OBE (born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg; 15 February 1951) is an English-American actress well-known for her roles as the Bond girl in the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die, the 1990s American television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and its telefilm sequels.
Early lifeSeymour was born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg in Hayes, Middlesex, England, the daughter of Mieke, a nurse, and John Benjamin Frankenberg, an obstetrician. Her father was a British Jew whose family was from Poland, and her mother was a Dutch-born Protestant who was a prisoner of war during WWII. Jane Seymour speaks Dutch fluently. Seymour was educated at the independent The Arts Educational School in Tring, Hertfordshire, in England. She took on the stage name "Jane Seymour", also the name of King Henry VIII's third wife, at the age of 17, after playing that role in a BBC TV series 'Henry 8th'.
Acting careerSeymour has had a long acting career in both film and television, beginning in 1969 with an uncredited role in Richard Attenborough's film version of Oh! What a Lovely War. Soon afterward, she married Attenborough's son, Michael Attenborough. Her first major film role was as Lillian Stein, a Jewish woman seeking shelter from the Nazis, with a Danish family, in the 1970 war drama The Only Way.
From 1972 to 1973, she gained her first major TV role, as Emma Callon in the successful 1970s series The Onedin Line. During this time, she appeared as female lead Prima in the two-part TV mini-series Frankenstein: The True Story, and as Winston Churchill's lover Pamela Plowden, in another of the films, produced by her father-in-law, Young Winston. She also drew her first major international attention, as Bond girl Solitaire in the 1973 James Bond film, Live and Let Die. IGN ranked her as 10th in a Top 10 Bond Babes list.
Seymour divorced Michael Attenborough in 1973. She then took only two minor TV roles, until cast as Princess Farah in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, the third part of Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad trilogy, in 1975. (The film was not released, however, until its stop motion animation sequences had been completed in 1977.) In 1978, she played Serina, in the Battlestar Galactica motion picture, and then, in the first two episodes of the series that followed, until the character was killed. In 1981, she was cast as Cathy Ames, in the TV miniseries of John Steinbeck's East of Eden. She also played the role of an undercover reporter in a TV movie about the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
In 1980, Seymour returned to the big screen in the comedy Oh Heavenly Dog opposite Chevy Chase, and as Elise McKenna in the romantic fantasy Somewhere in Time opposite Christopher Reeve. In 1982, she also starred in The Scarlet Pimpernel, co-starring Anthony Andrews and Ian McKellen. Seymour appeared nude in the 1984 film, Lassiter, co-starring Tom Selleck, but the film was a box office and commercial failure. In 1987, Seymour was the subject of a pictorial in Playboy magazine, although she did not actually pose nude.
War and Remembrance (1988), in which she played Natalie Henry, an American Jewish woman trapped in Europe during World War II. The series was based on the successful novel by Herman Wouk, and is noted for its accurate, and graphic, depiction of the Holocaust.
In 1989, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, Seymour appeared in the television movie, La révolution française (filmed in both French and English). Seymour appeared as the doomed French queen, Marie Antoinette; the actress' two children, Katherine and Sean, appeared as the queen's children.
Seymour continued to take numerous roles in TV movies and series, most notably as Dr. Michaela "Mike" Quinn in the TV series, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and its TV-movie-sequels (1993–2001), through which she met her fourth husband, actor-director James Keach. In 2004, she made several guest appearances in the WB Network series, Smallville, playing Genevieve Teague, the wealthy, scheming, mother of Jason Teague (Jensen Ackles).
Seymour returned to the big screen in 2005, playing Kathleen Cleary, wife of fictional US Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary (Christopher Walken), in the comedy, Wedding Crashers. She returned to TV in the short-lived WB series Modern Men, broadcast in spring 2006.
In autumn 2006, Seymour guest-starred as a law-school-professor on an episode of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and as a wealthy client, on the Fox legal drama, Justice. In 2007, she guest-starred in the ABC sitcom, In Case of Emergency, which starred Lori Loughlin and Jonathan Silverman. She also appeared in ITV's Marple: Ordeal By Innocence, based on the Agatha Christie novel. She was a contestant on season five of the US reality show, Dancing with the Stars; she finished in sixth place, along with her partner, Tony Dovolani. In "One Life to Lose" Jane Seymour guest starred in a soap opera-themed storyline of "Castle (TV series)" the ABC sitcom.
In 2008, she replaced Selina Scott as the new face of Country Casuals.
Personal lifeSeymour has heterochromia – her right eye is hazel, and her left is green. In 2007, she admitted to having undergone plastic surgery, including breast augmentation, and blepharoplasty.
Seymour has been married four times:
- 1971–1973: Michael Attenborough
- 1977–1978: Geoffrey Planer
- 1981–1992: David Flynn (with whom she had two children, Katherine Flynn, born 7 January 1982 and Sean, born 1986. Her daughter and stepdaughter, Jenni Flynn, appeared with her in the infomercial for cosmetics line, "Natural Advantage by Jane Seymour.")
- 1993 to present: James Keach (with whom she had twins, Johnny and Kris, born 30 November 1995, and named after family friends, Johnny Cash and Christopher Reeve)
In 1984, Seymour bought, with then-husband, David Flynn, the Grade One listed St Catherine's Court for £350,000, located in the village of St Catherine, near Bath, Somerset. After spending £3 million on refurbishments, she spent her summers at the house, and her winters in Malibu. After her divorce from Flynn, and marriage to Keach, she spent more time in the US, and made little use of the house, so she began to rent it out. In 1996, during that season's filming for Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, she rented it to English rock group Radiohead, who recorded their album, OK Computer, at the house. Another famous group that occupied the home are The Cure. In May 2007, she was granted a 24-hour alcohol and entertainment licence, under new UK regulations. However, this caused much disturbance with neighbours, who claimed the access lane was too narrow, and the noise too excessive. Seymour won the court battle, but sold the house in November 2007.
Seymour was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, in 2000.
Seymour is a patron of Meningitis UK.
Seymour is a celebrity ambassador, for the non-profit organisation, Childhelp. She regularly makes appearances at fund raisers, and events for the child abuse prevention, and treatment organisation, and is an ardent supporter. In 2007, she sponsored a children's Art Pillow contest, as part of the Jane Seymour Collection. 100% of the proceeds went to Childhelp.
An allergic reaction to anti-biotic medicine on a film shoot in Spain almost killed her, and the scrape with death profoundly changed her whole outlook on life. Seymour explains: "I saw the white light and I saw, from the corner of the room, them trying to resuscitate me, and I saw a syringe, with blood in it. It did change my whole life, because, when you die, I realised, you take nothing with you, except for what you've done.
Year↓ Title↓ Role↓ Notes
1969 Oh! What a Lovely War Chorus Girl Uncredited
1970 The Only Way Lillian Stein
1970 Here Come the Double Deckers Alice Episode: 'Scooper Strikes Out'
1972 The Best Pair of Legs in the Business Kim Thorn
1972 Young Winston Pamela Plowden
1972 The Pathfinders (TV series) Shelia Conway Episode: 'Fly There, Walk Back'
1972 The Strauss Family Karolin Mini-Series
1972 The Onedin Line Emma Callon/Emma Fogarty Appeared in 8 episodes, 1972–1973
1973 Live and Let Die Solitaire
1973 Great Mysteries Veronique d' Aubray Episode: 'The Leather Funnel'
1973 Frankenstein: The True Story Agatha/Prima
1975 The Hanged Man Laura Burnett Episode: 'Ring of Return'
1976 The Story of David Bathsheba
1976 Our Mutual Friend Bella Wilfer Appeared in 6 episodes, 1976
1976 Captains and the Kings Marjorie Chisholm Armagh Mini-series
1977 The Four Feathers Ethne Eustace
1977 Benny and Barney: Las Vegas Undercover Margie Parks
1977 McCloud Nidavah Ritzach Episode: 'The Great Taxicab Stampede'
1977 Seventh Avenue Eva Meyers Mini-series
1977 Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger Princess Farah
1977 Killer on Board Jan
1978 The Awakening Land Genny Luckett
1978 Love's Dark Ride Diana
1978 Battlestar Galactica Serina
1979 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (TV film) Laura Cole
1980 Somewhere in Time Elise McKenna
1980 Oh! Heavenly Dog Jackie
1981 East of Eden Cathy/Kate Ames Mini-series
1981 BBC2 Playhouse Episode: 'Last Summer's Child'
1982 The Scarlet Pimpernel Marguerite St. Just
1983 The Phantom of the Opera Maria Gianelli/Elena Korvin
1983 Jamaica Inn (1983 film) Mary Yellan
1983 The Haunting Passion Julia Evans
1984 Lassiter Sara Wells
1984 Dark Mirror Leigh Cullen/Tracy Cullen
1984 The Sun Also Rises Brett Ashley
1985 Obsessed with a Married Woman Diane Putnam
1985 Head Office Jane Caldwell
1986 Crossings Hillary Burnham Mini-series
1987 El Túnel Maria Iribarne
1988 Keys to Freedom Gillian
1988 The Woman He Loved Wallis Simpson
1988 Onassis: The Richest Man in the World Maria Callas
1988 Jack the Ripper Emma Prentiss
1988–1989 War and Remembrance Natalie Henry Appeared in 12 episodes, 1988–1989
1989 La Révolution française Marie Antoinette
1990 Angel of Death Laura Hendricks
1990 Matters of the Heart Hadley Norman
1991 Passion Amanda Brooks
1991 Memories of Midnight Catherine Alexander Douglas
1992 Are You Lonesome Tonight Adrienne Welles
1992 Sunstroke Teresa Winters
1993 Praying Mantis Linda Crandell
1993 Heidi Fräulein Rottenmeier
1993 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Dr. Michaela 'Mike' Quinn Appeared in 149 episodes, 1993–1998
1994 Count on Me
1994 A Passion for Justice: The Hazel Brannon Smith Story Hazel Brannon Smith
1997 California Dr. Michaela 'Mike' Quinn
1997 The Absolute Truth Alison Reed
1998 Quest for Camelot Lady Juliana Voice
1998 The New Swiss Family Robinson Anna Robinson
1998 A Marriage of Convenience Chris Winslow Whitney
1999 A Memory in My Heart Rebecca Vega/Abbie Swenson Stewart
1999 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Movie Dr. Michaela 'Mike' Quinn
2000 Murder in the Mirror Dr. Mary Kost Richland
2000 Enslavement: The True Story of Fanny Kemble Fanny Kemble Butler
2000 Yesterday's Children Jenny Cole/Mary Sutton
2001 Blackout Kathy Robbins
2001 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Heart Within Dr. Michaela 'Mike' Quinn
2002 Touching Wild Horses Fiona Kelsey
2002 Heart of a Stranger Jill Maddox
2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Debra Connor
2004–2005 Smallville Genevieve Teague Appeared in 6 episodes, 2004–2005
2005 The Littlest Light On The Christmas Tree Voice
2005 Wedding Crashers Kathleen Cleary
2006 Modern Men Dr. Victoria Stangel Appeared in 7 episodes, 2006
2006 The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell President Lauren Coffey
2006 Blind Dating Dr. Evans
2006 How I Met Your Mother Professor Lewis
2006 Justice Karen Patterson guest role, 1 episode
2007 After Sex Janet
2007 In Case of Emergency Donna Appeared in 3 episodes, 2007
2007 Marple: Ordeal by Innocence Rachel Argyle
2008 Dear Prudence Prudence Macintyre
2009 The Assistants (2009 film) Sandy Goldman
2009 Wake Mrs. Reitman
2009 The Velveteen Rabbit Mom Voice
2009 Freeloaders Post-Production
2011 Castle Gloria Guest appearance, ep 3.18
2011 Perfectly Prudence Prudence Macintyre
2011 Love, Wedding, Marriage Betty