Edit
Jacqueline Bisset Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (22) | Personal Quotes (27) | Salary (4)

Overview (3)

Born in Weybridge, Surrey, England, UK
Birth NameWinnifred Jacqueline Fraser-Bisset
Height 5' 6½" (1.69 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jacqueline Bisset has been an international film star since the late 1960s. She received her first roles mainly because of her stunning beauty, but over time she has become a fine actress respected by fans and critics alike. Bisset has worked with directors John Huston, François Truffaut, George Cukor and Roman Polanski. Her co-stars have included Anthony Quinn, Paul Newman, Nick Nolte, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Kenneth Branagh and Marcello Mastroianni.

Her somewhat French-sounding name has led many to assume that she is from France, but she was brought up in England and had to study to learn French. Her mother was French and was an attorney before being married. As a child Jacqueline studied ballet. During her teenage years her father left the family when her mother was diagnosed with disseminating sclerosis; Jacqueline worked as a model to support her ailing mother and eventually her parents divorced, an experience she has said she considered character-strengthening. She took an early interest in film, and her modeling career helped pay for acting lessons.

In 1967 Bisset gained her first critical attention in Two for the Road (1967), and in that same year appeared briefly in the popular James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967), playing Miss Goodthighs. In 1968 her career got a boost when Mia Farrow unexpectedly dropped out of the shooting of The Detective (1968); Farrow's marriage to co-star Frank Sinatra was on the rocks, and her role was eventually given to Bisset, who received special billing in the film's credits. That same year she earned a Golden Globe nomination as Most Promising Newcomer for The Sweet Ride (1968), and gained even more attention playing opposite Steve McQueen in the popular action film Bullitt (1968). In 1970 she was featured in the star-studded disaster film Airport (1970) and had the starring role in The Grasshopper (1970). Then she co-starred with Alan Alda in the well-reviewed but commercially underperforming horror movie, The Mephisto Waltz (1971). In 1973 she became recognized in Europe as a serious dramatic actress when she played the lead in Day for Night (1973). However, it would be several years before her talents would be taken seriously in the US. Though she scored another domestic hit with Murder on the Orient Express (1974), her part in it, as had often been the case, was decorative. She did appear to good effect in The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973), The Man from Acapulco (1973), The Sunday Woman (1975) and St. Ives (1976).

Jacqueline's stunning looks and figure made quite a splash in The Deep (1977). Her underwater swimming scenes in that movie inspired the worldwide wet T-shirt craze, and Newsweek magazine declared her "the most beautiful film actress of all time". The film's producer, Peter Guber, said "That T-shirt made me a rich man." However, she hated the wet T-shirt scenes because she felt exploited. At the time of filming she was not told that the filmmakers would shoot the scenes in such a provocative way, and she felt tricked. Nevertheless, the huge success of the picture made Bisset officially bankable. She was next seen in high-profile roles in The Greek Tycoon (1978), a thinly disguised fictionalization of the marriage of Jacqueline Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis, and Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978), for which she received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress in a Comedy.

In the early 1980s, Bisset starred in the box office disasters When Time Ran Out... (1980) and Inchon (1981), but her well-received turn opposite Candice Bergen in Rich and Famous (1981) in between those two films gained her recognition as a serious actress from American audiences. She rebounded neatly with Class (1983), playing Rob Lowe's attractive mother who has an affair with her son's prep school roommate, and as Albert Finney's wife in Under the Volcano (1984), a part that earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also earned praise for her work in the cable adaptation of Anna Karenina (1985) with Christopher Reeve, and in the miniseries Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story (1987) with Armand Assante. In 1989 she co-starred in the racy comedy Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989) and the controversial erotic thriller Wild Orchid (1989), neither of which did well financially, but her output remained consistent with television projects and independent features.

