Jacqueline Bisset

Some actresses simply have a timeless look and talent, and Jacqueline Bisset is among them. Bisset has been acting for more than 50 years now, and she’s been well known for most of them, having burst onto the scene in the late 1960s. Dubbed by some as the “most beautiful actress of all-time,” Bisset has starred in just about every genre of movie that you can imagine and is still going strong in her 70s.

Bisset was born on September 13, 1944 in Surrey, England toward the end of World War II. Bisset’s father had come from Scotland while her mother had lived in France and escaped Nazi soldiers during the war while she was in Paris. Following the war, Bisset had taken an interest in ballet, and was also keen on acting. Of course, lessons for dancing and acting aren’t cheap, so Bisset would pay for them herself by working as a child model. It ended up being the right decision as Bisset would start to get some breaks after turning 20.

In 1965, Bisset was on screen for the first time in “The Knack…and How to Get It”, though it wasn’t a credited role and didn’t carry speaking lines. The next year, Bisset would have very small roles in the films “Cul-de-sac” and “Drop Dead Darling”, opening up the door for her to get her first notable role in “Two for the Road”.

At the time, Bisset was quite literally a “starving artist” type. “I only cared about getting free food in those days,” she said. “I did a couple of more extra-type things. But the most interesting of the ones I got was a part in a Roman Polanski film (‘Cul-de-sac’). It was really eye opening and brilliant. He was brilliant. The actors were brilliant. I thought, ‘Golly, this is really interesting. Maybe I could try and be in this business more seriously.’”

For fans of the recent James Bond movies, you might not know that “Casino Royale” was already made. However, the original in 1967 was actually a comedy film that satirized the character, and featured Bisset in the role of Miss Goodthighs. It was a goofy comedy that’s often forgot by many Bond fans, but it did help to spring Bisset’s career.

The late 1960s were very good to Bisset, as she starred with the likes of James Brolin, Frank Sinatra and Steve McQueen in the films, “The Cape Town Affair”, “The Detective” and “Bullitt”. She’d also star in “The Sweet Ride”, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year. Using her newfound fame, Bisset would star in films throughout the 1970s such as “Airport”, “The Grasshopper” and “The Deep”, and earning a Golden Globe nomination for “Who is Killing the Great Chiefs of Europe?”

Bisset’s career wouldn’t slow down in the 1980s, either, as she’d star in several films that included yet another Golden Globe nomination for her role in 1984’s “Under the Volcano”. She’d then dabble in TV for the first time, starring in the TV movies “Anna Karenina” and “Choices”, as well as the mini-series “Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story”. When the 1980s came along, Bisset said that “I can’t believe I’ve been doing it so long…I’ve slowed down. I’m doing only the roles I really want to do. I’m looking for good roles.”

The success of her TV films would make Bisset a mainstay in the category throughout the 2000s and into the new millennium. She’s played a wide range of characters that have included Jackie Kennedy, and had two roles in “An Old Fashioned” holiday specials. Some of her more recent guest appearances on TV include “Ally McBeal” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” while also appearing in one season of “Nip/Tuck” as James LeBeau.

At 74 years old, Bisset certainly isn’t close to retiring, even if it’s been a few years since we’ve seen her on television. Her two performances over the past decade include a guest role on the hit show “Rizzoli & Isles” over a few episodes, and in the 2013 mini-series “Dancing on the Edge” in which she played Lady Lavinia Cremone, earning herself her Golden Globe award, coming for Best Supporting Actress. In film, she’s appeared in the movies “L’Amant Double”,and “9/11” in the past year, with “Backstabbing for Beginners” and “Honey in the Head” still to release.

For Bisset, she tends to keep acting to keep busy. Some of us are in love with our work, and Bisset is certainly among them. “I find that I have an intense obsession with making films,” she said. “I not only love to make films, I perhaps need to make films…I work hard, and I tend to play hard. I very seldom rest hard. When I am working on a movie, all I want to talk about is the movie. All I want to be with are the movie people.”

Much of her time spent off set now involves reading, no matter the medium. “I’m sort of trying to educate myself in lots of things,” she said. “I’m trying to handle the anxiety I get from the internet. You know, all that mail and stuff. It takes up a lot of time. There are all these things to read…I really have to try and will myself to do it because I know it’s broadening my perspective. I cook a lot and look after my health and house. I have a house and a garden. The day goes by (quickly). I really go basically flat out every day. I’m very busy.”