and they divorced back in 1980. Kate focused on her career again and starred in various TV films such as Thin Ice and Listen to your Heart and made the big step with 2 big screen films, one black comedy called Dirty Tricks that got very poor reviews and the controversial Making Love, co-starring with Harry Hamlin and Michael Ontkean, a film that received excellent reviews. She married David Greenwald in 1982 and together they created the production company Shoot the moon. In 1983 she returned to television with the CBS spy-comedy series called Scarecrow and Mrs. King. In the show's pilot, Kate's character, a recently divorced housewife and mother, accidentally gets pulled into a web of espionage by square-jawed, big-armed hunk Bruce Boxleitner. Through several unlikely twists of fate, (Mrs.) Amanda King found herself working as a secret agent, building up sexual tension with her sexy colleague. Her own company owned and produced the series. The series lasted 4 whole years and the fans and critics loved it. Amanda King was a role full of challenges and completely different than that of Sabrina's in Charlie's Angels. Kate divorced Greenwald in 1984.
In January 1987, Jackson discovered a lump in her breast and underwent a lumpectomy. After the end of Scarecrow and Mrs. King in 1987, Kate decided to return to TV with a witty NBC series that was actually based on Diane Keaton's 1987 film Baby Boom. Kate reprised Diane's role as J.C. Wiatt, a single, busy executive who finds herself an instant mom when she unexpectedly gets custody of a dead relative's infant daughter. The series lasted only for a few months as the audience didn't like it. In 1989 she starred in a comedy for the big screen called Loverboy. Yet her breast cancer returned and she had to undergo a partial mastectomy. Kate's successful battle with breast cancer made the cover of People magazine May 11, 1992. In the cover story, she recounted the life-changing experience. "I had to decide whether I wanted to live or to die," she said. "Once you choose life, as I did, it's never the same."In 1991 she married for the third time with Tom Heart. She then starred again in many TV films including The Stranger Within, Black Death, Adrift and more. In 1993 she divorced again. She tried to make a new comeback on TV with a series called The Arly Hanks Mysteries but the pilot had very poor ratings. Kate had open-heart surgery in 1994 after she discovered she was born with an ASD, an Atrial Septal Defect or hole in her heart. She made a complete recovery, but was inspired to inform women of the stunning statistics--that one out of every two women die of heart disease. She went on by starring in more TV movies and also directing some episodes like in the series Dead mans Gun. Kate Jackson, after being helped by Rosie o Donnell, managed to adopt in September 1995 a son named Charles Taylor just two hours after his birth and finally her dream of being a mother came true. She continued her prolific acting career starring in the films The Cold Heart of a Killer, Silence of Adultery, What Happened to Bobby Earl, Sweet Deception, Error in Judgment and many many more. Off-screen, Kate Jackson has made time to contribute to women in the arena of health awareness.
In 1999, at Israel Cancer Research Fund's annual "Women of Action" luncheon, where Barbara Boxer gave the keynote speech, Kate Jackson was honored for her work on behalf of preventing breast cancer. She was recognized with the research fund's Humanitarian Award. Kate Jackson is not only in films and television. She was also for many years the spokesperson for "Lincoln Mercury Cars" (including numerous TV commercials) , "Just 5 Hair Color", "Reading is Fundamental", "Nu Hair" and makes various conferences speaking about health problems, breast cancer and early detection. She also made several television guest appearances in various shows such as Dead Man's Gun (1997), Ally Mc Beal (1997) where she was also nominated for an Emmy award, Twice in a Lifetime (1999) and Chicken soup for the Soul (2000). She also starred in the 2000 Aaron Spelling remake of Satan's School for Girls, a film which was originally aired in 1974 and in which she starred along with Pamela Franklin and Cheryl Ladd. In 2000 she was offered a cameo role in the film version of “Charlie’s Angels”. However, regarding the latter, negotiations fell through after she insisted on playing the villainous role that eventually went to the younger Kelly Lynch.
She made a powerful comeback with the independent film A Mothers Testimony (2001) and also appeared in the black comedy Larceny and the recent family film Miracle Dogs. She is said to be writing her autobiography and currently is working as the spokesperson for the American Heart Association’s Power of Love fund-raising campaign! On May 15, 2003 Kate Jackson received the Power of Love Award from the American Heart Association for her continuous efforts of bringing awareness to heart disease. She appeared in the romance film No Regrets (2004) and on Larry King (2005). For a woman never comfortable in a miniskirt or low-cut blouse, Jackson ranked at a surprisingly high #18 on FHM magazine’s “100 Sexiest Women of All Time” list. A further surprise, considering her long-standing disdain for the show that made her a pop cultural icon, Jackson reunited on stage with her fellow “Angels,” Fawcett and Smith, in tribute to Aaron Spelling, the man who made them all stars, during the 58th Emmy Awards (27 August 2006) telecast. The potentially jaded crowd were wildly enthusiastic to see the original “Charlie’s Angels” together, with Jackson, true to form, declaring to cheers, “We’re taking the brand back!” – a not-so-subtle slam on the later film versions, starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu.
Her last film is the Lifetime TV drama A Daughter's Conviction where she co-stars with Brooke Nevin and she also made a guest appearance in the CBS action series Criminal Minds.Emmy Nominations: