Jacqueline Bisset’s brilliance shines through in numerous ways. With a career spanning 58 years and an impressive filmography of around 50 movies, the 78-year-old actress exhibits unwavering vitality.
Since my early childhood, Jacqueline Bisset has served as a role model, captivating not only my parents but also myself. She embodies the essence of old Hollywood glamour—a rare quality among actresses today.
Her natural aging process and minimal use of makeup have always garnered my admiration. Bisset possesses a genuine beauty and an inherent allure. Throughout her illustrious career, this brown-haired beauty, renowned for her striking green eyes and high cheekbones, has showcased remarkable versatility. From her portrayal of the seductive Miss Goodthighs in the spy parody Casino Royale (1967) to her depiction of a devoted mother in Sleepy Time Gal (2001), from her embodiment of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in America’s Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story (2003) to her memorable role as Anna Karenina (1985) in the sweeping love story of the same name, where she starred alongside Christopher Reeves—Bisset has continually impressed audiences.
Her on-screen journey began in Roman Polanski’s Cul-de-Sac (1966), catapulting her into the limelight. In 1968 alone, she appeared in a string of noteworthy films, including Detective with Frank Sinatra, Bullitt with Steve McQueen, and The Sweet Ride with Tony Franciosa and Bob Denver (famously known as Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island), earning a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the latter.
Bisset’s filmography boasts a rich collection of roles, including notable films like Day for Night (1973), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Deep (1977), Wild Orchid (1990), Joan of Arc (1999) for which she received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, the Golden Globe-winning miniseries Dancing on the Edge (2013), as well as Miss You Already (2015) and Birds of Paradise (2021).
In recognition of her outstanding contributions, Bisset was bestowed with the Legion of Honor, the highest state order in France, in 2010 due to her multilingual abilities in English, French, and Italian. Furthermore, in 2023, the Sedona International Film Festival honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Despite her collaborations with some of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading men, Bisset has never been married. She was pursued by Frank Sinatra, and rumors swirled about her involvement with her Bullitt co-star, the notorious Hollywood bad boy Steve McQueen. However, being a proper English lady, she stated that their differences were insurmountable. Reflecting on McQueen, she candidly expressed in an interview with the Daily Mail, “He was attractive but a little intimidating. I was very English, and he was a hip American. His way of speaking would have driven me crazy—I didn’t know what a dude or a soul chick was!”
Over the years, Bisset has enjoyed long-term relationships with Canadian actor Michael Sarrazin, ballet dancer Alexander Godunov, and actor Vincent Pérez. Nevertheless, she admits her inclination towards independence makes permanence elusive.
During an interview with the Independent, Bisset shared, “I’ve had some incredibly intriguing men in my life. They’ve been quite a handful. I don’t choose easy men, or so I’ve been told.” She continued, “Sometimes, spending time with people exposes you to too much information. You start noticing their flaws, their bad habits. And then, you’re faced with accepting those flaws, and I’m not sure I can handle them. I’ve never had bitter breakups. I’ve simply extricated myself from overwhelming situations.”