Jacqueline Bisset in 1969
Winifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset
13 September 1944
|Michael Sarrazin |
|Awards||2010 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 was born Winifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset 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. Her mother was of French and English descent and her father was of Scottish descent; Bisset's mother cycled from Paris and boarded a British troop transport to escape the Germans during World War II.
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.
Bisset's parents divorced in 1968, after 28 years of marriage. Her father died of a brain tumour in 1982, aged 71. Her mother died in 1999.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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 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).
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. Producer Peter Guber allegedly quipped, "That T-shirt made me a rich man!" Many credit her with popularising wet T-shirt contests but Bisset herself was disappointed that the marketing of her translucent costume detracted from the film's technical achievements. 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.
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. 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. 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). 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.
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.
In 1996, Bisset was nominated for a César Award for her role in the French film La Cérémonie. 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".
Bisset returned to the UK to film Stephen Poliakoff's 1930s jazz drama series Dancing on the Edge, which started on BBC2 in 2013. 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 has never married, but had romances with French-Canadian actor Michael Sarrazin, Moroccan real estate magnate Victor Drai, Russian dancer/actor Alexander Godunov, Swiss actor Vincent Perez, and Turkish martial arts instructor Emin Boztepe. Boztepe and Perez were 18 and 20 years her junior, respectively. Bisset is godmother to actress Angelina Jolie.
|1965||The Knack ...and How to Get It||Model||Uncredited|
|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||Wendy Sinclair||Original titles: L'échelle blanche AKA La Promesse|
|1970||The Grasshopper||Christine Adams||Nominated--Laurel Award for Best Female Dramatic Performance|
|1971||The Mephisto Waltz||Paula Clarkson|
|1971||Believe in Me||Pamela|
|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|
|1980||When Time Ran Out||Kay Kirby|
|1981||Rich and Famous||Liz Hamilton|
|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|
|1995||La Cérémonie||Catherine Lelievre||Nominated--César Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|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|
|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|
|2005||The Fine Art of Love: Mine Ha-Ha'||Headmistress|
|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|
|2014||Welcome to New York||Simone Devereaux|
|2015||Peter and John||Unknown|
|2015||Miss You Already||Miranda|
|2016||The Last Film Festival||Claudia Benvenuti|
|2018||Backstabbing for Beginners||Christina Dupre|
|2018||Head Full of Honey||Vivian|
|2019||Very Valentine||Television movie|
|TBA||Birds of Paradise||Post-production|
|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|