Jacqueline Bisset

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Jacqueline Bisset

Bisset in September 2007
BornWinifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset
(1944-09-13) 13 September 1944 (age 68)
Weybridge, Surrey, England, UK
Years active1965–present
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Jacqueline Bisset

Bisset in September 2007
BornWinifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset
(1944-09-13) 13 September 1944 (age 68)
Weybridge, Surrey, England, UK
Years active1965–present

Jacqueline Bisset (born 13 September 1944) is an English actress.


Early life and family

Bisset was born Winifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset[1] in Weybridge, Surrey, England, the daughter of Arlette Alexander, a lawyer turned housewife of French and English descent, and Max Fraser Bisset, a Scottish general practitioner.[2][3][4] She was brought up in Reading, Berkshire, where she lived in the suburb of Tilehurst. Bisset's mother cycled from Paris and boarded a British troop transport to escape the Germans during World War II.[5] 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. In the following years while Bisset was working as an actress in Hollywood, she made frequent trips back home in order to care for her mother, which she says got in the way of her personal relationships.[6]

Bisset's parents divorced in 1968, after 28 years of marriage.[5] Her father died aged 71 of a brain tumour in 1982. Her mother died in 1999.[7]


Bisset at the 1989 Academy Awards

Bisset made her screen debut as an extra in The Knack ...and How to Get It (1965). Her first speaking role was in the 1966 film Cul-de-sac, starring Donald Pleasence and directed by Roman Polanski. In 1967, Bisset had small roles as Audrey Hepburn's friend in Two for the Road and as Miss Goodthighs in the James Bond satire Casino Royale. That same year, she was cast in her first lead role in The Cape Town Affair (1967) opposite James Brolin.

In 1968, Bisset gained mainstream recognition when she replaced Mia Farrow for the role of Norma MacIver in The Detective; Farrow's marriage to co-star Frank Sinatra had just ended, and the role was given to Bisset. That same year, she received her first Golden Globe nomination as New Star of the Year for her role in The Sweet Ride opposite Michael Sarrazin, and played Steve McQueen's girlfriend in the police drama Bullitt, which was among the top five highest-grossing films of the year.

Bisset continued to work prolifically, averaging two films a year over the next decade. In 1969, she played her first "older woman" (at 25) in the sex comedy The First Time.[8] She was one of the many stars in the blockbuster disaster film Airport (1970), in which she played a pregnant flight attendant 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, and St. Ives (1976) with Charles Bronson.

In addition to her many American films, Bisset also appeared in several French and Italian productions. She earned respect from European critics for her performance in François Truffaut's Day for Night (1973), starred in Le Magnifique (1973) with Jean-Paul Belmondo and The Sunday Woman (1975) with Marcello Mastroianni.

Bisset's most famous role was in The Deep (1977), which reunited her with Bullitt director Peter Yates. A scene of her swimming underwater wearing only a thin, white T-shirt and bikini bottom helped make the film a box office success, leading the producer Peter Guber to say, "That T-shirt made me a rich man".[9] About that time, a small Dutch-produced film Bisset had made six years earlier was re-released in the United States under the title Secrets. That film featured the only extensive nude scenes of Bisset's career, and the producers cashed in on her fame.

In 1978, Bisset starred opposite Anthony Quinn in The Greek Tycoon, and received a second Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress in a Comedy for Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?. In 1980, she co-starred with Paul Newman in the Irwin Allen disaster film When Time Ran Out. In 1981, she co-produced and starred in George Cukor's final film, Rich and Famous. In 1983, she played Rob Lowe's attractive mother who seduces her son's best friend (Andrew McCarthy) in the film Class. Bisset received a fourth Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actress in 1984 for John Huston's Under the Volcano , which reunited her with Albert Finney, having worked with him previously in Two for the Road and Murder on the Orient Express.

