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Famke Janssen

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Basic Information

Famke Janssen

Date of Birth: 5 November 1964
Place of Birth: Amstelveen, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Birth Name: Famke Beumer Janssen
Height: 6' (1.83 m)


Famke Beumer Janssen (Dutch pronunciation: [fɑmkə bømər jɑnsən]; English pronunciation: /ˈfɑːmkə ˈdʒænsən/; born November 5, 1964) is a Dutch actress and former fashion model.

She is best-known for playing the villainess Bond girl Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye and Dr. Jean Grey/Phoenix in the X-Men film series.

Janssen is also a UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity.

Early life

Famke Beumer Janssen was born in Amstelveen, Netherlands. The first name means little girl in West Frisian, the native language of the Dutch province Friesland. Besides her native Dutch, Janssen speaks English and French. She also learned German, but has not kept up with it. She has two sisters, director Antoinette Beumer and actress Marjolein Beumer.

Before coming to the United States, Janssen studied economics for a year at the University of Amsterdam, calling it "the stupidest idea I ever had." Janssen moved to the United States in 1984 and began her professional career as a fashion model. She signed with Elite Model Management and worked for Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Victoria's Secret. While with the agency, her European measurements were listed as 92-61-92 and 36 dress size. Janssen is noted for being taller than average at 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) and her beauty has been compared to Hedy Lamarr and films stars of 1940s. After retiring from modeling in the early 1990s, she enrolled at Columbia University to study creative writing and literature. She also took up acting. Several years later Janssen moved to Los Angeles to establish her acting career.


Upon moving to Los Angeles, Janssen obtained her first parts, appearing in guest roles on TV series. She starred in a 1988 commercial for Exclamation Perfume. One of her first appearances was in 1992, when she starred in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Perfect Mate" as empathic metamorph Kamala, opposite Patrick Stewart (who would later star with her in the X-Men film series).. In that same year, Janssen was offered the role of Jadzia Dax of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but turned it down to pursue film roles. She also appeared in the film Lord of Illusions with Scott Bakula, who would later portray Capt. Jonathan Archer of the chronologically very first Starship Enterprise.

Janssen's first film role was with Jeff Goldblum in the 1992 film Fathers & Sons. In 1995, she appeared in the first Pierce Brosnan James Bond film, GoldenEye, as femme fatale Xenia Onatopp. In an attempt to fight against typecasting after her role in the film, Janssen began seeking out more intriguing support roles, appearing in Woody Allen's Celebrity, Robert Altman's The Gingerbread Man, John Irvin's City of Industry 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.

Janssen played superheroine Dr. Jean Grey/Phoenix in X-Men, X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. She won a Saturn Award for her role in X-Men: The Last Stand. She also starred in the movies Lord of Illusions, The Faculty, House on Haunted Hill, I Spy, Rounders, Deep Rising, Hide and Seek, Taken and Turn the River, for which she was awarded the Special Jury Best Actress Award at the 2007 Hamptons International Film Festival. In addition, Janssen had a prominent role in the second season of the popular TV show, Nip/Tuck, as the seductive and manipulative life coach, Ava Moore. She reprised her role in the final two episodes of the series. She has continued to branch out into television, appearing in TV pilots for NBC and Showtime, 2007's cop drama Winters and 2009's The Farm, a pilot for a potential spinoff of The L Word set in a women's prison. Both were rejected by their respective networks.

Janssen provides the Dutch-language narration for the Studio Tram Tour at all Disney parks.

In July 2010, filming began on Janssen's directorial debut Bringing Up Bobby. Janssen also wrote the screenplay to the film, which stars Milla Jovovich, Bill Pullman and Marcia Cross.

Charitable work

On January 28, 2008, Janssen was appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity at the Second Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, held in Nusa Dua, Bali.


In 2003, Janssen was awarded the International Star of the Year. In 2004, she won the Hollywood Life Breakthrough Artist of the Year for her work on Nip/Tuck. In 2006, the Hamptons International Film Festival awarded her with the Golden Starfish Award for career achievement in acting. For her performance as Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last Stand, she won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Personal life

Janssen lives in West Village in New York City. She was married to writer and director Tod Culpan Williams, son of architect Tod Williams, from 1995 to 2000.

