Jacqueline Bisset
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Jacqueline Bisset

Jacqueline Bisset
Jacqueline Bisset, 1969.jpg
Jacqueline Bisset in 1969
Winifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset

(1944-09-13) 13 September 1944 (age 76)
Weybridge, Surrey, England
Years active1965-present
Michael Sarrazin
Victor Drai
Alexander Godunov
Vincent Perez
Emin Boztepe
(1994-2005; 2007-2008)
Awards2010 Légion d'honneur

Winifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset LdH ( BISS-it; born 13 September 1944) is an English film and television actress. She began her film career in 1965, first coming to prominence in 1968 with roles in The Detective, Bullitt, and The Sweet Ride, for which she received a most promising newcomer Golden Globe nomination. In the 1970s, she starred in Airport (1970), Day for Night (1973), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Deep (1977), and Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978), which earned her a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress - Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.

Bisset's other film and TV credits include Rich and Famous (1981), Class (1983), her Golden Globe-nominated role in Under the Volcano (1984), her Cesar Award-nominated role in La Cérémonie (1995), her Emmy Award-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 - Series, Miniseries or Television Film.

Bisset received France's highest honour, the Legion of Honour, in 2010. She speaks English, French and Italian.

Early life

Bisset was born Winifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset[1] in Weybridge, Surrey, England, the daughter of George Maxwell (Max) Fraser Bisset (1911-1982), a general practitioner, and Arlette Alexander (d. 1999), a lawyer-turned-housewife.[2] Her mother was of French and English descent and her father was of Scottish descent;[3][4] Bisset's mother cycled from Paris and boarded a British troop transport to escape the Germans during World War II.[5]

Bisset grew up in Tilehurst, near Reading, Berkshire, in a 17th-century country cottage, where she now lives part of the year.[] She 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 took ballet lessons as a child and began taking acting lessons while working as a fashion model to pay for them. When Bisset was a teenager, her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.[6]

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


Early roles

Bisset first appeared uncredited as a prospective model in the 1965 film The Knack ...and How to Get It, directed by Richard Lester.

She made her official debut the following year in Roman Polanski's Cul-de-sac (1966), credited as "Jackie Bisset". She had a tiny part as a dancer in Drop Dead Darling (1966).

In 1967, Bisset had her first noticeable part in the Albert Finney/Audrey Hepburn vehicle Two for the Road, as a woman in whom Finney's character is romantically interested. It was made by 20th Century Fox, which put her under contract.[7]

Bisset had a more sizeable role in the James Bond satire Casino Royale, as Miss Goodthighs.

Rise to fame

Bisset in 1969

Fox cast Bisset in her first lead part in The Cape Town Affair, opposite James Brolin, filmed in South Africa. She gained mainstream recognition in 1968 when she replaced Mia Farrow as Norma MacIver in The Detective, opposite Frank Sinatra. The film was made at Fox, whose executives had been impressed by Bisset's performance in Two for the Road.[8] The same year, she co-starred with Michael Sarrazin in Fox's The Sweet Ride, which brought her a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. She capped her year as Steve McQueen's girlfriend in the police drama Bullitt, which was among the top five highest-grossing films of the year.


In 1969, Bisset had the starring role in the sex comedy The First Time. The same year, she appeared in Secret World.[9] She was one of the many stars in the 1970 disaster film Airport; her role was that of a pregnant stewardess carrying Dean Martin's love child. It was a huge hit.

Bisset had another starring part in The Grasshopper (1970), which was little seen, and was in The Mephisto Waltz (1971) with Alan Alda. She had the lead in the comedy Stand Up and Be Counted (1972). More popular was The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), where she played the daughter of Paul Newman's title character.

She played the female lead in The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973) with Ryan O'Neal, stepping in for a pregnant Charlotte Rampling.


Bisset went to France to appear in François Truffaut's Day for Night (1973), earning the respect of European critics and moviegoers as a serious actress. She stayed in France to make Le Magnifique (1973) with Jean-Paul Belmondo, a hit in France but little seen in English-speaking countries.

Bisset was one of many stars in the British whodunnit Murder on the Orient Express (1974), an enormous success. In Britain she starred in the remake of The Spiral Staircase (1975).

