Nov. 5th, 1964
Amstelveen, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Famke Janssen's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Famke Beumer Janssen (born November 5, 1964) 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 (2000–2014), and Lenore Mills in Taken (2008) and its sequels, Taken 2 (2012) and Taken 3 (2015).
Born in Amstelveen in the Netherlands. Her first name, Famke, means "girl" in West Frisian, the native language of the Dutch province Friesland. She was given both her mother and father's surnames; Beumer and Janssen. She retained the name Janssen. She has two sisters, director Antoinette Beumer and actress 'Marjolein Beumer', both of whom changed their surnames to simply Beumer. In addition to her native Dutch, Janssen speaks English and French. She also learned German, but has not kept up with it. 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". 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.
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. Her looks have been compared to Hedy Lamarr and other 1940s films stars.
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. 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. Her first film role was alongside Jeff Goldblum in the 1992 crime drama film Fathers & Sons.
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. 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. In the late 1990s, she also appeared in The Faculty, Rounders, Deep Rising, and House on Haunted Hill.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
Janssen was married to writer and director Kip Williams, son of architect Tod Williams, from 1995 to 2000.
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". On January 28, 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.
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