Famke Janssen

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Famke Janssen
Famke Janssen by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Janssen at the 2023 WonderCon
Famke Beumer Janssen

1964/1965 (age 57–58)[1]
Amstelveen, Netherlands
Alma materColumbia University
Occupation(s)Actress, former model
Years active
  • 1984–1992 (model)
  • 1992–present (actress)
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[2]
(m. 1995; div. 2000)
RelativesAntoinette Beumer (sister)
Marjolein Beumer (sister)

Famke Beumer Janssen[3] (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈfɑmkə ˈbøːmər ˈjɑnsə(n)]; born c. 1964/1965[4][5]) is a Dutch actress. She played Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye (1995), Jean Grey / Phoenix in the X-Men film series (2000–2014), and Lenore Mills in the Taken film trilogy (2008–2014). In 2008, she was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity by the United Nations. She made her directorial debut with Bringing Up Bobby in 2011. She is also known for her roles in the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove (2013–2015), FX's Nip/Tuck (2003–2010), and ABC's How to Get Away with Murder (2014–2020). Janssen starred in the 2017 NBC crime thriller The Blacklist: Redemption.

Early life and education[edit]

Famke Beumer Janssen[3] was born c. 1964[4][5] in Amstelveen, the Netherlands.[6][7] She has two sisters, director Antoinette Beumer and actress Marjolein Beumer, both of whom changed their surnames to Beumer after their parents divorced.[8]

In addition to her native Dutch, Janssen speaks English and French. She learned German, but has not kept up with it.[9] Following her high school graduation, Janssen studied economics for a year at the University of Amsterdam, which she later called "the stupidest idea I ever had."[8] In the early 1990s, she enrolled at Columbia University's School of General Studies to study creative writing and literature.[10][11]


Modelling and early 1990s[edit]

In 1984, Janssen moved to the United States to begin her professional career as a fashion model. She signed with Elite Model Management and worked for Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Chanel, and Victoria's Secret. She starred in a 1988 commercial for the perfume Exclamation by Coty, Inc.[12] Her looks have been compared to 1940s movie stars like Hedy Lamarr.[6]

After retiring from modelling in the early 1990s, Janssen had guest roles on several television series, including a starring role in the 1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Perfect Mate", as empathic metamorph Kamala, opposite Patrick Stewart, with whom she later starred in the X-Men film series.[6] That same year, Janssen was offered the role of Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but turned it down to pursue film roles.[13] Her first film role was alongside Jeff Goldblum in the 1992 crime drama film Fathers & Sons.


Janssen in 2008

In 1995, Janssen appeared in Pierce Brosnan's debut James Bond film, GoldenEye, as femme fatale Xenia Onatopp. She appeared in Lord of Illusions with Scott Bakula. In an attempt to fight against typecasting after her Bond girl performance, Janssen began seeking out more intriguing support roles, appearing in John Irvin's City of Industry, Woody Allen's Celebrity, Robert Altman's The Gingerbread Man, and Ted Demme's Monument Ave.[14] 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.[6] In the late 1990s, she appeared in The Faculty, Rounders, Deep Rising, and House on Haunted Hill.

X-Men films[edit]

In 2000, Janssen played superhero Dr. Jean Grey in the 20th Century Fox film X-Men. She later reprised the role in the 2003 sequel, X2, where her character shows signs of increasing powers, but at the end of the film, she is presumably killed. Janssen returns as Jean, whose death in X2 awoke her dark alternate personality, Phoenix, in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). For that role, she won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.[15] She returned as Jean in the 2013 film The Wolverine as a hallucination of Wolverine,[16] followed by a brief cameo for X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).[17][18]


In 2002, Janssen landed the role of villainess Serleena in Men in Black II, but had to abandon the film due to a death in her family and was replaced by Lara Flynn Boyle.[19] Janssen had a prominent role in the second season of the TV series Nip/Tuck, as the seductive and manipulative life coach Ava Moore, which earned her Hollywood Life's Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award.[20] She reprised her role in the final two episodes of the series.