Bisset went to Germany for End of the Game (1975), directed by Maximillian Schell. In Italy, she co-starred with Marcello Mastroianni in Luigi Comencini's The Sunday Woman (1975). She returned to Hollywood to support Charles Bronson in St. Ives (1976).[10]

The Deep and career peak

In 1977, Bisset gained wide publicity in America with The Deep. A marketing strategy based around Bisset appearing in some scenes underwater wearing only a white T-shirt for a top helped make the film a box-office success.[11] Producer Peter Guber allegedly quipped, "That T-shirt made me a rich man!"[12] Many credit her with popularising wet T-shirt contests[13] but Bisset herself was disappointed that the marketing of her translucent costume detracted from the film's technical achievements.[14] At the time, Newsweek declared her "the most beautiful film actress of all time". In 1978, a UK production, Secrets, that Bisset had made in 1971 was released in the United States. The movie featured the only extensive nude scenes of Bisset's career and the producers cashed in on her fame.

Bisset at the 1989 Academy Awards

By 1978, Bisset was a household name. 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, playing a role based on Jackie Onassis.

After making Together? (1979) in Italy, she appeared in some all-star films, When Time Ran Out (1980), with Paul Newman, among others, and Inchon (1980), with Laurence Olivier. Her fee around this time was $1 million a movie.[15] Both When Time Ran Out and Inchon were big flops.

More popular was George Cukor's Rich and Famous (1981) with Candice Bergen, where Bisset also served as co-producer.[16] One of her best-known roles was in Class (1983), where she played Rob Lowe's mother, who has an affair with her son's prep school roommate (Andrew McCarthy). Bisset was nominated for another Golden Globe for her role in John Huston's Under the Volcano (1984), opposite Albert Finney.

In 1984 Bisset made the wartime drama Forbidden. For TV she played the title role in Anna Karenina (1985) and did an abortion drama, Choices (1986).[17] She also had the lead in some comedies: High Season (1987) and Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989), playing a lascivious suburban widow in the latter. She was Carré Otis's employer/educator in the controversial erotic thriller Wild Orchid (1990) with Mickey Rourke.

Later career

Bisset has appeared in many made-for-TV movies since the mid-1980s, starting with the cable adaptation of Anna Karenina with Christopher Reeve in 1985. 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 TV work includes the Biblical epics Jesus (1999), In the Beginning (2000), and the miniseries Joan of Arc, which earned her an Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.[18]

In 1996, Bisset was nominated for a César Award for her role in the French film La Cérémonie.[19] She appeared in the 16th-century period drama Dangerous Beauty (1998) as Catherine McCormack's mother, a retired Venetian courtesan, and had the leading role in the 2001 independent feature The Sleepy Time Gal, which premiered on SundanceTV and was cited by the Village Voice in its annual survey of the year's best undistributed films.

In 2005, Bisset was seen in the Domino Harvey biographical film Domino with Keira Knightley, directed by Tony Scott, playing a fictionalized version of Paulene Stone (renamed "Sophie Wynn"), whom she actually knew from her time as a model in London.

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 that year, she starred in the Hallmark Channel television film An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving. She finished filming The Last Film Festival in 2010, which was Dennis Hopper's final screen appearance. Also in 2010, Bisset was awarded the Legion of Honour insignia, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy calling her "a movie icon".[20]

Bisset returned to the UK to film Stephen Poliakoff's 1930s jazz drama series Dancing on the Edge, which started on BBC2 in 2013.[21] For her work, she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film. In 2015, she co-starred with Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette in Miss You Already. The same year, she received a Stanislavsky Award at the 37th Moscow International Film Festival.

Bisset had a recurring role in the American TV series Counterpart in 2017.[22]

Personal life

Bisset has never married, but had romances with French-Canadian actor Michael Sarrazin,[23] Moroccan real estate magnate Victor Drai,[24] Russian dancer/actor Alexander Godunov,[24] Swiss actor Vincent Perez,[25] and Turkish martial arts instructor Emin Boztepe.[26] Boztepe and Perez were 18 and 20 years her junior, respectively. Bisset is godmother to actress Angelina Jolie.[27]