Since the mid-1980s, Bisset has appeared primarily in made-for-television and independent films. In 1996, she was nominated for a César Award for her role in the French film La Cérémonie. In 1998, she appeared in Dangerous Beauty as the mother of Catherine McCormack's character. Bisset received Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations for her part in the 1999 miniseries Joan of Arc. Other notable productions include the Biblical epics Jesus (1999) and In the Beginning (2000). In 2001, she starred in The Sleepy Time Gal, which received strong reviews but was not given a theatrical release. One of her later television films, in 2003, was America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story, in which she portrayed Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. In 2005, she had a small role in the Domino Harvey biographical film Domino with Keira Knightley.

In 2006, Bisset had a recurring role on the TV series Nip/Tuck as the ruthless extortionist James. In 2008, she received critical acclaim for her performances in the Hallmark television film An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving,[10] and the Holocaust drama Death in Love. Bisset's most recent feature film is The Last Film Festival; the film was shot in 2008, but it's release has been delayed due to the untimely death of her co-star, Dennis Hopper, who had not completed filming all of his scenes.

In 2010, Bisset was awarded the Légion d'honneur insignia, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy calling her "a movie icon."[11]

Personal life

Bisset has never married, though she has had several lengthy romances. These include a relationship with the Canadian actor Michael Sarrazin that lasted over 10 years,[12] as well as relationships with the Moroccan film producer Victor Drai,[13] the Russian dancer/actor Alexander Godunov,[13] and the Turkish martial arts instructor Emin Boztepe.[14] "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."[15] She also dated the French actor Vincent Perez, who was 20 years her junior.[16] Author Marc Eliot wrote that Bisset had an affair with the actor Steve McQueen,[17][18] which she has not publicly discussed, though she said in a 2007 interview "[He] was sort of manic and yet very hard to know. We didn't get close."[19]

Bisset has said that she never desired to have children, explaining "The feeling I wanted in life was the one I got from my friends."[15]

Bisset and Maximilian Schell are the godparents of actress Angelina Jolie.[20] At the time of Jolie's birth, Bisset was starring with Jolie's father, Jon Voight, in the film End of the Game, which Schell directed.

Bisset resides in Benedict Canyon.[21][22]


Film and television
1965Knack ...and How to Get It, TheThe Knack ...and How to Get ItExtraUncredited
1966Drop Dead DarlingDancerAKA Arrivederci, Baby!
1967Two for the RoadJackie
1967Casino RoyaleMiss Goodthighs
1967Cape Town Affair, TheThe Cape Town AffairCandy
1968Detective, TheThe DetectiveNorma Maclver
1968Sweet Ride, TheThe Sweet RideVickie CartwrightNominated—Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress
1969First Time, TheThe First TimeAnna
1969Secret WorldWendy SinclairOriginal title: L'échelle blanche
1969Grasshopper, TheThe GrasshopperChristine AdamsNominated—Laurel Award for Best Female Dramatic Performance
1970AirportGwen Meighen
1971Mephisto Waltz, TheThe Mephisto WaltzPaula Clarkson
1971Believe in MePamela
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
1973Day for NightJulieOriginal 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
1979Amo non amoLouiseAKA Together ?
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 KareninaTV film
1986ChoicesMarisa GrangerTV film
1987High SeasonKatherine Shaw
1987Napoleon and Josephine: A Love StoryJosephine de BeauharnaisTV mini-series
1988La maison de JadeJane Lambert
1989Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly HillsClare Lipkin
1989Wild OrchidClaudia
1991Maid, TheThe MaidNicole ChantrelleTV film
1991Rossini! Rossini!Isabella Colbran
1993Hoffman's HungerMarian HoffmanTV mini-series, Original title: Hoffman's Honger
1993Corrupt JusticeHolly McPheeTV film; AKA CrimeBroker
1993Les marmottesFrédérique
1994Leave of AbsenceNellTV film
1995La CérémonieCatherine LelievreNominated—César Award for Best Supporting Actress
1996SeptemberPandoraTV film
1996Once You Meet a StrangerSheila GainesTV film
1997End of SummerChristine Van BurenTV film
1998Dangerous BeautyPaola Franco
1999Let the Devil Wear BlackHelen Lyne
1999Witch HuntBarbara ThomasTV film
1999Joan of ArcIsabelle d'ArcTV mini-series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1999Hey Arnold!Madame ParvenuTV series; 1 episode
1999JesusMaryTV film
2000BritannicLady LewisTV film
2000Les gens qui s'aimentAngie
2000Sex & Mrs. XMadame SimoneTV film
2000In the BeginningSarahTV film
2001Sleepy Time Gal, TheThe Sleepy Time GalFrancesNominated—Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress
2001New Years DayGeraldine
2001Ally McBealFrances ShawTV series; 2 episodes
2002Dancing at the Harvest MoonMaggie WebberTV film
2003America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. StoryJacqueline Bouvier Kennedy OnassisTV film
2003Latter DaysLila
2003SwingChristine / Mrs. DeLuca
2003Law & Order: SVUJuliet BarclayTV series; 1 episode
2004Survivors Club, TheThe Survivors ClubCarol RosenTV film
2004FascinationMaureen Doherty
2005Fine Art of Love: Mine Ha-Ha, TheThe Fine Art of Love: Mine Ha-Ha'Headmistress
2005DominoSophie Wynn
2005Summer SolsticeAlexiaTV film
2006Save the Last Dance 2Monique
2006Nip/TuckJames LeBeauTV series; 7 episodes
2007Carolina MoonMargaret LavelleTV film
2008Death in LoveMotherBoston Film Festival Best Actress
Ibiza International Film Festival – Best Actress
2008Old Fashioned Thanksgiving, AnAn Old Fashioned ThanksgivingIsabellaNominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television
2009Eastmans, TheThe EastmansEmma EastmanUnaired TV pilot
2010Last Film Festival, TheThe Last Film FestivalClaudia Benvenuti
2010An Old Fashioned ChristmasIsabellaTV film
2011Rizzoli & IslesConstance Isles, Maura Isles' motherTV series; 3 episodes
2011Two JacksDiana – 20 years later