In 2007, she starred in Turn the River, for which she was awarded the Special Recognition Best Actress Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival.[21] The following year, she starred in Luc Besson's Taken. Janssen continued to work in television, appearing in TV pilots for NBC's police drama Winters and Showtime's The Farm, a spinoff of The L Word set in a women's prison. Both pilots were rejected by their networks. Janssen provided the Dutch language narration for the Studio Tram Tour at all Disney theme parks.[14]

In 2011, Janssen made her directorial debut with the drama Bringing Up Bobby. She wrote the screenplay to the film, which stars Milla Jovovich, Bill Pullman, and Marcia Cross.[22] She reprised her role as Lenore Mills in Taken 2 (2012) and Taken 3 (2014). She starred as the main villain Muriel in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013).

Janssen in 2016

Janssen has starred in the Netflix original horror thriller television series Hemlock Grove since 2013, wherein she plays the role of family matriarch Olivia Godfrey.[23] Janssen had a recurring role in the ABC crime thriller television series How To Get Away With Murder, appearing in 10 episodes throughout the series, beginning her role in season two of the show and concluding it in the series finale.

Janssen was cast in a starring role in the NBC crime thriller, The Blacklist: Redemption, a spin-off of the NBC series The Blacklist, in March 2016;[24] it was picked up to series in May 2016.[25] In 2019, she served as a juror for the Tribeca Film Festival.[26] Also in 2019, Janssen joined Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Postcard Killings, which was released in 2020.[27] In 2021, Janssen will star in the Christian romantic drama film Redeeming Love[28] and the upcoming action-thriller Dangerous.[29]

In a March 2021 interview, she revealed to Forbes some details about her involvement with the live action adaptation of Saint Seiya, a popular anime and manga. Janssen declared that filming was supposed to take place in Europe the previous year, but production had been postponed twice due to the Coronavirus pandemic. She also hinted that she will play one of the main characters, but did not specify their name.[30]

Personal life and activism[edit]

In 1995, Janssen married writer and director Kip Williams, son of architect Tod Williams. They divorced in 2000.[7] She has stated that she does not want to have children.[31]

Janssen appeared with her dog, Licorice, a brindle Boston Terrier, in a 2007 PETA campaign to raise awareness for animal rights. The campaign used the slogan "Be an Angel for Animals."[32] On 28 January 2008, she was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime at a United Nations anticorruption conference held in Nusa Dua, Bali.[33]

In 2016, Janssen showed frustration in not being cast in the new X-Men movie X-Men: Apocalypse, saying Hollywood was sexist toward older women.[34] She said, "Women, it's interesting because they're replaced, and the older versions are never to be seen again... whereas the men are allowed to be both ages."[34]