Year Title Role Notes
1965 The Knack ...and How to Get It Model Uncredited
1966 Cul-de-sac Jacqueline
1966 Drop Dead Darling Dancer AKA Arrivederci, Baby!
1967 Casino Royale Giovanna Goodthighs
1967 Two for the Road Jackie
1967 The Cape Town Affair Candy
1968 The Sweet Ride Vickie Cartwright Nominated--Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actress
1968 The Detective Norma Maclver
1968 Bullitt Cathy Laurel Award for Female New Face (2nd place)
1969 The First Time Anna
1969 Secret World [fr] Wendy Sinclair Original titles: L'échelle blanche AKA La Promesse
1970 Airport Gwen Meighen
1970 The Grasshopper Christine Adams Nominated--Laurel Award for Best Female Dramatic Performance
1971 The Mephisto Waltz Paula Clarkson
1971 Believe in Me Pamela
1971 Secrets Jenny
1972 Stand Up and Be Counted Sheila Hammond
1972 The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean Rose Bean
1973 The Thief Who Came to Dinner Laura Keaton
1973 Day for Night Julie Baker Original title: La nuit américaine
1973 Le Magnifique Tatiana/Christine AKA How to Destroy the Reputation of the Greatest Secret Agent...
1974 Murder on the Orient Express Countess Elena Andrenyi/Helena Arden
1975 The Spiral Staircase Helen Mallory
1975 End of the Game Anna Crawley Original title: Der Richter und sein Henker
1975 The Sunday Woman Anna Carla Dosio Original title: La donna della domenica
1976 St. Ives Janet Whistler
1977 The Deep Gail Berke
1978 The Greek Tycoon Liz Cassidy
1978 Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? Natasha O'Brien Nominated--Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Comedy or Musical
1979 Together? Louise
1980 When Time Ran Out Kay Kirby
1981 Inchon Barbara Hallsworth
1981 Rich and Famous Liz Hamilton
1983 Class Ellen Burroughs
1984 Under the Volcano Yvonne Firmin Nominated--Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1984 Forbidden Nina von Halder Nominated--CableACE Award for Actress in a Movie or Miniseries
1985 Anna Karenina Anna Karenina Television movie
1986 Choices Marisa Granger Television movie
1987 High Season Katherine Shaw
1988 La maison de Jade Jane Lambert
1989 Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills Clare Lipkin
1990 Wild Orchid Claudia Dennis
1991 The Maid Nicole Chantrelle Television movie
1991 Rossini! Rossini! Isabella Colbran
1993 Corrupt Justice Holly McPhee AKA CrimeBroker
1993 Les marmottes Frédérique
1995 La Cérémonie Catherine Lelievre Nominated--César Award for Best Supporting Actress
1996 September Pandora Television movie
1996 Once You Meet a Stranger Sheila Gaines Television movie
1997 End of Summer Christine Van Buren Television movie
1998 Dangerous Beauty Paola Franco
1999 Let the Devil Wear Black Helen Lyne
1999 Witch Hunt Barbara Thomas Television movie
1999 Jesus Mary Television movie
2000 Britannic Lady Lewis Television movie
2000 Les gens qui s'aiment Angie
2000 Sex & Mrs. X Madame Simone Television movie
2000 In the Beginning Sarah Television movie
2001 The Sleepy Time Gal Frances
2001 New Years Day Geraldine
2002 Dancing at the Harvest Moon Maggie Webber Television movie
2003 America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis Television movie
2003 Latter Days Lila Montagne
2003 Swing Christine / Mrs. DeLuca
2004 The Survivors Club Carol Rosen Television movie
2004 Fascination Maureen Doherty
2005 The Fine Art of Love: Mine Ha-Ha' Headmistress
2005 Domino Sophie Wynn
2005 Summer Solstice Alexia White Television movie
2006 Save the Last Dance 2 Monique Delacroix
2007 Carolina Moon Margaret Lavelle Television movie
2008 Death in Love Mother
2008 Nick Nolte: No Exit Herself Documentary
2008 An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Isabella Television movie
Nominated--Satellite Award for Best Actress - Miniseries or Television Film
2010 An Old Fashioned Christmas Isabella Television movie
2012 Two Jacks Diana
2014 Welcome to New York Simone Devereaux
2015 Peter and John[28][29] Unknown
2015 Miss You Already Miranda
2016 The Last Film Festival Claudia Benvenuti
2017 L'Amant Double
2017 9/11 Diane
2018 Asher Dora
2018 Backstabbing for Beginners Christina Dupre
2018 Head Full of Honey Vivian
2019 Very Valentine Television movie
TBA Birds of Paradise Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1987 Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story Josephine de Beauharnais 3 episodes
1999 Joan of Arc Isabelle d'Arc 2 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
1999 Hey Arnold! Madame Parvenu Episode: "Polishing Rhonda"
2001-2002 Ally McBeal Frances Shaw 2 episodes
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Juliet Barclay Episode: "Control"
2006 Nip/Tuck James LeBeau 7 episodes
2009 The Eastmans Emma Eastman Unsold TV pilot
2011-2012 Rizzoli & Isles Constance Isles 3 episodes
2013 Dancing on the Edge Lady Lavinia Cremone 4 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2018 Counterpart Charlotte Burton 1 episode


