Jacqueline Bisset (born 13 September 1944) is an English actress. She has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy Award. She is known for her roles in the films Bullitt (1968), Airport (1970), The Deep (1977), Class (1983), and the TV series Nip/Tuck in 2006. She has also appeared in several French productions and was nominated for a César Award for La Cérémonie (1995). She was awarded the Légion d'honneur in 2010.
Bisset made her screen debut with a bit part in The Knack ...and How to Get It (1965). Her first speaking role was in the 1966 film Cul-de-sac, starringDonald Pleasence and directed by Roman Polanski. She was cast in the romance film Two for the Road (1967) starring Audrey Hepburn, and played her first lead role opposite James Brolin in The Cape Town Affair (1967). She participated in the 1967 James Bond satire, Casino Royale, as Miss Goodthighs. In 1968, she replaced Mia Farrow to star opposite Frank Sinatra in The Detective; Farrow and Sinatra had split shortly before production began and the role was given to Bisset, who received special billing in the film's credits.
Bisset's break-out role was as Steve McQueen's girlfriend in the hit action film Bullitt, also released in 1968. The following year she received her first Golden Globe nomination as New Star of the Year for her performance in The Sweet Ride, and played her first sexy "older woman" (at 25) in The First Time (1969). She was one of the many stars in the blockbuster disaster film Airport (1970), a Best Picture nominee in which she acted opposite Dean Martin and Helen Hayes. She co-starred with Sean Connery in Murder on the Orient Express (1974).
Bisset made strides towards becoming a better-known entertainer in America with The Deep (1977), co-starring Robert Shaw and Nick Nolte and directed byPeter Yates, who had previously directed her in Bullitt. A scene of her swimming underwater wearing only a thin, white T-shirt and bikini bottom helped make the film a box office success, leading the producer Peter Guber to say, "That T-shirt made me a rich man". At the time, Newsweek declared her "the most beautiful film actress of all time." About that time, a small film Bisset had made six years earlier was re-released in the United States under the title Secrets. That movie featured the only extensive nude scenes of Bisset's career and the producers cashed in on her fame. She earned a Golden Globe nomination for the comedy Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978).
Soon thereafter, she starred in the movies Rich and Famous (1981) with Candice Bergen, Class (1983) (playing a woman who seduces her son's best friend) co-starring Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy, and Under the Volcano (1984), for which she earned her a second Golden Globe nomination. Bisset often appeared with her leading men in more than one film. She was cast as Paul Newman's daughter in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, then as his girlfriend in When Time Ran Out. Bisset has also worked with Albert Finney, Mickey Rourke, Anthony Perkins, and Michael York on multiple occasions. Bisset has worked with such directors as François Truffaut, John Huston, Stanley Donen, Sidney Lumet and George Cukor. Several of her older movies are French or Italian productions.
Bisset has appeared in many made-for-TV and independent films, especially in recent years. In 1996, she was nominated for a César Award, for her role in La Cérémonie. She received Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations for the 1999 miniseries Joan of Arc. Other notable projects include the acclaimed Biblical epics Jesus (1999) and In the Beginning (2000) with Martin Landau. She made guest appearances on Ally McBeal during 2001–2002, and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in 2003. One of her later TV movies, in 2003, was America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story, in which she portrayed Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. In 2005, she appeared in the action movie Domino with Keira Knightley. Bisset's most recent television work was a recurring role as the mysterious James, during the fourth season of the FX series Nip/Tuck in 2006. Later she starred in An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving, which premiered on the Hallmark Channel on 22 November 2008. In the same year she also garnered acclaim for her role in the Holocaust drama, Death in Love. She recently[when?] finished filming The Last Film Festival, which will be the final screen appearance of Dennis Hopper.
Unlike many actresses of her generation who have difficulty finding work after 40, Bisset has made a seamless transition from leading lady to character actor. She remains in demand in Hollywood and Europe. She told a Bermuda newspaper in 2004:
This film business, perhaps more so in America than in Europe, has always been about young sexuality. It's not true of theatre, but in America, film audiences are young and they go to the cinema to see the sort of romance or adventure that appeals to them. It's not an intellectual cinema in America. But one mustn't be too greedy. One wants to be stimulated by the work as long as there is something to give. I think you have to be as flexible as possible. Perhaps you don't get handed the big American productions, but, quite honestly, who would want to be in a lot of them? Many of them are just puerile teenage filler, and they're not fascinating to be in. To be used in a part without depth is a frustrating feeling, when you know you have something to give, and the camera just sort of brushes past you, and doesn't get what you have to give. Most actresses I know are frustrated, but you have to adapt to the reality. I go and find a small part in something I find interesting, or find an independent film."
Bisset co-starred in the independent film, Latter Days where she played the role of 'Lila'. Bisset has starred in a large number of independent films throughout her career.
Bisset is godmother to actress Angelina Jolie. She appeared with Jolie in the film Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005); however, their scenes together were deleted during postproduction.
Bisset has never married, though she has had several lengthy romances. These include a relationship with the actor Michael Sarrazin that lasted over 10 years and with the Russian-American dancer and actor Alexander Godunov. “I feel like I was married to them because I was very dedicated to them,” she said in a 2008 interview. “But I also used to feel claustrophobic. Like many people who don’t easily commit, I think I had a fear of being known; I was not sure there was anybody inside there.”
She divides her time between homes in England and Beverly Hills, California.