Famke Janssen is an actress and former fashion model, best known for her performances as Dr. Jean Grey in the “X-Men” film series and as Ava Moore on the medical drama television series “Nip/Tuck.” Among her other credits are the James Bond film “GoldenEye,” the “Taken” film trilogy, the Netflix original series “Hemlock Grove,” and the ABC legal thriller series “How to Get Away with Murder.” Beyond her acting, Janssen was made a Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity in 2008.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Famke Janssen was born in 1964 in Amstelveen, North Holland, Netherlands. She has two sisters, Antoinette and Marjolein. In addition to her native Dutch, Janssen is fluent in English and French. As a young adult, she studied economics for one year at the University of Amsterdam. Later, she attended Columbia University in New York, where she studied literature and creative writing.
Janssen moved to the United States in 1984 to start a professional career in fashion modeling. Signing with Elite Model Management, she worked for such brands as Victoria’s Secret, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, and Chanel. Following her retirement from modeling in the early 90s, Janssen landed guest roles on a number of television series. Her first credit was a 1992 episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” in which she played a metamorph named Kamala. The same year, Janssen made her feature film acting debut in the crime drama “Fathers & Sons,” costarring Jeff Goldblum.
Film Career in the 90s
Three years after her 1992 debut, Janssen appeared in the supernatural horror film “Lord of Illusions” and the James Bond film “GoldenEye,” the first Bond film to star Pierce Brosnan. In the latter film, Janssen played the femme fatale Xenia Onatopp. Following this, she appeared in the neo-noir crime thriller “City of Industry,” starring Harvey Keitel, Timothy Hutton, and Stephen Dorff. Janssen had her biggest year yet in 1998, appearing in a whopping eight movies. Among them were the crime film “Monument Ave.”; the Robert Altman legal thriller “The Gingerbread Man”; the action horror film “Deep Rising”; the poker drama “Rounders,” with Matt Damon and Edward Norton; and the Woody Allen comedy “Celebrity.” Janssen closed out the decade with a leading role in the supernatural horror film “House on Haunted Hill,” a remake of the eponymous 1959 film.
Film Career in the 2000s and Beyond
Janssen kicked off the 2000s with starring roles in the dramedy “Love & Sex” and the neo-noir crime film “Circus.” She then debuted what has become her most famous film role, superhero Dr. Jean Grey in the Marvel Studios film “X-Men.” Janssen reprised the role in the 2003 sequel, “X2,” and again in 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” in which she appeared as Jean Grey’s dark alter-ego, Phoenix. The actress also briefly appeared as Jean Grey in 2013’s “The Wolverine” and 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”
Beyond “X-Men,” Janssen was in a wide variety of films throughout the 2000s. Among them were the crime comedy “Made”; the family dramedy “Eulogy”; the psychological horror film “Hide and Seek”; the romantic comedy “The Treatment”; the drama “Turn the River”; and the coming-of-age film “The Wackness.” Janssen also played Lenore “Lenny” Mills in the action thriller “Taken,” a role she reprised for the film’s two sequels. The actress’s later notable credits have included “Down the Shore,” “The Show,” “All I Wish,” “Once Upon a Time in Venice,” “Bayou Caviar,” “Primal,” “The Postcard Killings,” and “Endless.”
On the small screen, Janssen appeared in episodes of “Melrose Place” and “The Untouchables” in 1994. Her first substantial television role came in 2004, when she began playing the recurring role of life coach Ava Moore on the FX medical drama “Nip/Tuck.” Janssen appeared in the show’s second season, and later returned for the final two episodes of the series.
In 2013, Janssen landed a main role on the Netflix original horror series “Hemlock Grove,” playing family matriarch Olivia Godfrey. Following this, she had a recurring role on ABC’s crime thriller series “How to Get Away with Murder,” on which she portrayed Eve Rothlow in nine episodes between 2015 and 2020. During this time, Janssen had another recurring role on the NBC crime thriller “The Blacklist,” playing Susan Hargrave; she briefly reprised this role in a starring capacity on the short-lived spinoff series “The Blacklist: Redemption.” Among Janssen’s other credits are the animated sitcom “SuperMansion,” to which she provided her voice in two episodes, and the crime drama miniseries “When They See Us.”
Janssen stepped behind the camera to make her feature film directing debut with “Bringing Up Bobby,” released in 2011. She wrote, directed, and produced the film, which stars Milla Jovovich as a European former con-artist and single mother living in the United States. “Bringing Up Bobby” also features Bill Pullman, Rory Cochrane, Marcia Cross, and Spencer List.
Personal Life and Activism
In 1995, Janssen wed director and writer Kip Williams; the couple divorced in 2000. Janssen has publicly stated that she is not interested in having any children.
As an activist, Janssen appeared alongside her dog Licorice in a 2007 PETA campaign to raise awareness for animal rights. Additionally, Janssen was made a Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2008.
|Net Worth:||$20 Million|
|Date of Birth:||Nov 5, 1965 (56 years old)|
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.82 m)|
|Profession:||Model, Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Film Producer|