Janssen has a brindle Boston Terrier named Licorice, with which she frequently travels. Alongside her dog, she appeared in a 2007 PETA campaign to raise awareness for animal rights. The campaign used the slogan "Be an Angel for Animals."


Year Title Role
1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation (TV series) Kamala
Fathers & Sons Kyle Christian
1994 The Untouchables (TV series) Cleo
Melrose Place (TV series) Diane Adamson
Model by Day (TV movie) Lady X
Relentless IV: Ashes to Ashes Dr. Sara Lee Jaffee
1995 GoldenEye Xenia Onatopp
Lord of Illusions Dorothea Swann
1996 Dead Girl Treasure
1997 City of Industry Rachel Montana
1998 Monument Ave. Katy
The Gingerbread Man Leeanne Magruder
Deep Rising Trillian St. James
RPM Claudia Haggs
Rounders Petra
Celebrity Bonnie
The Adventures of Sebastian Cole Fiona
The Faculty Miss Elizabeth Burke
1999 House on Haunted Hill Evelyn Stockard-Price
2000 Love & Sex Kate Welles
Circus Lily Garfield
X-Men Jean Grey
Ally McBeal (TV series) Jamie
2001 Made Jessica
Don't Say a Word Aggie Conrad
2002 I Spy Special Agent Rachel Wright
2003 X2 Jean Grey
2004 Nip/Tuck (TV series) Ava Moore
Eulogy Judy Arnolds
2005 Hide and Seek Dr. Katherine Carson
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Jean Grey/Phoenix
The Treatment Allegra Marshall
2007 The Ten Gretchen Reigert
Turn the River Kailey Sullivan
Winters (TV pilot) Christie Winters
2008 The Wackness Kristen Squires
Taken Lenore (Lenny)
100 Feet Marnie Watson
Puppy Love (short film) Maya
2009 The Farm (TV pilot) Valentina Galindo
2010 Nip/Tuck (TV series) Ava Moore
The Chameleon Jennifer Johnson
The Last Kiddie Ride Mary


  • Her two sisters are blonde and blue-eyed, while she is the only brunette.
  • Was cast as Serleena in Men in Black II (2002) but had to drop out due to a death in the family. Lara Flynn Boyle was cast in her place.
  • Speaks Dutch, German, English, and French.
  • Offered the lead female role in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), but turned it down.
  • Sisters Antoinette Beumer and Marjolein Beumer are a director and actress respectively.
  • Wears size 11 shoes. Because of their large size, her shoes had to be especially made for her for the film GoldenEye (1995). In Love & Sex (2000), Jon Favreau's character jokes about how big her character's feet were.
  • Measurements: 36-24-36 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine).
  • Provides the Dutch-language narration for the Studio Tram Tour at Disney parks.
  • While appearing on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (1993) to promote her role of the sex-crazed assassin in the James Bond film GoldenEye (1995), Famke gave Conan a first hand experience of her character's signature moves by performing them on him using the top of his desk. When she asked him if he would like the demonstration, Conan responded with "This is what we in the industry call a 'no-brainer'."
  • Has a Boston Terrier named Licorice.
  • Ranked #69 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women In The World." [2002]
  • Her sister was visiting South-East Asia during the Tsunami on December 26th, 2004, and had to flee the water to save her life.
  • Originally, Famke Janssen cast for the "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (1993) series after her work on the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987) episode "The Perfect Mate" and was to reprise her role as Kamala. However, she wanted to leave herself open for feature film work and turned the role down. Jadzia Dax's role was created to take the place of this character, performed by actress Terry Farrell.
  • Ex-Sister-in-law of Director Joram Lürsen.
  • Did all her own pool shots in Turn the River (2007).
  • Used to eat almonds and dried cranberries every day while filming X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
  • Her favorite movies of her career are Love & Sex (2000) and Turn the River (2007).
  • Turn the River (2007) was written for her by her The Treatment (2006) co-star Chris Eigeman.
  • Her favorite horror movie is The Shining (1980).
  • Is a fan of Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.
  • Is a Vegetarian.
  • Lives in New York City.
  • Was briefly involved in a relationship with Ryan Gosling.