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Famke Janssen

Famke Janssen
Janssen at the ATX TV Festival 2014 for Hemlock Grove
Born Famke Beumer Janssen[1]
c. 1964 (age 51–52)[1]
Amstelveen, Netherlands
Alma mater Columbia University
Occupation Actress
Years active 1992–present
Height 182 cm (5 ft 11 12 in)
Spouse(s) Kip Williams (m. 1995–2000)

Famke Beumer Janssen (; Dutch pronunciation: ; born 1964)[1][2] is a Dutch actress, director, screenwriter and former fashion model. She played Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye (1995), Jean Grey/Phoenix in the X-Men film series (2000–present), Ava Moore on Nip/Tuck and Lenore Mills in Taken (2008) and its sequels, Taken 2 (2012) and Taken 3 (2015). In 2008, she was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity by the United Nations. She made her directorial debut with Bringing Up Bobby in 2011.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • Modelling and early 1990s 2.1
    • 1990s–2000 2.2
    • X-Men films 2.3
    • 2002–present 2.4
  • Personal life and activism 3
  • Filmography 4
    • Film 4.1
    • Television 4.2
  • Awards and nominations 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and education

Famke Beumer Janssen was born in 1964 in Amstelveen in the Netherlands.[3] Her first name, Famke, means "girl" in West Frisian, the native language of the Dutch province Friesland.[4] She was given both her mother and father's surnames; Beumer and Janssen. She retained the name Janssen.[5] She has two sisters, director Antoinette Beumer and actress Marjolein Beumer, both of whom changed their surnames to simply Beumer.[6] In addition to her native Dutch, Janssen speaks English and French. She also learned German, but has not kept up with it.[7] Following her high school graduation, Janssen studied economics for a year at the University of Amsterdam, which she later called "the stupidest idea I ever had."[6] In the early 1990s, she enrolled at Columbia University to study creative writing and literature. She graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.


Modelling and early 1990s

In 1984, Janssen moved to the United States to begin her professional career as a fashion model. She signed with Elite Model Management and worked for Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Victoria's Secret. She starred in a 1988 commercial for the perfume Exclamation by Coty, Inc.[8] Her looks have been compared to Hedy Lamarr and other 1940s films stars.[4]

After retiring from modelling in the early 1990s, Janssen had guest roles on several television series, including a starring role in the 1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Perfect Mate", as empathic metamorph Kamala, opposite Patrick Stewart, with whom she later starred in the X-Men film series.[4] That same year, Janssen was offered the role of Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but turned it down to pursue film roles.[9] Her first film role was alongside Jeff Goldblum in the 1992 crime drama film Fathers & Sons.


Janssen in October 2008

In 1995, Janssen appeared in Pierce Brosnan's first James Bond film, GoldenEye, as femme fatale Xenia Onatopp. She also appeared in Lord of Illusions with Scott Bakula. In an attempt to fight against typecasting after her Bond girl performance, Janssen began seeking out more intriguing support roles, appearing in John Irvin's City of Industry, Woody Allen's Celebrity, Robert Altman's The Gingerbread Man, and Ted Demme's Monument Ave.[10] Denis Leary, her co-star in Monument Ave., was impressed by how easily she blended in, initially not recognizing her as she was already in character.[4] In the late 1990s, she also appeared in The Faculty, Rounders, Deep Rising and House on Haunted Hill.

X-Men films

In 2000, Janssen played superhero Dr. Jean Grey in the Marvel Studios film X-Men. She later reprised the role in the 2003 sequel, X2 where her character shows signs of increasing powers but at the end of the film, she is presumably killed. Janssen returns as a very much alive Jean whose death in X2 awoke her dark alternate personality, Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). At the end of the film, she is killed by Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman), who only does it because Jean asks him to, not wanting to hurt anyone when Phoenix is in control. For that role, she won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.[11] She returned as Jean in the 2013 film The Wolverine as a hallucination of Wolverine's.[12]

In 2014, Janssen reprised her role of Jean Grey in a brief cameo for X-Men: Days of Future Past, as did a few of the original actors from the first three films including Anna Paquin and James Marsden. In the film, Wolverine went back in time and changed the course of the future, the result being that the events of the third movie, including the deaths of Jean Grey and Cyclops, never happened.[13][14]


Janssen at the 2013 WonderCon

In 2002, Janssen landed the role of villainess Serleena in Men in Black II, but had to abandon the film due to a death in her family.

In addition, Janssen had a prominent role in the second season of the popular TV series Nip/Tuck, as the seductive and manipulative life coach Ava Moore, which earned her Hollywood Life's Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award.[15] She reprised her role in the final two episodes of the series.

In 2007, she starred in Turn the River, for which she was awarded the Special Recognition Best Actress Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival.[16] The following year, she starred in Luc Besson's Taken. Janssen also continued to work in television, appearing in TV pilots for NBC's cop drama Winters and Showtime's The Farm, a The L Word spin-off set in a women's prison. Both pilots were rejected by their respective networks. Janssen also provided the Dutch language narration for the Studio Tram Tour at all Disney theme parks.[10]

In 2011, Janssen made her directorial début with the drama Bringing Up Bobby. She also wrote the screenplay to the film, which stars Milla Jovovich, Bill Pullman and Marcia Cross.[17] She reprised her role as Lenore Mills in Taken 2 (2012) and Taken 3 (2015). She starred as the main villain Muriel in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013).

