Jacqueline Bisset

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Jacqueline Bisset
Bisset in September 2007
BornWinifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset
(1944-09-13) 13 September 1944 (age 70)
Weybridge, Surrey, England
Years active1965–present
Partner(s)Michael Sarrazin
Alexander Godunov
Victor Drai[1]
Emin Boztepe
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Jacqueline Bisset
Bisset in September 2007
BornWinifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset
(1944-09-13) 13 September 1944 (age 70)
Weybridge, Surrey, England
Years active1965–present
Partner(s)Michael Sarrazin
Alexander Godunov
Victor Drai[1]
Emin Boztepe

Winifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset (born 13 September 1944) is a British actress. In 2010, she received one of France's highest honours, the Légion d'honneur.

Bisset began her film career in 1965 and first came to prominence in 1968, starring opposite Frank Sinatra in The Detective and Steve McQueen in Bullitt, and received a most promising newcomer Golden Globe nomination for The Sweet Ride. In the 1970s, she appeared in François Truffaut's Day for Night (1973) which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Murder on the Orient Express (1974), opposite Nick Nolte in The Deep (1977) and received a Golden Globe nomination for Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978).

Other film and TV credits include Rich and Famous (1981), Class (1983), her Golden Globe nominated role in Under the Volcano (1984), her Cesar nominated role in La Cérémonie (1995), her Emmy nominated role in the miniseries Joan of Arc (1999) and the BBC miniseries Dancing on the Edge (2013), for which she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress (television).

Early life[edit]

Bisset was born Winifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset[2] in Weybridge, Surrey, England, the daughter of Arlette Alexander, a lawyer turned housewife, and Max Fraser Bisset, a general practitioner.[3] She was brought up in Tilehurst. Her father was Scottish and her mother was of French and English descent;[4][5] Bisset's mother cycled from Paris and boarded a British troop transport to escape the Germans during World War II.[6] Bisset has a brother, Max. Her mother taught her to speak French fluently, and she was educated at the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in London. She had taken ballet lessons as a child and began taking acting lessons and fashion modelling to pay for them. When Bisset was a teenager, her mother was diagnosed with disseminating sclerosis.[7]

Bisset's parents divorced in 1968, after 28 years of marriage.[6] Her father died aged 71 of a brain tumour in 1982. Her mother died in 1999.[8]


First appearing as an extra in 1965's The Knack ...and How to Get It, Bisset made her official film debut the following year in Roman Polanski's Cul-de-sac (1966). In 1967, she appeared in the movie Two for the Road. Next, she participated in the James Bond satire, Casino Royale, as Miss Goodthighs. That same year, she played her first lead role in The Cape Town Affair, opposite James Brolin.

Bisset in 1969

In 1968, Bisset gained mainstream recognition when she replaced Mia Farrow for the role of Norma MacIver in The Detective, opposite Frank Sinatra. In the same year, she co-starred with Michael Sarrazin in The Sweet Ride, which brought her a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer, and played Steve McQueen's girlfriend in the police drama Bullitt, which was among the top five highest-grossing films of the year.

In 1969, she played her first "older woman" (at 25) in the sex comedy The First Time. She was one of the many stars in the 1970 disaster film Airport, as a pregnant stewardess carrying Dean Martin's love child. Following films included The Mephisto Waltz (1971) with Alan Alda, The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973) with Ryan O'Neal, The Spiral Staircase (1975) with Christopher Plummer, End of the Game (1975) with Jon Voight and St. Ives (1976) with Charles Bronson.

Several of Bisset's movies are also French or Italian productions. In 1973, she appeared in François Truffaut's Day for Night, where she earned the respect of European critics and moviegoers as a serious actress. She co-starred with Marcello Mastroianni in Luigi Comencini's La donna della domenica in 1975.

In 1977, Bisset made strides towards becoming a better-known entertainer in America with her movie The Deep, where swimming underwater wearing only a T-shirt for a top, helped make the film a box office success, leading the producer Peter Guber to say, "That T-shirt made me a rich man,"[9] and led many to credit her with popularising the wet T-shirt contest. At the time, Newsweek declared her "the most beautiful film actress of all time." About that time, a small Dutch-produced film Bisset had made some years earlier was re-released in the United States under the title Secrets. That movie featured the only extensive nude scenes of Bisset's career and the producers cashed in on her fame.

