Emmy-winning, English-born actress Jane Seymour, born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg, earned extensive popular acclaim while portraying the compassionate doctor Michaela Quinn in the hit CBS series “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman” (1993-98), and its spin-off TV movies Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: The Movie (1999) and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Heart Within (2001). In addition to receiving numerous nominations, she took home a 1995 Golden Globe Award. The beauty, who has two different colored eyes, also gained recognition with the Emmy-winning, scene-stealing turn of Maria Callas in ABC’s film Onassis: The Richest Man in the World (1988) and the Golden Globe-winning performance of Kate Ames/Cathy in ABC’s drama East of Eden (1981). Currently, she stars as life coach Dr. Stangel in WB’s comedy ”Modern Men” (2006).
On the wide screen, Seymour is perhaps remembered as the Bond girl Solitaire in Live and Let Die (1973, opposite Roger Moore) and for her comic turn as Christopher Walken’s wife Kathleen Cleary in the successful Wedding Crashers (2005), starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. In 2006, she will add After Sex, The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell and her husband’s upcoming comedy Blind Guy Driving to her resume.
Aside from acting, Seymour is also known as a painter and writer (she has authored a series of children’s books along with her husband) and has released her own clothing line, the Jane Seymour Signature Collection, in New York. Off screen, she is the International Ambassador for Childhelp USA, a Spokesperson for UNICEF and an Honorary Chairperson for City Hearts. She is also one of the celebrities who refuses to have cosmetic surgery and Botox and she criticizes actresses who get Botox injections.
“This Botox thing is fine for real life people who just don’t want to have any frowns, but if you have to frown for a living, it’s kind of detrimental to your career.” Jane Seymour
As for her personal life, 5’ 4” Seymour has been married four times. She had short-lived marriages with Michael Attenborough (together in early 70s) and Geoffrey Planer (from 1977-78), before marrying David Flynn (1981-1992), with whom she has two children. She is now married to director/actor James Keach and has twins with him.
Childhood and Family:
Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg, who took the stage name of Jane Seymour at age 17, was born on February 15, 1951, in Hillingdon, U.K. Her father is John Benjamin Frankenberg, a Jewish obstetrician and her mother is Mieke Frankenberg, a former Red Cross nurse from Holland. She has a younger sister named Sally Frankenberg. Before acting, Jane developed an early passion for dancing and trained for a career in that field. By age 13, the aspiring ballerina had made her professional debut with the London Festival Ballet. She then attended the Arts Educational Trust to receive further instructions. Three years later, however, after performing with the Kirov Ballet, Jane was forced to discard her dreams due to a knee injury. She then turned her attentions toward acting.
At age 20, in 1971, Jane married the son of renowned British director Richard Attenboroug, Michael Attenborough (born on February 13, 1950), but the relationship only lasted a short while. She was married six years later to businessman Geoffrey Planer. The marriage, however, ended in divorce a year later. On July 18, 1981, Jane tried to build a new family by marrying her then-business manager David Flynn. The couple became estranged in March 1991 before finally filing for divorce in 1992. Jane and David share two children, son Sean Flynn and daughter Kate Flynn (born in 1982). She is now the wife of actor/director James Keach (born December 7, 1947), whom she married in 1993. The two share twin sons, Kristopher Steven Keach and John Stacy Keach (born on November 30, 1995). Jane also has two stepchildren, daughter Jenni Flynn and son Kalen Keach. The family owns homes in Malibu, California, and Bath, England.
Onassis: The Richest Man
Jane Seymour received ballet exposure with the London Festival Ballet and the Kirov Ballet before switching gears to acting following knee injuries when she was 17. A year later, she made her screen debut as a chorus girl in Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), a war film directed by her soon-to-be father-in-law Richard Attenborough. She followed that up by having her first major film role as Lillian Stein, a Jewish woman looking for protection from the Nazis with a Danish Christian family, in the war drama The Only Way (1970) and appeared in The Best Pair of Legs in the Business (1972) and in Attenborough’s Churchill biopic Young Winston (1972). Seymour was seen on TV with a small role in the miniseries “The Strauss Family” (1972) and a regular role in the successful series “The Onedin Line” (1972-73), playing Emma Callon. Seymour, however, didn’t find worldwide fame until in 1973 when she was cast as the hot Bond girl Solitaire in the James Bond film Live and Let Die, starring Roger Moore. With that role, Seymour won Hollywood attention. She soon made her way to Los Angeles.
Seymour next starred in television movies Frankenstein: The True Story (1973, played the female lead of Agatha/Prima) and The Story of David (1976) and had a small role in the miniseries “Our Mutual Friend” (1976). She was awarded an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her fine turn as Marjorie Chisholm Armagh in the miniseries “Captains and the Kings” (1976). With the achievement, the actress established her status as the “Queen of the Miniseries.”
