Jacqueline Bisset

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Jacqueline Bisset

Jacqueline Bisset.jpg
Born: September 13, 1944 (1944-09-13) (age 73)
Weybridge, Surrey, England
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Body type: Slim
Eye color: Brown
Hair: Brown

Jacqueline Bisset (born September 13, 1944) is an English actress. She has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy Award. Her popular films include Bullitt (1968), Airport (1970), The Deep (1977), and Class (1983). In more recent years, she has appeared in several television productions, most notably the FX series Nip/Tuck in 2006.

Early life

Bisset was born Winnifred Jacqueline Fraser-Bisset in Weybridge, Surrey, England, the daughter of Arlette Alexander Bisset, a homemaker and lawyer, and Max Fraser, a general practitioner.[1] Her father was Scottish and her mother was of French and English descent;[2][3] Bisset's mother cycled from Paris and boarded a British troop transport to escape the Germans during World War II.[4] 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. When Bisset was a teenager, her mother was diagnosed with disseminating sclerosis. Bisset's parents divorced in 1968, after 28 years of marriage.[4] Bisset moved in to help her mother. She had taken ballet lessons as a child and now began taking acting lessons and fashion modeling to pay for them.


In 1967, Bisset was cast in the movie Two for the Road with Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. Next, she participated in the James Bond satire, |Casino Royale (1967), as Miss Goodthighs. In 1968, Mia Farrow dropped out of the movie The Detective (1968) opposite Frank Sinatra, and the role went to Bisset. That same year, she was cast in her breakout role as Steve McQueen's girlfriend in the hit action film Bullitt. She was one of the many stars in the blockbuster disaster film Airport (1970), which co-starred Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Jean Seberg, and Helen Hayes among others and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Bisset often appeared with her leading men in more than one film, such as Albert Finney, Paul Newman and Anthony Perkins. She co-starred with Newman and Perkins in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, with Newman in When Time Ran Out, with Finney in Two for the Road, Under the Volcano and the ensemble mystery Murder on the Orient Express, also starring Perkins and Sean Connery.

Bisset in the 1977 movie The Deep

She is the main character 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, co-starring Robert Shaw and Nick Nolte, where swimming underwater wearing nothing under her T-shirt helped make the film a box office success, leading the producer Peter Guber to say, "That T-shirt made me a rich man,"[5] and led many to credit her with popularizing 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. She earned her first Golden Globe nomination for the comedy Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? Soon thereafter, she played in the movies Rich and Famous (1981) with Candice Bergen, Class (1983) with Rob Lowe and Under the Volcano (1984) with Albert Finney, for which she earned her a second Golden Globe nomination. In 1996, she was nominated for a César Award, for her role in La Cérémonie. Bisset has worked with such directors as François Truffaut, John Huston, George Cukor, and Roman Polanski. Several of her movies are French or Italian productions.

Bisset has appeared in made-for-TV movies, especially during the last decade. She received an Emmy Award nomination for the 1999 miniseries Joan of Arc. Other notable projects include the Emmy-nominated epics Jesus (1999) and In the Beginning (2001) with Martin Landau. She has also made guest appearances on Ally McBeal and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. 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. In 2005, she appeared in Domino with Keira Knightly. Bisset's most recent television work was a recurring role as the mysterious James, during the fourth season of the FX series Nip/Tuck. She starred in the lead role of Boaz Yakin's Death in Love which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Personal life

Although she has had several long-term relationships, Bisset has never married. She met Michael Sarrazin in 1968 while making The Sweet Ride. They soon moved in together. They originally lived in a cottage and later bought a more substantial house. They later starred together in Believe in Me before going their separate ways in 1974. She then began a relationship with Victor Drai, who ran a clothing company in Paris. Their involvement lasted several years, before they parted. In 1981, she met Alexander Godunov, who had defected from Russia in 1979. Their relationship lasted into the mid-1980's, and they appeared together on the cover of People magazine. The couple split up in 1986. Godunov died in 1995. While filming 1987's Le Maison de Jade, Bisset became romantically involved with her co-star, Vincent Perez. This relationship lasted a few years, until the frequent long-distance separations brought it to an end. In 1997, she began a relationship Emin Boztepe, a martial arts instructor. They parted in 2005. Hollywood tabloids have also linked Bisset with several of her male costars, although she has never publicly confirmed such relationships.

Bisset is godmother to actress Angelina Jolie. She appeared with Jolie in the film Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005); however, the scenes never made the final cut.

Unlike many actresses of her generation who have difficulty finding work after 40, Bisset made a seamless transition from leading lady to character actor. She remains in demand in Hollywood and Europe. She told a Bermuda newspaper in 2004:[6]
"This film business, perhaps more so in America than in Europe, has always been about young sexuality. It's not true of theatre, but in America, film audiences are young and they go to the cinema to see the sort of romance or adventure that appeals to them. It's not an intellectual cinema in America. But one mustn't be too greedy. One wants to be stimulated by the work as long as there is something to give. I think you have to be as flexible as possible. Perhaps you don't get handed the big American productions, but, quite honestly, who would want to be in a lot of them? Many of them are just puerile teenage filler, and they're not fascinating to be in. To be used in a part without depth is a frustrating feeling, when you know you have something to give, and the camera just sort of brushes past you, and doesn't get what you have to give. Most actresses I know are frustrated, but you have to adapt to the reality. I go and find a small part in something I find interesting, or find an independent film".

Bisset divides her time between homes in England and Beverly Hills, California.

Bisset in popular culture

In the NBC TV show Cheers, the episode "Bar Bet" has Sam Malone faced with a bet made with an old drinking buddy a long time ago. The bet: he would marry Jacqueline Bisset by a certain date or lose his bar. Rather than losing the bet because he'd never marry the Jacqueline Bisset, or welching on the bet and having to admit under oath that he was drunk when he made the bet, he found an American with the same name and brought her back to Boston.

Bisset is mentioned in the Al Stewart song "Clifton in the Rain," in the line "Jacqueline Bisset, saw your movie. Wonder if you really felt that way. Do you ever fear the images of Hollywood?"

In Garry Shandling's TV show "It's Garry Shandling Show," a married friend confides that he keeps his sex life alive by thinking of his wife Jackie as Bisset. (She, in turn, thinks of him as Pete Rose.)

In Shandling's HBO TV show The Larry Sanders Show, producer Artie says he once dated Bisset.


  1. Jacqueline Bisset Biography (1944-)
  2. NewsLibrary Search Results
  3. NewsLibrary Search Results
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jacqueline Bisset Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  5. 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.
  6. http://www.theroyalgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040514/MIDOCEAN/105140096&SearchID=73242640659144 Bisset Resurfaces: 2004 Bermuda career interview

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