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Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour 2

Who Do You Think You Are: Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour visits the grave of her great uncle Herman Temerson, where she is also introduced to a long lost relative. Eleven series have been broadcast, with the eleventh airing from August to October 2014. 

320px-Jane_Seymour_Cannes_2015Jane Seymour at the 2015 Cannes Festival

Jane Seymour, OBE (born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg; 15 February 1951) is a British-American actress best known for her performances in the James Bond film Live and Let Die (1973), Somewhere In Time (1980), East of Eden (1981), Onassis: The Richest Man in the World (1988), War and Remembrance (1988), the 1989 political thriller La Révolution française as the ill-fated queen Marie Antoinette, Wedding Crashers (2005), and the American television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993–1998). She has earned an Emmy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2000.

Early Life

Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg was born 15 February 1951 in Hayes, Greater London, England, the daughter of John Benjamin Frankenberg, an obstetrician, and Mieke van Trigt, a nurse. Her father was a British citizen of Jewish heritage whose family was from Poland (village of Nowe Trzepowo). Her mother was a Dutch Protestant (with family from Deventer) who was a prisoner of war during World War II, and who had lived in Indonesia. Jane’s paternal grandfather had come to live in the East End of London after escaping the Czarist pogroms when he was 14. He can be found in the 1911 census for Bethnal Green listed as a hairdresser and he eventually went on to have his own company.

Seymour was educated at the Arts Educational School in Tring, Hertfordshire. She took on the stage name “Jane Seymour” after King Henry VIII’s third wife, as it seemed more saleable.

Acting Career

Jane-Seymour-jane-seymour-26077881-1978-2560In 1969, Seymour appeared uncredited in her first film, Richard Attenborough’s Oh! What a Lovely War. In 1970, Seymour appeared in her first major film role in the war drama The Only Way. She played Lillian Stein, a Jewish woman seeking shelter from Nazi persecution. In 1973, she gained her first major television 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 television miniseries Frankenstein: The True Story. She also appeared as Winston Churchill’s lover Pamela Plowden in Young Winston, produced by her father-in-law Richard Attenborough.

In 1973, Seymour achieved international fame in her role as Bond girl Solitaire in the James Bond film Live and Let Die. IGN ranked her as 10th in a Top 10 Bond Babes list. In 1975, Seymour was cast as Princess Farah in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, the third part of Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad trilogy. The film was not released until its stop motion animation sequences had been completed in 1977. In 1978, she appeared as Serina in the Battlestar Galactica film, and in the first five episodes of the television series. Seymour returned to the big screen in the comedy Oh Heavenly Dog opposite Chevy Chase.

Jane SeymourSeymour at the Emmy Awards, 1988

In 1980, Seymour was given the role of young theatre actress Elise McKenna in the period romance Somewhere in Time. Though the film was made with a markedly limited budget, the role enticed Seymour with a character she felt she knew. The effort was a decided break from her earlier work, and marked the start of her friendship with co-star Christopher Reeve.

In 1981, she appeared in the television film East of Eden, based on the novel by John Steinbeck. Her portrayal of main antagonist Cathy Ames won her a Golden Globe. In 1982, she appeared in The Scarlet Pimpernel with Anthony Andrews and Ian McKellen. In 1984, Seymour appeared nude in the film Lassiter, co-starring Tom Selleck, but the film was a box office flop. In 1987, Seymour was the subject of a pictorial in Playboy magazine, although she did not pose nude.

In 1988, Seymour got the female lead in the 12-part television miniseries War and Remembrance, the continued story from the miniseries The Winds of War, in which she played Natalie Henry, an American Jewish woman trapped in Europe during World War II. That role had been played by Ali MacGraw in the first series, but Seymour campaigned for the role when the continuation was planned, and made a screen test which convinced the director and producer Dan Curtis that she was better suited for it.

In 1989, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, Seymour appeared in the television film La révolution française, filmed in both French and English. Seymour appeared as the doomed French queen, Marie Antoinette; the actress’s two children, Katherine and Sean, appeared as the queen’s children.

Jane_Seymour_Emmy_Awards_1994Seymour at the Emmy Awards, 1994

In the 1990’s, Seymour earned popular and critical praise for her role as Dr. Michaela “Mike” Quinn in the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and its television sequels (1993–2001). Her work on the series earned her a second Golden Globe Award. While working on the series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, she met her fourth husband, actor-director James Keach.

In the 2000s, Seymour continued to work primarily in television. In 2004 and 2005, she made six guest appearances in the WB Network series, Smallville, playing Genevieve Teague, the wealthy, scheming mother of Jason Teague (Jensen Ackles). In 2005, Seymour returned to the big screen in the comedy Wedding Crashers, playing Kathleen Cleary, wife of fictional United States Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary, played by Christopher Walken. In spring 2006, she appeared in the short-lived WB series Modern Men. Later that year, 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 the ABC crime-dramedy Castle.

Seymour appeared in the Hallmark Channel film Dear Prudence (2008) with Jamey Sheridan and Ryan Cartwright, the romantic comedy Love, Wedding, Marriage (2011) with Mandy Moore, and the Hallmark Movie Channel film Lake Effects (2012) with Scottie Thompson and Madeline Zima.

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