  1. ^ Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916–2005.; at ancestry.com
  2. ^ "Jacqueline Bisset Biography (1944–)". FilmReference.com. http://www.filmreference.com/film/71/Jacqueline-Bisset.html. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "NewsLibrary Search Results". http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=LB&p_theme=lb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EAE916B1F906876&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. 
  4. ^ "NewsLibrary Search Results". http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=LA&p_theme=la&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EF6698042776E29&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. 
  5. ^ a b "Jacqueline Bisset Biography". movies.yahoo.com. Yahoo! Movies. http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1800021522/bio. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Charlie Rose: January 28, 1997". Google. 28 January 1997. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1101127103008678698#. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "I want to marry my toy boy". Jacquelinebissetfans.org. http://www.jacquelinebissetfans.org/dailymail.html. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  8. ^ "Jacqueline Bisset". Nndb.com. http://www.nndb.com/people/610/000024538/. 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. ^ JACQUELINE BISSET Reprises Role in Hallmark’s AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS Daemons TV. Retrieved on 3 October 2010
  11. ^ Olivia de Havilland, Jacqueline Bisset receive French honors USA Today. 9 September 2010
  12. ^ The Times Michael Sarrazin Obituary p67, 20 April 2011.
  13. ^ a b Wallace, David (1 April 1985). "Just Your Ordinary Couple". People. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20090316,00.html. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  14. ^ Schneider, Karen (March 23, 1998). "Driving Miss Bisset". People. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20124792,00.html. 
  15. ^ a b "Interviews » Blog Archive » Giving thanks for Jacqueline Bisset". Hollywood and Fine. 21 November 2008. http://hollywoodandfine.com/interviews/?p=117. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  16. ^ Sneed, Michael (November 12, 1989). Chicago Sun-Times. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=CSTB&p_theme=cstb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB36E872522B626&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. 
  17. ^ Marc, Eliot (2011). Steve McQueen: A Biography. Crown Publishing Group. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-307-45323-5. 
  18. ^ Thompson, David (November 6, 2011). The New Republic. http://www.tnr.com/book/review/steve-mcqueen-marc-eliot. 
  19. ^ McBain, Rosemary (January 21, 2007). The Daily Telegraph. http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG3358309/Keeping-up-appearances.html. 
  20. ^ "Jolie denies trying to steal Kylie's man". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). 12 April 2004. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/12/1081621877177.html. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ [2]

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