By 1978, she was a household name. In that year she earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress (Comedy) for her performance in Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, and starred opposite Anthony Quinn in The Greek Tycoon. Soon thereafter, she played in the movies When Time Ran Out (1980) with Paul Newman, and George Cukor's Rich and Famous (1981) with Candice Bergen, where she also served as co-producer. In 1983, she starred in Class (1983), as Rob Lowe's attractive mother who seduces her son's best friend (Andrew McCarthy). She earned another Golden Globe nomination for her role in John Huston's Under the Volcano (1984) opposite Albert Finney.

Bisset at the 1989 Academy Awards

Bisset has appeared in many made-for-TV movies since the mid-1980s. One of her later TV movies, in 2003, was America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story, in which she portrayed Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Bisset's other television work includes the Biblical epics Jesus (1999) and In the Beginning (2000), and the miniseries Joan of Arc, which earned her an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

In 1996, Bisset was nominated for a César Award for her role in the French film La Cérémonie. She appeared in Dangerous Beauty (1998) with Catherine McCormack, and in the Domino Harvey biographical film Domino (2005) with Keira Knightley.

In 2006, Bisset had a recurring role on the TV series Nip/Tuck as the ruthless extortionist James. She starred in the lead role of Boaz Yakin's Death in Love which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Later in 2008, she starred in the Hallmark television film An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving. She recently[when?] finished filming The Last Film Festival, which was the final screen appearance of Dennis Hopper.

In 2010, Bisset was awarded the Légion d'honneur insignia, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy calling her "a movie icon."[10]

She returned to the UK to film Stephen Poliakoff's 1930s jazz drama series, Dancing on the Edge, which started on BBC2 in 2013.[11] For her work, she won the Golden Globe for Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.

Personal life[edit]

Bisset is godmother to actress Angelina Jolie.[12]

Bisset has never married, though she has had lengthy romances with actor Michael Sarrazin,[13] Russian-American dancer and actor Alexander Godunov,[1] real estate magnate Victor Drai,[1] actor Vincent Pérez,[14] and martial arts instructor Emin Boztepe.[15] "I feel like I was married to them because I was very dedicated to them", she said in a 2008 interview. "But I also used to feel claustrophobic. Like many people who don't easily commit, I think I had a fear of being known; I was not sure there was anybody inside there."[16]



