Famke Janssen (born November 5, 1965) 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. Famke is also a UNODC Goodwill Ambassador
Janssen's name is pronounced as Fahm-Kuh Yan-Sin. The first name means little girl in West Frisian, the native language of the Dutch province Friesland.
Famke Janssen was born in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. Besides her native Dutch, Famke learned to speak English, German and French. She has two sisters, director Antoinette Beumer and actress Marjolein Beumer. Famke 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.
Famke also studied writing and literature at Columbia University before moving to Los Angeles to establish her acting career.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, Famke obtained her first parts, appearing in guest roles on TV series. One of her first appearances was in 1992, when Famke Janssen 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, Famke was offered the role of Jadzia Dax of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but turned it down in favor of 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.
Famke 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. Famke Janssen also starred in the movies Lord of Illusions, The Faculty, House on Haunted Hill, I Spy, Rounders, Deep Rising, Hide and Seek, and Taken (film). In addition, Famke 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.
Famke tried to fight against typecasting by appearing in Woody Allen's Celebrity, Robert Altman's The Gingerbread Man, John Irvin's City of Industry and Ted Demme's Monument Ave. 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.
In 2003, Famke was awarded the International Star of the Year. In 2004, she won the Hollywood Life Breakthrough Artist of the Year for her work on Nip/Tuck. In 2006, the Hamptons International Film Festival awarded her with the Golden Starfish Award for career achievement in acting.
Famke provides the Dutch-language narration for the Studio Tram Tour at all Disney parks.
On January 28, 2008, Famke 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. In December 2008 Famke filmed a 20 minute presentation for Showtime that will serve as a pilot for a spinoff of The L Word set in a women's Prison. Famke plays one of the prisoners starring alongside Melissa Leo, Leisha Hailey and Laurie Metcalf.
Famke has a brindle Boston Terrier named Licorice, with whom she frequently travels.
This Famke Janssen Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub