Jacqueline Bisset is magnificent – in so many ways.
In a career spanning 58 years and a portfolio that includes about 50 films, the 78-year-old actress shows no signs of slowing down.
Jacqueline Bisset has been one of my role models since I was a very little girl, my parents just loved her. To me, she really is one of the few actresses that represent the glamour that Hollywood once had.
I admire her aging naturally and always thought she had a very natural beauty and sex appeal. She never wore tons of makeup.
Throughout her storied career, the brown-haired beauty, known for her high cheekbones and striking green eyes, has demonstrated her versatility by playing a range of characters including the sultry seductress Miss Goodthighs in the spy parody Casino Royale (1967), a devoted mother in Sleepy Time Gal (2001), First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in America’s Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story (2003) and Anna Karenina (1985) in the sweeping love story of the same name, where she starred opposite Christopher Reeves.
Bisset made her first on-screen appearance in Roman Polanski’s Cul-de-Sac (1966) and gained notoriety in 1968 when she starred in back-to-back films in one single year: Detective with crooner Frank Sinatra, Bullitt with Steven McQueen, and her Golden Globe-nominated performance in The Sweet Ride with Tony Franciosa and Bob Denver, who’s famously known as Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island.
You’ll also recognize her from her performances in Day for Night (1973), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Deep (1977), Wild Orchid (1990), her Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated role in Joan of Arc (1999), her Golden Globe-winning role in the miniseries Dancing on the Edge (2013), Miss You Already (2015) and Birds of Paradise (2021).
In 2010, the multilingual actor–she speaks English, French and Italian–was awarded the Legion of Honor, the highest state order in France, and in 2023, Sedona International Film Festival recognized Bisset with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Despite filming with some of Hollywood’s hottest men, Bisset has never been married. The stunning woman was pursued by Frank Sinatra, and rumors swirled that she was involved with Bullitt co-star, Hollywood bad boy, Steve McQueen. But Bisset, a proper English lady, said they were too different.
Referring to McQueen, she said in an interview with the Daily Mail, “He was attractive, but a little scary. I was very English and he was a hip American. The way he talked would have driven me mad–I didn’t know what a dude or a soul chick was!”
She’s had long-term relationships with Canadian actor Michael Sarrazin, the ballet dancer Alexander Godunov and actor Vincent Pérez, but she admits she’s too independent for anything permanent.
In an interview with the Independent, Bisset said, “I’ve had some very interesting men in my life. They have been a handful. I don’t choose easy men, I’m told.” She continued, “Sometimes you get too much information when you spend time with people. You start to see things–bad habits. You start to discover them and then you have to marry bad habits and I’m not sure I can cope with them. I don’t ever have bad relationships. I haven’t broken up angry. I’ve just moved out of situations that have been overwhelming.”
Though Bisset–Godmother to Angelina Jolie–hasn’t made headlines for having outrageous relationships, she was trending after she won the Golden Globe for her portrayal as Lady Cremone in the BBC series Dancing on the Edge.
Her acceptance speech, with the background music playing to signal her off the stage, was mostly filled with ramblings but demonstrated genuine gratitude from the then 69-year-old, who had been waiting 47 years to win, since her first nomination for best newcomer.
Since then, she starred as a sassy femme fatale in the French thriller The Lodger (2020), and most recently, she appeared in the film Loren & Rose (2022). Bisset plays the lead character Rose, a legendary actor trying to re-establish her career, who’s bound by a reputation that casts her as being a “little zany and a bit unreliable.”
According to the film’s director Russell Brown, the character of Rose is the opposite of Bisset in real life. Brown said, “Viewers often assume that Jacqueline is ‘like she is in the movie.’ But this really isn’t the case–as an actress and a woman, I think she is quite different from Rose, and it’s a testament to her skill that the transformation feels so seamless.”
Bisset is a timeless beauty who embraces aging with grace. In her infamous Golden Globes speech, she said: ‘I believe, if you want to look good, you’ve got to forgive everybody. It’s the best beauty treatment.’
She’s also said that though in her youth she had “lots of complexes” she was never tempted by plastic surgery. “I don’t think it makes you look younger. It makes you different,” said Bisset.