Famke Beumer Janssen (born 5 November 1964) is a Dutch actress and former fashion model. She is best known for her roles in GoldenEye, Nip/Tuck
and as Dr. Jean Grey/Phoenix in the X-Men movies. Janssen is also a UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity.
Famke Beumer Janssen was born in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. The first name means little girl in West Frisian, the native language of the Dutch province Friesland. Besides her native Dutch, Janssen speaks English, French, and also learned German but has not kept it up. She has two sisters, director Antoinette Beumer and actress Marjolein Beumer.
Before coming to America, Janssen studied economics for a year at the University of Amsterdam calling it "the stupidest idea I ever had." Janssen moved to the United States in 1984 and began her professional career as a fashion model. She was signed with Elite Model Management and worked for Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Victoria's Secret. While with the agency, her European measurements were listed as 92-61-92, 1.8 meters tall and 36 dress size. Janssen is noted for being taller than average at 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) and her beauty has been compared to Hedy Lamarr and films stars of the 1940s. After retiring from modeling in the early 1990s, she enrolled at Columbia University to study creative writing and literature and also took up acting. Several years later she moved to Los Angeles to establish her acting career.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, Janssen obtained her first parts, appearing in guest roles on TV series. She starred in a 1988 commercial for exclamation perfume. One of her first appearances was in 1992, when she starred in the Star Trek: The Next Generation
episode "The Perfect Mate" as empathic metamorph Kamala, opposite Patrick Stewart (who would later star with her in the X-Men film series). Then, in that same year, Janssen was offered the role of Jadzia Dax of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but turned it down to pursue film roles.
Janssen's first film role was with Jeff Goldblum
in the 1992 film Fathers & Sons. In 1995, she appeared in the first Pierce Brosnan James Bond film, GoldenEye, as femme fatale Xenia Onatopp.
Janssen played superheroine Dr. Jean Grey/Phoenix in X-Men
, X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. She won a Saturn Award for the role in X-Men: The Last Stand. She also starred in the movies Lord of Illusions, The Faculty, House on Haunted Hill, I Spy, Rounders, Deep Rising, Hide and Seek, and Taken. In addition, Janssen had a prominent role in the second season of the popular TV show, Nip/Tuck
, as the seductive and manipulative transsexual life coach, Ava Moore. She will reprise her role in the final two episodes of the series.
Janssen tried to fight against typecasting, seeking out more intriguing support roles, appearing in Woody Allen
's Celebrity, Robert Altman
's The Gingerbread Man, John Irvin's City of Industry and Ted Demme's Monument Ave. 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. She was awarded the Special Jury Best Actress Award at the 2007 Hamptons International Film Festival for her role as a female pool hustler in Chris Eigeman's Turn the River.
Janssen provides the Dutch-language narration for the Studio Tram Tour at all Disney parks.
In December 2008 Janssen filmed a 20 minute presentation for Showtime that serves as a pilot for a spinoff of The L Word set in a women's Prison. Janssen plays one of the prisoners starring alongside Melissa Leo, Leisha Hailey and Laurie Metcalf.
On January 28, 2008, Janssen was appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity at the Second Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, held in Nusa Dua, Bali.
Janssen lives in West Village in New York City. She was married to writer, director Tod Culpan Williams, son of architect Tod Williams, from 1995 to 2000. In 2001, she dated Ben Affleck
Janssen has a brindle Boston Terrier named Licorice, with which she frequently travels. Alongside her dog, she appeared in a 2007 PETA
campaign to raise awareness for animal rights. The campaign used the slogan "Be an Angel for Animals" and featured Janssen dressed in white lingerie sitting on a swing with angel wings behind her while holding her dog on her lap.
Biography courtesy of Wikipedia