Famke Janssen

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Famke Janssen
Famke Janssen at ATX 2014 (cropped).jpg
Janssen at the ATX TV Festival 2014 for Hemlock Grove
BornFamke Beumer Janssen[1]
(1965-11-05) 5 November 1965 (age 49)[1]
Amstelveen, Netherlands
Years active1992–present
Height5 ft 11.5 in (181.6 cm)
Spouse(s)Kip Williams (m. 1995–2000)
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Famke Janssen
Famke Janssen at ATX 2014 (cropped).jpg
Janssen at the ATX TV Festival 2014 for Hemlock Grove
BornFamke Beumer Janssen[1]
(1965-11-05) 5 November 1965 (age 49)[1]
Amstelveen, Netherlands
Years active1992–present
Height5 ft 11.5 in (181.6 cm)
Spouse(s)Kip Williams (m. 1995–2000)

Famke Beumer Janssen (/ˈfɑːmkə ˈjɑːnsən/; Dutch pronunciation: [ˈfɑmkə ˈjɑnsə(n)]; born 5 November 1965) is a Dutch actress, director, screenwriter, and former fashion model. She played Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye (1995), Jean Grey/Phoenix in the X-Men film series (2000–present), Ava Moore on Nip/Tuck, and Lenore Mills in Taken (2008) and its sequel, Taken 2 (2012). In 2008, she was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity by the United Nations. She made her directorial debut with Bringing Up Bobby in 2011.

Early life and education[edit]

Janssen was born in Amstelveen, Noord-Holland, Netherlands.[2] Her first name, Famke, means "girl" in West Frisian, the native language of the Dutch province Friesland.[3] She was given both her mother and father's surnames; Beumer and Janssen. She retained the name Janssen.[4] She has two sisters, director Antoinette Beumer and actress Marjolein Beumer, both of whom changed their surnames to simply Beumer.[5] In addition to her native Dutch, Janssen speaks English and French. She also learned German, but has not kept up with it.[6] Following her high school graduation, Janssen studied economics for a year at the University of Amsterdam, which she later called "the stupidest idea I ever had."[5] In the early 1990s, she enrolled at Columbia University to study creative writing and literature.


Modelling and early 1990s[edit]

In 1984, Janssen moved to the United States to begin her professional career as a fashion model. She signed with Elite Model Management and worked for Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Victoria's Secret. She starred in a 1988 commercial for the perfume Exclamation by Coty, Inc.[7] Her looks have been compared to Hedy Lamarr and other 1940s films stars.[3]

After retiring from modelling in the early 1990s, Janssen had guest roles on several television series, including a starring role in the 1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Perfect Mate", as empathic metamorph Kamala, opposite Patrick Stewart, with whom she later starred in the X-Men film series.[3] That same year, Janssen was offered the role of Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but turned it down to pursue film roles.[8] Her first film role was alongside Jeff Goldblum in the 1992 crime drama film Fathers & Sons.

Janssen in October 2008


In 1995, Janssen appeared in Pierce Brosnan's first James Bond film, GoldenEye, as femme fatale Xenia Onatopp. She also appeared in Lord of Illusions with Scott Bakula. In an attempt to fight against typecasting after her Bond girl performance, Janssen began seeking out more intriguing support roles, appearing in John Irvin's City of Industry, Woody Allen's Celebrity, Robert Altman's The Gingerbread Man, and Ted Demme's Monument Ave.[9] Denis Leary, her co-star in Monument Ave., was impressed by how easily she blended in, initially not recognizing her as she was already in character.[3] In the late 1990s, she also appeared in The Faculty, Rounders, Deep Rising, and House on Haunted Hill.

X-Men films[edit]

In 2000, Janssen played superhero Dr. Jean Grey in the Marvel Studios film X-Men. She later reprised the role in the 2003 sequel, X2 where her character shows signs of increasing powers but at the end of the film, she is presumably killed. Janssen returns as a very much alive Jean whose death in X2 awoke her dark alternate personality, Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). At the end of the film, she is killed by Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman), who only does it because Jean asks him to, not wanting to hurt anyone when Phoenix is in control. For that role, she won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.[10] She returned as Jean in the 2013 film The Wolverine as a hallucination of Wolverine's.[11]

In 2014, Janssen reprised her role of Jean Grey in a brief cameo for X-Men: Days of Future Past, as did a few of the original actors from the first three films including Anna Paquin and James Marsden. In the film, Wolverine went back in time and changed the course of the future, the result being that the events of the first three movies, including the death of Jean Grey, never happened.[12][13]


Janssen at the 2013 WonderCon

In 2002, Janssen landed the role of villainess Serleena in Men in Black II, but had to abandon the film due to a death in her family.

In addition, Janssen had a prominent role in the second season of the popular TV series Nip/Tuck, as the seductive and manipulative life coach Ava Moore, which earned her Hollywood Life's Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award.[14] She reprised her role in the final two episodes of the series.

In 2007, she starred in Turn the River, for which she was awarded the Special Recognition Best Actress Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival.[15] The following year, she starred in Luc Besson's Taken. Janssen also continued to work in television, appearing in TV pilots for NBC's cop drama Winters and Showtime's The Farm, a The L Word spin-off set in a women's prison. Both pilots were rejected by their respective networks. Janssen also provided the Dutch-language narration for the Studio Tram Tour at all Disney theme parks.[9]

In 2011, Janssen made her directorial début with the drama Bringing Up Bobby. She also wrote the screenplay to the film, which stars Milla Jovovich, Bill Pullman, and Marcia Cross.[16] She reprised her role as Lenore Mills in Taken 2 (2012) and starred as the main villain Muriel in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013).