1966Drop Dead DarlingDancerAKA Arrivederci, Baby!
1967Casino RoyaleGiovanna Goodthighs
1967Two for the RoadJackie
1967Cape Town Affair, TheThe Cape Town AffairCandy
1968Sweet Ride, TheThe Sweet RideVickie CartwrightNominated—Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress
1968Detective, TheThe DetectiveNorma Maclver
1968BullittCathyLaurel Award for Female New Face (2nd place)
1969First Time, TheThe First TimeAnna
1969Secret WorldWendy SinclairOriginal title: L'échelle blanche
1970AirportGwen Meighen
1970Grasshopper, TheThe GrasshopperChristine AdamsNominated—Laurel Award for Best Female Dramatic Performance
1971Mephisto Waltz, TheThe Mephisto WaltzPaula Clarkson
1972Stand Up and Be CountedSheila Hammond
1972Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, TheThe Life and Times of Judge Roy BeanRose Bean
1973Thief Who Came to Dinner, TheThe Thief Who Came to DinnerLaura Keaton
1973Day for NightJulie BakerOriginal title: La nuit américaine
1973Le MagnifiqueTatiana/ChristineAKA How to Destroy the Reputation of the Greatest Secret Agent...
1974Murder on the Orient ExpressCountess Andreyni
1975The Spiral StaircaseHelen Mallory
1975End of the GameAnna CrawleyOriginal title: Der Richter und sein Henker
1975Sunday Woman, TheThe Sunday WomanAnna Carlo DosioOriginal title: La donna della domenica
1976St. IvesJanet Whistler
1977Deep, TheThe DeepGail Berke
1978Greek Tycoon, TheThe Greek TycoonLiz Cassidy
1978Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?Natasha O'BrienNominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1980When Time Ran OutKay Kirby
1981InchonBarbara Hallsworth
1981Rich and FamousLiz Hamilton
1983ClassEllen Burroughs
1984Under the VolcanoYvonne FirminNominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1984ForbiddenNina von HalderNominated—CableACE Award for Actress in a Movie or Miniseries
1985Anna KareninaAnna KareninaTelevision movie
1986ChoicesMarisa GrangerTelevision movie
1987High SeasonKatherine Shaw
1988La maison de JadeJane Lambert
1989Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly HillsClare Lipkin
1990Wild OrchidClaudia Dennis
1991Maid, TheThe MaidNicole ChantrelleTelevision movie
1991Rossini! Rossini!Isabella Colbran
1993Corrupt JusticeHolly McPheeAKA CrimeBroker
1993Les marmottesFrédérique
1995La CérémonieCatherine LelievreNominated—César Award for Best Supporting Actress
1996SeptemberPandoraTelevision movie
1996Once You Meet a StrangerSheila GainesTelevision movie
1997End of SummerChristine Van BurenTelevision movie
1998Dangerous BeautyPaola Franco
1999Let the Devil Wear BlackHelen Lyne
1999Witch HuntBarbara ThomasTelevision movie
1999JesusMaryTelevision movie
2000BritannicLady LewisTelevision movie
2000Les gens qui s'aimentAngie
2000Sex & Mrs. XMadame SimoneTelevision movie
2000In the BeginningSarahTelevision movie
2001Sleepy Time Gal, TheThe Sleepy Time GalFrances
2001New Years DayGeraldine
2002Dancing at the Harvest MoonMaggie WebberTelevision movie
2003America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. StoryJacqueline Bouvier Kennedy OnassisTelevision movie
2003Latter DaysLila Montagne
2003SwingChristine / Mrs. DeLuca
2004Survivors Club, TheThe Survivors ClubCarol RosenTelevision movie
2004FascinationMaureen Doherty
2005Fine Art of Love: Mine Ha-Ha, TheThe Fine Art of Love: Mine Ha-Ha'Headmistress
2005DominoSophie Wynn
2005Summer SolsticeAlexia WhiteTelevision movie
2006Save the Last Dance 2Monique Delacroix
2007Carolina MoonMargaret LavelleTelevision movie
2008Death in LoveMother
2008Old Fashioned Thanksgiving, AnAn Old Fashioned ThanksgivingIsabellaTelevision movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
2010Last Film Festival, TheThe Last Film FestivalClaudia Benvenuti
2010An Old Fashioned ChristmasIsabellaTelevision movie
2012Two JacksDiana
2014Welcome to New YorkSimone
2015Miss You AlreadyTBDFilming


1987Napoleon and Josephine: A Love StoryJosephine de Beauharnais3 episodes
1999Joan of ArcIsabelle d'Arc2 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1999Hey Arnold!Madame ParvenuEpisode: "Grudge Match/Polishing Rhonda"
2001–2002Ally McBealFrances Shaw2 episodes
2003Law & Order: Special Victims UnitJuliet BarclayEpisode: "Control"
2006Nip/TuckJames LeBeau7 episodes
2009Eastmans, TheThe EastmansEmma EastmanUnsold TV pilot
2011–2012Rizzoli & IslesConstance Isles3 episodes
2013Dancing on the EdgeLady Lavinia Cremone4 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Bisset on a 2001 Somalia stamp


  1. ^ a b c Wallace, David (1 April 1985). "Just Your Ordinary Couple". People. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  2. ^ Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916–2005; at ancestry.com
  3. ^ "Jacqueline Bisset profile". FilmReference.com. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "NewsLibrary Search Results". 
  5. ^ "NewsLibrary Search Results". 
  6. ^ a b "Jacqueline Bisset Biography". movies.yahoo.com. Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Charlie Rose: January 28, 1997". Google. 28 January 1997. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  8. ^ "I want to marry my toy boy". Jacquelinebissetfans.org. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  9. ^ Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters, Hit & Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for A Ride in Hollywood, Simon & Schuster, 1996, p. 85.
  10. ^ Olivia de Havilland, Jacqueline Bisset receive French honors USA Today. 9 September 2010
  11. ^ "Jacqueline Bisset back for first UK drama role in nearly 40 years" The Guardian, 30 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Jolie denies trying to steal Kylie's man". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). 12 April 2004. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  13. ^ The Times Michael Sarrazin Obituary p67, 20 April 2011.
  14. ^ "VINCENT PEREZ : "CA FAIT DU BIEN D'ÊTRE AMOUREUX, MÊME SI ÇA NE DURE PAS"". Closer (Paris, France). 3 January 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  15. ^ Schneider, Karen (March 23, 1998). "Driving Miss Bisset". People magazine. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Interviews » Blog Archive » Giving thanks for Jacqueline Bisset". Hollywood and Fine. 21 November 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 

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