She continued with numerous TV projects, including the starring roles in the miniseries “Seventh Avenue” (1977, as Eva Meyers) and in the TV movie Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (1979, played undercover journalist Laura Cole). Seymour’s reputation as “Queen of the Miniseries” was cemented in 1981 with her Golden Globe-winning performance as Kate Ames/Cathy in ABC’s drama East of Eden, directed by Harvey Hart. Meanwhile, she was also seen on the big-screen movies Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977), Love’s Dark Ride (1978), the cult hit Somewhere in Time (1981, with Christopher Reeve) and the comedy Oh Heavenly Dog (1980, opposite Chevy Chase and canine superstar Benji). 1980 also saw Seymour make her Broadway debut with a production of “Amadeus,” in which she portrayed Constanze Mozart.
The actress went on to undertake TV movie roles in CBS’s The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982, costarred with Anthony Andrews), The Phantom of the Opera (1983), The Haunting Passion (1983), Dark Mirror (1984), The Sun Also Rises (1984), Jamaica Inn (1985), Obsessed with a Married Woman (1985), Jack the Ripper (1988, opposite Michael Caine) and The Woman He Loved (1988). Seymour’s performance as Wallis Simpson in the latter film earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress. The dark-haired beauty gained even more recognition when director Waris Hussein cast her as Maria Callas for the ABC television film Onassis: The Richest Man in the World (1988, starred Raul Julia). For her bright efforts in the drama, she was handed a 1988 Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress. As for miniseries, she scored well in “Crossings” (1986, as French ambassador’s wife Hillary Burnham) and ABC’s “War and Remembrance” (1988, starred as Natalie Jastrow). The letter performance handed Seymour an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination. Seymour’s attempts on the big-screen did little to further her career following her appearance with Tom Selleck in the disappointment Lassiter (1984).
Seymour was later seen in Sunstroke (1992), a thriller co-executive produced and helmed by husband James Keach. The film saw her starring as Adrienne Welles, a baffling woman who embarks on a trip through the Arizona desert and leaves a trail of victims behind her as she allegedly tries to trace her lost daughter. She collaborated with her husband again in the TV movies Are You Lonesome Tonight (1992), Praying Mantis (1993), A Passion for Justice: The Hazel Brannon Smith Story (1994), The Absolute Truth (1997, also a producer), A Marriage of Convenience (1998, also executive produced), Murder in the Mirror (2000, also served as an executive producer), Enslavement: The True Story of Fanny Kemble (2000, also executive produced), Blackout (2001) and Touching Wild Horses (2002). Aside from her husband’s directorial hand, Seymour also took parts in the ABC remake of The Swiss Family Robinson (1999), A Memory in My Heart (1999), Yesterday’s Children (2000) and Heart of a Stranger (2002).
Seymour drew praise and recognition while portraying a sympathetic doctor, Dr. Michaela ‘Mike’ Quinn, in the CBS career-defining series “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman” (1993-1998). Debuting in 1993, the show was considered by critics as too corny for American viewers, but the series went on to attract more than 20 million viewers at its climax. As for the series’ star, Seymour won the 1995 Best Actress Golden Globe Award, as well as received countless nominations, including two Emmys (1994 and 1998), two Golden Globes (1994 and 1997) and two Screen Actors Guilds (1995 and 1997). Seymour later reprised her Dr. Michaela ‘Mike’ Quinn role for the television movies Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: The Movie (1999) and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Heart Within (2001, also served as an executive producer).
After disappearing from the small screen for a while, Seymour made her return by guest starring in an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2004), followed by a recurring role in the hit WB series “Smallville” (2005), in which she played Jason Teague’s (Jensen Ackles) affluent and conniving mother Genevieve Teague. Also in 2005, she made a welcomed comeback to the silver screen with a precisely comedic turn as Kathleen Cleary, the wife of Treasury Secretary William Cleary (Christopher Walken), in the Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn hit comedy Wedding Crashers.
Recently, the 55-year-old actress played the role of Janet in writer/director Eric Amadio’s comedy After Sex (2006) and President Lauren Coffey in The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell (2006) for directors Jonny Gillette and Kevin Wheatley. She will soon team up with her husband for his comedy/romance film Blind Guy Driving (2006, appears as Dr. Evan). On the small screen, she is currently starring as life coach Dr. Stangel in the WB new comedy ”Modern Men” (2006).
- Golden Globe: Best Actress in a TV Series (Drama), Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, 1995
- Aftonbladet TV Prize, Sweden: Best Foreign TV Personality – Female, 1995
- Golden Boot: Golden Boot, 1995
- Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special, Onassis: The Richest Man in the World, 1988
- Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV, East of Eden, 1982