Famke Beumer Janssen, known by her stage name as Famke Janssen, is an actress and an occasional director and writer. Before her acting career she was a fashion model from 1984 until 1992, when she retired from modeling. Her modeling agency was Elite Management and she worked for Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Victoria’s Secret. She starred in a 1988 commercial for the perfume “Exclamation” by Coty, Inc.
Following her modeling career she was able to take up acting and got a starting role in the 1992 “Star-Trek: The Next Generation”. She also was able to act in a few other TV productions before she was able to get a role in a movie production. It appeared quickly thereafter and she was able to act in her first film “Fathers and Sons” in 1992. From that time until the present she has appeared in over 50 productions including 12 TV series.
Performances which gave her much visibility were the role of a villainous Bond girl in “Golden Eye” in 1995, the role of Jean Grey/Phoenix in the “X-Men” film series in the 2000 to 2013 time frame, Lenoire Mills in the movie “Taken” in 2008, and its sequel “Taken 2” in 2012.
During her acting career she has appeared in “Golden Eye” in 1995, in “Lord of Illusions” in 1995, in “City of Industry” in 1997, in “The Gingerbread Man” in 1998, in “Monument Avenue” in 1998, in “The Faculty” in 1998, in “Rounders” in 1998, in “Deep Rising” in 1998, in “House on Haunted Hill” and in “Turn the River” in 1997.
In 2011 Janssen made her directorial debut with the drama “Bringing up Bobbie”. She also wrote a screenplay for a film which has not been released yet.
In 2012, she starred as the main villain in “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”. A year later she played the role of Olivia Godfrey in “Hemlock and Grove”.
Janssen has won five significant awards for her acting performances. In 2006 she won the Hampton’s International Film Festival “Golden Star Fish Award for Career Achievement”. In that same year she also won the High Falls Film Festival “Susan B. Anthony ‘Failure is Impossible’ Award”. In 2007 she won three awards, the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress, the Hampton’s International Film Festival Award for Best Actress, and the Hampton Film Festival’s Special Prize.
Janssen was born on November 5, 1965 in Amstelveen, a suburb of Amsterdam, Netherlands. She has two sisters who are also attempting to break into the movie industry. Her sister Marjolein Beumer is a Dutch actress, who has been starred in several Dutch language films. Her other sister Antoinette Beumer is an aspiring film director who has directed a limited number of films. Neither one of her sisters is near the star status of Famke. Also note that Famke retained her family name Janssen but her sisters changed their family name to Beumer. Apparently it has been suggested that she change her name to a more appealing stage name, but she has refused. She wants to remain with her birth name.
Janssen remained single until she reached 30 and then married Kip Williams, a son of Ted Williams. The marriage only lasted until 2000. She has remained single since then.
In 2008, Janssen was appointed “Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity” by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime. She has also been very active in PET, the organization involved in the protection of animals.
* Image: Janssen at WonderCon in March 2013
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AUTHOR: C. Carl Pegels, Professor Emeritus, University at Buffalo
Toal, Drew, “The Hot Seat: She is a Hustler, Baby”, TIME OUT NEW YORK, May 5-13, 2008.
Various web sites including Wikipedia and IMDB