Janssen has starred in the Netflix Original, horror thriller television series Hemlock Grove since 2013 where she plays the role of family matriarch Olivia Godfrey.[17]

Personal life and activism[edit]

Janssen was married to writer and director Kip Williams, son of architect Tod Williams, from 1995 to 2000.[2]

Janssen appeared with her dog Licorice, a brindle Boston Terrier, in a 2007 PETA campaign to raise awareness for animal rights. The campaign used the slogan "Be an Angel for Animals."[18] On 28 January 2008, she was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime at a United Nations anti-corruption conference held in Nusa Dua, Bali.[19]



1992Fathers & SonsKyle Christian
1994Relentless IV: Ashes to AshesDr. Sara Lee JaffeeVideo
1995GoldenEyeXenia Onatopp
1995Lord of IllusionsDorothea Swann
1996Dead GirlTreasure
1997City of IndustryRachel Montana
1998Monument Ave.Katy O'Connor
1998Gingerbread Man, TheThe Gingerbread ManLeeanne Magruder
1998Deep RisingTrillian St. James
1998RPMClaudia Haggs
1998Adventures of Sebastian Cole, TheThe Adventures of Sebastian ColeFiona
1998Faculty, TheThe FacultyMiss Elizabeth Burke
1999House on Haunted HillEvelyn Stockard-Price
2000Love & SexKate Welles
2000CircusLily Garfield
2000X-MenJean Grey
2001Don't Say a WordAgatha "Aggie" Conrad
2002I SpyRachel Wright
2003X2Jean Grey
2004EulogyJudy Arnolds
2005Hide and SeekDr. Katherine Carson
2006X-Men: The Last StandJean Grey/Dark Phoenix
2006Treatment, TheThe TreatmentAllegra Marshall
2007Ten, TheThe TenGretchen Reigert
2007Turn the RiverKailey Sullivan
2008Wackness, TheThe WacknessKristen Squires
2008TakenLenore "Lenny" Mills
2008100 FeetMarnie Watson
2010The ChameleonJennifer Johnson
2011Down the ShoreMary Reed
2011Bringing Up BobbyN/ADirector, producer, writer
2012Taken 2Lenore "Lenny" Mills
2013Hansel and Gretel: Witch HuntersMuriel
2013The WolverineJean Grey
2013In the Woods
2014A Fighting ManDiane Schuler
2014UnityNarrator (voice)Documentary; post-production
2014X-Men: Days of Future PastJean GreyCameo
2015Taken 3Lenore "Lenny" MillsPost-Production


1992Star Trek: The Next GenerationKamalaTV series (1 episode: "The Perfect Mate")
1994Melrose PlaceDiane AdamsonTV series (1 episode: "Michael's Game")
1994Model by DayLex/Lady XTV movie
1994Untouchables, TheThe UntouchablesCleoTV series (1 episode: "Voyeur")
2000–2001Ally McBealJamieTV series (2 episodes)
2004–2010Nip/TuckAva MooreTV series (11 episodes)
2007WintersChristie WintersTV movie
2008Puppy LoveMayaTV series
2009Farm, TheThe FarmValentina GalindoTV movie
2013–presentHemlock GroveOlivia GodfreyTV series (Main cast)
2014@midnightHerselfEpisode dated July 16, 2014; Guest appearance

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearNominated WorkAwardResults
1995GoldenEyeMTV Movie Award for Best Fight (shared with Pierce Brosnan)Nominated
2006X-Men: The Last StandTeen Choice Award for Choice Liplock (Shared with Hugh Jackman)Nominated
2007X-Men: The Last StandSaturn Award for Best Supporting ActressWon


  1. ^ a b "Famke Janssen- Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Famke Janssen Biography". FilmReference.com. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d Elias, Justine (15 November 1998). "Famke Janssen; Transformations As a Way of Life, Not Just on Screen". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Famke Janssen [1964]". newnetherlandinstitute.org. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Malanowski, Jamie (20 August 2000). "A Scene Stealer's Big Score". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2009. 
  6. ^ Toal, Drew (7–13 May 2008). "The Hot Seat: She's a hustler, baby". Time Out New York. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "Famke Janssen Exclamation perfume commercial". YouTube.com. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Famke Janssen". BuddyTV. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Famke Janssen on Tavis Smiley". PBS.org. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Famke Janssen [1965] Stage and Screen Performer". New Netherland Institute. Retrieved 21 October 2014. In 2007 she won three awards, the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress 
  11. ^ Robert Yaniz Jr. "‘The Wolverine’: Hugh Jackman on Jean Grey’s Return". Screen Rant. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Rob Keyes. "Famke Janssen on ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Return: ‘Stay Tuned’". Screen Rant. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Marc Malkin (30 May 2014). "X-Men: How Famke Janssen Kept Her Days of Future Past Cameo a Secret". E!. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Famke Janssen at Hollywood Life Magazine's Breakthrough of the Year Awards
  15. ^ "2007 Hamptons International Film Festival Awards". HamptonsFilmFest.org. 4 January 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  16. ^ Gilmore, Joan (5 August 2010). "Around Town: Bobby crew at JRB gallery". The Journal Record. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  17. ^ Gina McIntyre (27 May 2014). "‘Hemlock Grove’ first look: Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard in Season 2". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "Famke Janssen Is an Angel for Animals". PETA. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  19. ^ "UN Anti-Corruption Conference Opens in Bali". UNIS Vienna. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 

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