Year Title Role Notes Refs.
1992 Fathers & Sons Kyle Christian
1994 Relentless IV: Ashes to Ashes Dr. Sara Lee Jaffee Direct-to-video film
1995 Lord of Illusions Dorothea Swann
1995 GoldenEye Xenia Onatopp
1996 Dead Girl Treasure
1997 City of Industry Rachel Montana
1998 Monument Ave. Katy O'Connor
1998 The Gingerbread Man Leeanne Magruder
1998 Deep Rising Trillian St. James
1998 RPM Claudia Haggs
1998 Rounders Petra
1998 Celebrity Bonnie
1998 The Adventures of Sebastian Cole Fiona
1998 The Faculty Miss Elizabeth Burke
1999 House on Haunted Hill Evelyn Stockard-Price
2000 Love & Sex Kate Welles
2000 Circus Lily Garfield
2000 X-Men Jean Grey
2001 Made Jessica
2001 Don't Say a Word Agatha "Aggie" Conrad
2002 I Spy Rachel Wright
2003 X2 Jean Grey
2004 Eulogy Judy Arnolds
2005 Hide and Seek Dr. Katherine Carson
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Jean Grey / Phoenix
2006 The Treatment Allegra Marshall
2007 The Ten Gretchen Reigert
2007 Turn the River Kailey Sullivan
2008 The Wackness Kristen Squires
2008 Taken Lenore "Lenny" Mills
2008 100 Feet Marnie Watson Direct-to-video film
2010 The Chameleon Jennifer Johnson Direct-to-video film
2011 Down the Shore Mary Reed
2012 Taken 2 Lenore "Lenny" Mills
2013 Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Muriel
2013 The Wolverine Jean Grey
2013 The Being Experience N/A Originally titled In the Woods
2014 A Fighting Man Diane Schuler Direct-to-video film
2014 Unity Narrator (voice) Documentary
2014 X-Men: Days of Future Past Jean Grey Cameo
2014 Taken 3 Lenore "Lenny" Mills
2015 Jack of the Red Hearts Kay
2017 The Show Ilana Katz
2017 All I Wish Vanessa [35]
2017 Once Upon a Time in Venice Katey Ford
2018 Status Update Katherine Alden [36]
2018 Bayou Caviar Nic Originally titled Louisiana Caviar [37]
2018 Asher Sophie [38]
2019 The Poison Rose Jayne Hunt [39]
2019 Primal Dr. Ellen Taylor
2020 The Postcard Killings Valerie Kanon [40][41]
2020 Endless Lee Douglas [42][43]
2021 The Vault Margaret Originally titled Way Down [44]
2021 Dangerous Agent Shaughessy [45]
2022 Redeeming Love Duchess [46]
2023 Door Mouse Mama [47]
2023 Knights of the Zodiac [48]
TBA Boy Kills World Hilda Van Der Koy [49]
TBA Locked In Katherine [50]
TBA The Experiment [51]


Year Title Role Notes Refs.
1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation Kamala Episode: "The Perfect Mate"
1994 Melrose Place Diane Adamson Episode: "Michael's Game"
1994 Model by Day Lex / Lady X Television film
1994 The Untouchables Cleo Episode: "Voyeur"
2000–2001 Ally McBeal Jamie Episodes: "The Man with the Bag", "The Ex-Files"
2004–2010 Nip/Tuck Ava Moore Recurring role, 11 episodes
2007 Winters Christie Winters Television film
2008 Puppy Love Maya Web series
2009 The Farm Valentina Galindo Television film
2013–2015 Hemlock Grove Olivia Godfrey Main role
2015–2020 How to Get Away with Murder Eve Rothlow Recurring role, 10 episodes
2015 SuperMansion Frau Mantis Voice role; 2 episodes
2016 Robot Chicken Jean Grey Voice role; episode: "Joel Hurwitz"
2016–2018 The Blacklist Susan Hargrave Recurring role, 5 episodes
2017 The Blacklist: Redemption Susan Hargrave Main role
2019 When They See Us Nancy Ryan Miniseries; 2 episodes [52]
2019 The Capture Jessica Mallory Episode: "Correction" [53]
2022 Long Slow Exhale Melinda Barrington Recurring role [54]

As director[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated
Result Ref(s)
1996 MTV Movie Awards MTV Movie Award for Best Fight
(shared with Pierce Brosnan)
GoldenEye Nominated [55]
2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actress – Horror House on Haunted Hill Nominated [56]
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Supporting Actress House on Haunted Hill Nominated [57]
2001 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actress – Science Fiction X-Men Nominated [58]
2006 Hamptons International Film Festival Golden Starfish Award for Career Achievement The Treatment Won [59]
High Falls Film Festival Susan B. Anthony "Failure is Impossible" Award The Treatment Won [60]
Scream Awards Sexiest Superhero X-Men: The Last Stand Nominated [56]
Best Superhero X-Men: The Last Stand Nominated [56]
Best Flesh Scene
(Shared with Hugh Jackman)
X-Men: The Last Stand Won [61]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Liplock
(shared with Hugh Jackman)
X-Men: The Last Stand Nominated [62]
2007 Hamptons International Film Festival Special Recognition Turn the River Won [56]
Special Prize Turn the River Won [56]
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress X-Men: The Last Stand Won [63]
2016 Gold Derby Awards Best Drama Guest Actress How to Get Away with Murder Nominated [56]


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External links[edit]