Jacqueline Bisset has been an international film star since the late 1960s. She was first noted as a stunning on-screen beauty, but over time has become known as a fine actress respected by fans and critics alike.
Her somewhat French-sounding name has led many to assume that she is from France, but she was brought up in England and had to study to learn French. Her mother was French and was an attorney before being married; her father was a doctor. As a child Jacqueline studied ballet. During her teenage years her father left the family when her mother was diagnosed with disseminating sclerosis; Jacqueline worked as a model to support her ailing mother, an experience she has said she considered character-strengthening. Her parents eventually divorced, though Jacqueline would remain very close to her father until his death. She took an early interest in film, and her modeling career helped pay for acting lessons.
Jacqueline was first seen as an extra in The Knack... and How to Get It (1965), and made her "official" cinema debut in Roman Polanski's psychological thriller Cul-de-sac (1966). In 1967, following a small role in Stanley Donen's Two for the Road (1967) and an appearance as Miss Goodthighs in the popular James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967), she had her first leading role in the otherwise unmemorable The Cape Town Affair (1967). Her career got a boost in 1968 when Mia Farrow unexpectedly dropped out of the shooting of The Detective (1968); Farrow's marriage to co-star Frank Sinatra was on the rocks, and the role was given to Jacqueline. That same year, she received a Golden Globe nomination for her role in The Sweet Ride (1968), and played Steve McQueen's girlfriend in the box office smash Bullitt (1968). Jacqueline was featured in the ensemble cast of the trendy "disaster film" Airport (1970), where she played a pregnant stewardess carrying Dean Martin's love child. In the early-to-mid 1970s, she starred in such films as The Mephisto Waltz (1971), The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973), and The Spiral Staircase (1975), which were all good but didn't catch fire at the box office. She also starred in several European films, most notably François Truffaut's critically acclaimed Day for Night (1973). In 1977, Jacqueline received a large amount of renewed attention for her appearance in The Deep (1977), with her underwater swimming scenes inspiring the wet T-shirt craze. The following year, she received a second Golden Globe nomination for the comedy Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978), and acted with Anthony Quinn in The Greek Tycoon (1978). In 1981 she co-produced and starred in George Cukor's final film, Rich and Famous (1981), which was a flop. On the other hand, she scored a minor hit with the comedy Class (1983), playing Rob Lowe's sexy mother who seduces her son's best friend. Jacqueline received a third Golden Globe nomination in 1984 for her role as Albert Finney's wife in John Huston's Under the Volcano (1984), but her career cooled down shortly thereafter. Making the transition from leading lady to character actress, she took roles in numerous made-for-TV and independent films during the 1990s and 2000s. She was nominated for a César award, the French equivalent of the Oscar, as best supporting actress for La cérémonie (1995), and received an Emmy nomination for her role in the miniseries Joan of Arc (1999) (TV). She was also very good in the Biblical epics Jesus (1999) (TV) and In the Beginning (2000) (TV), playing Mary of Nazareth and Sarah, wife of Abraham, respectively. On the big screen, she played Keira Knightley's mother in Tony Scott's action film Domino (2005). In 2006 Jacqueline had a juicy recurring role as a ruthless extortionist on "Nip/Tuck" (2003) during its fourth season. More recently, she gave a delightful performance in the uplifting TV movie An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (2008) (TV).
Jacqueline has never married, but has been involved in several long-term romantic relationships. She continues to work consistently and frequently participates in film festivals and award ceremonies around the world.
Frequently plays sexy, intelligent women who take control of a situation
Brown hair and green eyes
Deep sultry voice
Her first job was a waitress in a Chinese restaurant.
Godmother of actress Angelina Jolie.
Member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2001
No relation to Josie Bissett.
She said her last name is pronounced "Bissit" and rhymes with "Kiss it".
Narrator of the documentary, "An American Rebel", about her former co-star Steve McQueen.
Drives a black 1970 Cadillac El Dorado convertible, which she bought used in 1976.
Her father, Max Sr., was a doctor who died of a brain tumor in 1982. Her mother, Arlette, died in 1999.
Her parents divorced in 1968 after 28 years of marriage.
Has one brother, Max, who is a retired car dealer.
Her primary residence is in Benedict Canyon.
Early in her career, near the end of the studio system, she turned down a three-year contract with 20th Century Fox, stating "I don't like the idea of being owned by anybody." Later in her career, she gave the same reason for turning down a television series.
Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades.
I'm fascinated by a man with a twinkle in his eye.
[speaking in 1980] I'm either offered window-dressing parts in large movies or little art films no one ever sees. People think the movies I end up doing are my real choices. I do the best things I'm offered.
After filming The Deep (1977), all they talked about was my tits for the next four years. God, if I was going to do a picture like that, I'd have done it a lot sexier. That looked like two fried eggs on a platter.
The picture is called Class (1983) but the ad campaign is anything but. They've put my head onto another body and given me enormous bosoms. All the guys are going to be disappointed.
[on her childhood home] Not one newspaper that came into the house ever left it. There were masses of books everywhere and furniture enough for three homes. My brother and I were extremely upset by it - and have now turned into clean freaks.
I grew up in a small town, so it was thrilling to come to London in the 1960s. Everyone was experimenting and having fun. We would go to Soho and meet all those incredible image changers: Roman Polanski, David Bailey, The Beatles, Ursula Andress and Terence Stamp, who is still a close friend.
I look at photos of myself and think, "God, if I had realized I was so cute, I would have been naughtier!" But you could put any woman in a wet T-shirt and men would lust after her.
[on plastic surgery] I have never had any cosmetic surgery. I've never worried about age. I don't think all the nips and tucks look good. If these women who've had work done looked sideways in the mirror, they would see that they get a stiff curtain across their face. I think they do it because they are terrified of not being loved and of other people's opinions. Things on my body are not up as much as they used to be, and that's a bore. So I just smile more, which helps. I am becoming a fuller person as I get older.
[In 2008, on then-boyfriend Emin Boztepe] Our age gap is not a big issue. It just depends on what you have in common and, although Emin is much younger, he's a very mature man. There are things that are different about someone who is not of the same generation as you: they don't know everything you know; they look at things differently, but things can work out just fine.
[on Steve McQueen] It was exciting working with him. But he was a hip American and I was very English. His phrases would drive me nuts. I didn't know what a dude was or a soul chick. I did find him attractive, but a little bit scary. He'd get on his bike and take off like a wild alley cat; that was his escape from fame
[on Nick Nolte, her costar in The Deep (1977)] Nick is a very sexy man. He is not very aware of that himself, though, he doesn't act "sexy"--he's just Nick. That is an extremely intriguing kind of sexy.
A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.
I have an intense obsession with making films. I not only love to make films, I perhaps need to make films.
I love being in my garden. I don't plant a lot of exotic flora, but I do spend a lot of time outside doing manual labor.
I'd like to get my public image nearer to my reality. People have a lot of misconceptions.
My view is quite simple. When your dog pees on the carpet, you do not give away your dog. You say, This dog is special. I have to teach him not to pee on the carpet. I feel exactly the same way about men. They need to be taught things.
Ideally, couples need three lives; one for him, one for her, and one for them together.
Marriage has just never interested me.
The thing about anything in life is you have to get ready for it. Study, learn.
To be used in a part without depth is a frustrating feeling, when you know you have something to give.
When I am working on a movie, all I want to talk about is the movie. All I want to be with are the movie people. It's like a clan. If I'm asked to people's houses for dinner, I hate to go, because they'll talk about other things.
[In 2008, when asked what her unfulfilled ambition is] To be a really groovy old lady, a hip old lady. That's what I'd like to be.
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