Janssen has starred in the Netflix Original, horror thriller television series Hemlock Grove since 2013 where she plays the role of family matriarch Olivia Godfrey.[18]

Personal life and activism

Janssen was married to writer and director Kip Williams, son of architect Tod Williams, from 1995 to 2000.[3]

Janssen appeared with her dog Licorice, a brindle Boston Terrier, in a 2007 PETA campaign to raise awareness for animal rights. The campaign used the slogan "Be an Angel for Animals."[19] On 28 January 2008, she was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime at a United Nations anti-corruption conference held in Nusa Dua, Bali.[20]



Year Title Role Notes
1992 Fathers & Sons Kyle Christian
1993 Model by day Lex/Lady X
1994 Relentless IV: Ashes to Ashes Dr. Sara Lee Jaffee Video
1995 GoldenEye Xenia Onatopp
1995 Lord of Illusions Dorothea Swann
1996 Dead Girl Treasure
1997 City of Industry Rachel Montana
1998 Monument Ave. Katy O'Connor
1998 Gingerbread Man, TheThe Gingerbread Man Leeanne Magruder
1998 Deep Rising Trillian St. James
1998 RPM Claudia Haggs
1998 Rounders Petra
1998 Celebrity Bonnie
1998 Adventures of Sebastian Cole, TheThe Adventures of Sebastian Cole Fiona
1998 Faculty, TheThe Faculty Miss Elizabeth Burke
1999 House on Haunted Hill Evelyn Stockard-Price
2000 Love & Sex Kate Welles
2000 Circus Lily Garfield
2000 X-Men Jean Grey
2001 Made Jessica
2001 Don't Say a Word Agatha "Aggie" Conrad
2002 I Spy Rachel Wright
2003 X2 Jean Grey
2004 Eulogy Judy Arnolds
2005 Hide and Seek Dr. Katherine Carson
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Jean Grey / Dark Phoenix
2006 Treatment, TheThe Treatment Allegra Marshall
2007 Ten, TheThe Ten Gretchen Reigert
2007 Turn the River Kailey Sullivan
2008 Wackness, TheThe Wackness Kristen Squires
2008 Taken Lenore "Lenny" Mills
2008 100 Feet Marnie Watson
2010 The Chameleon Jennifer Johnson
2011 Down the Shore Mary Reed
2011 Bringing Up Bobby N/A Director, producer, writer
2012 Taken 2 Lenore "Lenny" Mills
2013 Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Muriel
2013 The Wolverine Jean Grey
2013 In the Woods
2014 A Fighting Man Diane Schuler
2014 Unity Narrator (voice) Documentary; post-production
2014 X-Men: Days of Future Past Jean Grey Cameo
2015 Taken 3 Lenore "Lenny" Mills
2016 Untitled Cullen brothers film Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation Kamala TV series (1 episode: "The Perfect Mate")
1994 Melrose Place Diane Adamson TV series (1 episode: "Michael's Game")
1994 Model by Day Lex / Lady X TV film
1994 Untouchables, TheThe Untouchables Cleo TV series (1 episode: "Voyeur")
2000–01 Ally McBeal Jamie TV series (2 episodes)
2004–10 Nip/Tuck Ava Moore TV series (11 episodes)
2007 Winters Christie Winters TV film
2008 Puppy Love Maya TV series
2009 Farm, TheThe Farm Valentina Galindo TV film
2013–2015 Hemlock Grove Olivia Godfrey TV series (main cast)
2014 @midnight Herself Episode dated July 16, 2014; Guest appearance
2015 How to Get Away with Murder Eve Rothlow Season 2

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated Work Award Results
1995 GoldenEye MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (shared with Pierce Brosnan) Nominated
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Teen Choice Award for Choice Liplock (Shared with Hugh Jackman) Nominated
2007 X-Men: The Last Stand Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress Won


  1. ^ a b c "Famke Janssen- Biography".  
  2. ^ College Tour: Famke Janssen kijk je op. 2014-09-26. Event occurs at 30:36. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Famke Janssen Biography". Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d Elias, Justine (15 November 1998). "Famke Janssen; Transformations As a Way of Life, Not Just on Screen".  
  5. ^ "Famke Janssen [1964]". Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Malanowski, Jamie (20 August 2000). "A Scene Stealer's Big Score".  
  7. ^ Toal, Drew (7–13 May 2008). "The Hot Seat: She's a hustler, baby".  
  8. ^ "Famke Janssen Exclamation perfume commercial". Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Famke Janssen".  
  10. ^ a b "Tavis Smiley"Famke Janssen on . 6 May 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Famke Janssen [1965] Stage and Screen Performer". New Netherland Institute. Retrieved 21 October 2014. In 2007 she won three awards, the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress 
  12. ^ Robert Yaniz Jr. "‘The Wolverine’: Hugh Jackman on Jean Grey’s Return". Screen Rant. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Rob Keyes. "Famke Janssen on ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Return: ‘Stay Tuned’". Screen Rant. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Marc Malkin (30 May 2014). "X-Men: How Famke Janssen Kept Her Days of Future Past Cameo a Secret".  
  15. ^ Famke Janssen at Hollywood Life Magazine's Breakthrough of the Year Awards
  16. ^ "2007 Hamptons International Film Festival Awards". 4 January 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  17. ^ Gilmore, Joan (5 August 2010). "Around Town: Bobby crew at JRB gallery". The Journal Record. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  18. ^ Gina McIntyre (27 May 2014). "‘Hemlock Grove’ first look: Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard in Season 2".  
  19. ^ "Famke Janssen Is an Angel for Animals".  
  20. ^ "UN Anti-Corruption Conference Opens in Bali". United Nations Information Service Vienna. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 

External links

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