  1. ^ Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916-2005; at ancestry.com
  2. ^ "Jacqueline Bisset profile". FilmReference.com. Retrieved 2010.
  3. ^ "NewsLibrary Search Results".
  4. ^ "NewsLibrary Search Results".
  5. ^ a b "Jacqueline Bisset Biography". movies.yahoo.com. Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ "Charlie Rose: January 28, 1997". Google. 28 January 1997. Retrieved 2010.
  7. ^ Jacqueline Bisset, Lady-Swinger in Life and Films Haber, Joyce. Los Angeles Times 4 May 1969: o13.
  8. ^ Jacqueline Bisset Is a Type That Just Can't Be Typified Norma Lee Browning. Chicago Tribune10 Mar 1968: n11.
  9. ^ Jacqueline Bisset, Lady-Swinger in Life and Films Haber, Joyce. Los Angeles Times (4 May 1969: o13.
  10. ^ Jacqueline Bisset: Film Survivor Murphy, Mary. Los Angeles Times (8 Dec 1975: f18.
  11. ^ October 03, -; 2020. "Where was Jacqueline Bisset's wet t-shirt scene filmed?". Retrieved 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Chodin (16 May 2010). "A History of the Wet T-Shirt Contest". Uproxx. Archived from the original on 28 January 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  14. ^ October 03, -; 2020. "Where was Jacqueline Bisset's wet t-shirt scene filmed?". Retrieved 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ JACQUELINE BISSET AS STAR AND PRODUCER Mann, Roderick. Los Angeles Times 23 Apr 1981: h7.
  16. ^ Jacqueline Bisset on 'Rich and Famous' McBride, Joseph; McCarthy, Todd. Film Comment; New York Vol. 17, Iss. 5, (Sep/Oct 1981): 45,80.
  17. ^ TWO PROJECTS FOR JACQUELINE BISSET: [REVIEW] O'Connor, John J. New York Times 26 Mar 1985: C.18.
  18. ^ Jacqueline Bisset does Hollywood her way Davis, Ivor. The Ottawa Citizen; Ottawa, Ont. [Ottawa, Ont]09 Nov 2000: E8.
  19. ^ JACQUELINE BISSET, HOLLYWOOD `LIONESS': [ALL Edition] BRIDGET BYRNE Entertainment News Wire. Sun Sentinel 24 Sep 1996: 3.E.
  20. ^ Olivia de Havilland, Jacqueline Bisset receive French honors USA Today. 9 September 2010
  21. ^ "Jacqueline Bisset back for first UK drama role in nearly 40 years" The Guardian, 30 December 2012.
  22. ^ Petski, Denise (30 March 2017). "'Counterpart': Jacqueline Bisset, Stefan Kapicic, Five More Set To Recur On Starz Spy Thriller". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2018.
  23. ^ The Times Michael Sarrazin Obituary p67, 20 April 2011.
  24. ^ a b Wallace, David (1 April 1985). "Just Your Ordinary Couple". People. Retrieved 2010.
  25. ^ "VINCENT PEREZ : "CA FAIT DU BIEN D'ÊTRE AMOUREUX, MÊME SI ÇA NE DURE PAS"". Closer. Paris, France. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  26. ^ Schneider, Karen (23 March 1998). "Driving Miss Bisset". People magazine. Retrieved 2013.
  27. ^ "Jolie denies trying to steal Kylie's man". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 12 April 2004. Retrieved 2012.
  28. ^ Shanahan, Mark; Goldstein, Meredith (27 April 2014). "Jacqueline Bisset filming movie on Nantucket". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ McNary, Dave (7 April 2014). "Jacqueline Bisset Starring in 'Peter and John' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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