In 1996, she was nominated for a César Award, the French equivalent of the Oscar, for her performance in La Cérémonie (1995). She held roles in period productions like Dangerous Beauty (1998), as a retired courtesan in 16th-century Venice, and the Biblical epics Jesus (1999) and In the Beginning (2000), playing the Virgin Mary and Sarah, wife of Abraham, respectively. Other notable credits included the miniseries Joan of Arc (1999) alongside Leelee Sobieski, which gained her an Emmy nomination, and The Sleepy Time Gal (2001), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival but, unfortunately, was not picked up for theatrical distribution. In 2005 Jacqueline was back on the big screen, playing Keira Knightley's mother in the Domino Harvey biopic Domino (2005) for Tony Scott, and in 2006 she had a meaty recurring role in the fourth season of the FX series Nip/Tuck (2003) as the ruthless extortionist "James." More recently she appeared in BBC's program Dancing on the Edge (2013), for which she finally won her first Golden Globe Award, and in the movies Welcome to New York (2014) with Gérard Depardieu and Miss You Already (2015) with Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette.

Bisset has never married, but has been involved in long-term romantic relationships with Canadian actor Michael Sarrazin, Moroccan entrepreneur Victor Drai, Russian ballet dancer Alexander Godunov, Swiss actor Vincent Perez and Turkish martial arts instructor Emin Boztepe. She continues to make numerous films, and frequently participates in film festivals and award ceremonies around the world.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Roger Burns <rogerburns@att.net>

Trade Mark (4)

Natural brunette hair
Sparkling green eyes
Voluptuous figure
Deep sultry voice

Trivia (22)

Her first job was a waitress in a Chinese restaurant.
Favorite films: Brief Encounter (1945), Splendor in the Grass (1961).
Favorite actresses: Jeanne Moreau, Jessica Lange
Considers her most fulfilling role to be Julie in François Truffaut's Day for Night (1973).
Her favorite scene: fighting with Anthony Quinn in The Greek Tycoon (1978).
Dated French actor, Vincent Perez.
Godmother of actress Angelina Jolie.
Member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2001.
No relation to Josie Bissett.
Said her last name is pronounced "Bissit" and rhymes with "Kiss it".
(1967-1973) Cohabited with Michael Sarrazin.
(1975-1980) Cohabited with Victor Drai.
(1981-1988) Cohabited with Alexander Godunov.
(1994-2005) Cohabited with Emin Boztepe.
When she accepted her Golden Globe Award for her role in the British television miniseries Dancing on the Edge (2013) in 2014, she reminded the audience that it had been 45 years since she had first been honored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Turned down the role of Elizabeth McGraw in 9½ Weeks (1986) due to the amount of nudity the script called for.
Friends with Isabelle Huppert, as well as with Marcheline Bertrand and Sharon Tate (both deceased).
Drives a black Cadillac Eldorado convertible.
In a late 1990s radio interview, she spoke in defense of Mary Kay Letourneau, the 35-year-old Seattle schoolteacher who had a baby with her 13-year-old student, suggesting Letourneau's feelings for the boy were "genuine".
Jacqueline Bisset was actually among the earliest actresses to earn a seven-figure fee for a single performance, when she was paid $1.65 million to do Inchon (1981). The movie turned out to be a huge flop, and for many years held the record as being the largest financial failure in cinema history.
Was considered for the role of Amy in Straw Dogs (1971).

Personal Quotes (27)

Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades.
I'm fascinated by a man with a twinkle in his eye.
I'm either offered window-dressing parts in large movies or little art films no one ever sees. People think the movies I end up doing are my real choices. I do the best things I'm offered.
After filming The Deep (1977), all they talked about was my boobs for the next four years. God, if I was going to do a picture like that, I'd have done it a lot sexier. That looked like two fried eggs on a platter.
The picture is called Class (1983) but the ad campaign is anything but. They've put my head onto another body and given me enormous bosoms. All the guys are going to be disappointed.
[on her childhood home] Not one newspaper that came into the house ever left it. There were masses of books everywhere and furniture enough for three homes. My brother and I were extremely upset by it - and have now turned into clean freaks.
I grew up in a small town, so it was thrilling to come to London in the '60s. Everyone was experimenting and having fun. We would go to Soho and meet all those incredible image changers: Roman Polanski, David Bailey, The Beatles, Ursula Andress and Terence Stamp, who is still a close friend.
I look at photos of myself and think, "God, if I had realized I was so cute, I would have been naughtier!". But you could put any woman in a wet T-shirt and men would lust after her.
I have never had any cosmetic surgery. I've never worried about age. I don't think all the nips and tucks look good. If these women who've had work done looked sideways in the mirror, they would see that they get a stiff curtain across their face. I think they do it because they are terrified of not being loved and of other people's opinions. Things on my body are not up as much as they used to be, and that's a bore. So I just smile more, which helps. I am becoming a fuller person as I get older.
[on boyfriend Emin Boztepe] Our age gap is not a big issue. It just depends on what you have in common and, although Emin is much younger, he's a very mature man. There are things that are different about someone who is not of the same generation as you: they don't know everything you know; they look at things differently, but things can work out just fine.
[on Steve McQueen] It was exciting working with him. But he was a hip American and I was very English. His phrases would drive me nuts. I didn't know what a dude was or a soul chick. I did find him attractive, but a little bit scary. He'd get on his bike and take off like a wild alley cat; that was his escape from fame.
[on Nick Nolte] Nick is a very sexy man. He is not very aware of that himself, though, he doesn't act "sexy" -- he's just Nick. That is an extremely intriguing kind of sexy.
[on Albert Finney] Albert is a little bombastic, but he has a twinkle in the eye. He treats me like an ex-wife.
I have an intense obsession with making films. I not only love to make films, I perhaps need to make films.
I love being in my garden. I don't plant a lot of exotic flora, but I do spend a lot of time outside doing manual labor.
I'd like to get my public image nearer to my reality. People have a lot of misconceptions.
My view is quite simple. When your dog pees on the carpet, you do not give away your dog. You say, This dog is special. I have to teach him not to pee on the carpet. I feel exactly the same way about men. They need to be taught things.
Ideally, couples need three lives; one for him, one for her, and one for them together.
Marriage has just never interested me.
The thing about anything in life is you have to get ready for it. Study, learn.
To be used in a part without depth is a frustrating feeling, when you know you have something to give.
When I am working on a movie, all I want to talk about is the movie. All I want to be with are the movie people. It's like a clan. If I'm asked to people's houses for dinner, I hate to go, because they'll talk about other things.
You could have a fantasy, but it's got to be based on something you are able to do. I think a lot of people's unhappiness comes with their lack of reality.
[speaking about her goddaughter Angelina Jolie in 2015] Unfortunately, I haven't really developed a close relationship with Angelina. I see her rarely. I'm a little bit shy, actually, to be truthful, and I don't want to be someone who tries to take advantage of her.
[in 2008] I think the world's gone nuts. I'm not very proud of the way things are. I don't feel very proud of America, the way things are, just the complete lack of discipline. I think it makes America look really cheap, the mixture of all these young women just showing everything and behaving like wild things. I mean, we're all wild when we're young, you know, but there's some degree, it's just a matter of degree. I just feel like all these kids just have no parents, there's no one looking after them, and I think that's really, really said, that no one is willing to be disciplinary for young people so they have something to emulate. I really feel horrified by it. I feel really sorry for these girls, too, and I wonder if they have anybody they can trust, to talk to and put an arm around them, you know, someone genuine who is not self-interested. I presume it will pass, this time, because if it goes on...it's hard to imagine. Society goes through times when things are out of control, more than less.
If you keep your dignity deep within yourself and you know why you did something -- anything -- then you'll carry your dignity with you. If You sell yourself for the wrong reasons with the attitude, "Oh, I'll go through with this, take the money and run," it will catch up with you. Ultimately, there will be a shallowness and a taking from life rather than giving.
The spectacular movies they're making now, that's not the industry I wanted to go into when I came into films. I wanted to make films about intimate feelings, women and women's feelings [about] men--stories about people getting through and becoming stronger, becoming weaker...ordinary life.

Salary (4)

La nuit américaine (1973) FRF200,000 + 20% royalty on the profits
The Deep (1977) $200,000
Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978) $500,000
Inchon (1981) $1,650,000

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page