Jacqueline Bisset: “Show business is business, but to me, it’s soul business”

As the leading lady in François Truffaut’s film classic “Day for Night” (1973), Jacqueline Bisset portrayed the star of a film being made in the Victorine studios in Nice, with Truffaut as its director. A heartwarming tribute to the entire filmmaking process with wonderful performances. The film won numerous awards, including an Academy Award as Best Foreign-Language Film.

Throughout her entire career, Ms. Bisset appeared in a wide variety of movies, including George Cukor’s “Rich and Famous” (1981) and “Under the Volcano” (1984), directed by John Huston. Still very much in demand, the former César nominee and this year’s Golden Globe winner, was born in 1944 in Weybridge, England, as Winnifred Jacqueline Fraser-Bisset. First a model, she then started acting in the mid-1960s, became an international star, and still is a renowned actress.

I met Miss Bisset, very courteous and dignified, in her Los Angeles home in 2007, to talk about her craft as an actress, and her long and rewarding career in movies and television.

Ms. Bisset, when you first came to Los Angeles to appear in American films, what could they offer you since the old studio system was over?

There used to be a support system in the studio days, but not anymore when I started. I came out here after having done a few films like “Cul-de-Sac” [1966], “Two for the Road” [1967], and “Casino Royale” [1967]. I got a contract based on those roles. They wanted to sign me for a contract for seven years, but I turned it down. I didn’t know anything about it, but I had overheard someone once saying, ‘Never sign a contract for seven years.’ When I had refused that offer, some people told me, ‘Are you mad?’ But I said, ‘No, I don’t want anyone to own me. I just want to be a free person.’ Then they came back and signed me up for a ten-picture deal over a seven-year period, meaning I could work for other people as well. Actually, it worked out fine; they never pushed me for doing anything.

Jacqueline Bisset in “Who’s Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?” (1978), directed by Ted Kotcheff | Film Talk Archive

From the beginning, you were always considered a glamorous leading lady. Did that affect your choice of roles through the years?

I have tried to play against those glamorous types of roles as much as possible, and maybe that has been a mistake, I think. I didn’t know what I looked like. It took me many years to know what I looked like, and when I look back, I know I was supposedly glamorous—or whatever would be considered a certain kind of glamour. But I didn’t feel like it. I was only interested in the work and interested in a chance to explore something new. And I am still looking. I haven’t found the ideal part yet, but I found bits of it. I found an amusing character in a television thing called ‘Nip Tuck’ [2006] which I was doing last year—a very awful person, not a big part, it was a part of an ensemble piece, and I was in six episodes of it. People just loved me in it, and I played a very evil and immoral person. It’s been interesting; it was playful, and there was some justifiable element towards the end. I had never done this kind of format, so you have no idea what you’re playing. You get it two days before, you read it, and suddenly your character goes in a different direction. But it was fun. There is a whole other area of behavior which is interesting. It is necessary to find characters with flaws; you need flawed characters if you want anything to do. Otherwise, it becomes tedious. Getting cast is another matter. Unfortunately, the way you look is very much considered to be a part of being an actress, unless you take completely different roles, like in “The Sleepy Time Gal” [2001]. It wasn’t important to look good. There was no glamour at all involved. I think Hollywood has become much more glamour-oriented since I came over here. In the sixties, it was hippy-time. I looked natural, I looked the way I looked when I got here.

François Truffaut’s “La nuit américaine” [1973, U.S. title “Day for Night”] stood out in your work and was a highlight for everyone involved in that picture. What attracted you to his approach of filmmaking?

The love of the cinema is clearly one of the subjects in “Day for Night,” and Truffaut showed it in all of his films. The love of women, the love of children. It represented what happened in life. I was attracted to his world, I think, a world in which women figure importantly usually. They are important in his stories, and as a woman, you feel that. Children are also important, so you feel the sensitivity. His dialogues are so marvelous, so fresh, so personal, cynical at times, all kinds of points of view, even if you look at “Jules & Jim” [1962] today, you can still recognize all of that. When I was a child, I didn’t have lots of media. So when I saw one of his films, I let it sit in my mind; it filled a large space with things I didn’t know about. I don’t know picking on any film nowadays when there’s so much media—it just bombards you, whether you can pick up things in the same way. I just saw a film at this year’s Academy that particularly stuck with me, “The Life of Others” [2006], a German film [originally titled “Das Leben der Anderen”]. I have seen it three times which is very unusual for me. I was just in love with a certain kind of film that took place in villages, small stories about people, they were not particularly glamorous films. Those films were made in black in white, and came out when I was in the last part of my schooldays.

“Day for Night” (1973), French filmmaker François Truffaut with Jacqueline Bisset | Film Talk Archive

Is Truffaut still a name over here in the U.S.?

Truffaut was well appreciated in America when he was still alive [he passed away in 1984 at age fifty-two]. Things have moved forward so fast; I was stunned when I did an interview about two years ago with a young journalist who didn’t know who Truffaut was. I was stunned. I think a certain generation knows, and those who have never seen his films don’t. Americans are not particularly backward-looking in time—although they are under the siege of all these media—unless they’re really passionate about something specific that they’ve seen. And then they follow it up, in which case they’d know. But anybody of my generation would appreciate him. Truffaut was a master, an inspiration to many people, and the film I was in, was a favorite of many people in the film business. But in a few years, that will not be true because they will all have died. I am not well-educated in American cinema. I came here without knowing anything about anything because I didn’t have television, and my parents wouldn’t allow me to go to the cinema until I was well into my teens. I’m still discovering all kinds of people that I should know. So I understand, but it still seems shocking to me that people don’t know all kinds of people—I feel they’re missing something.

When you made “Rich and Famous” [1981], working with veteran filmmaker George Cukor was then an entirely different experience, I suppose?

Robert Mulligan was directing the film and pulled out during the strike, so the head of MGM suggested George Cukor to replace him. I had seen him a couple of times socially, and I didn’t have any bad feeling, except he did because he made such a big thing about it. I was extremely well brought up, but I wasn’t rude. So there was a degree of fear there, but directors could be authoritarian characters. They were not particularly fun times, but the material was wonderful. George Cukor loved the material of “Rich and Famous”—at the time, I didn’t know it was a remake [of Vincent Shermans “Old Acquaintance,” 1944, starring Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins]. Luckily I didn’t because I would have been intimidated. You want to work with great people, and there are a whole bunch of directors I wanted to work with, and who actually wanted to work with me, as I found out years later. I was so stunned at the time, I wish I had known. I almost missed “Day for Night” because they couldn’t find me. They found me dancing in Paris in a nightclub. Somebody had found out where I was staying and contacted me. Because my agent didn’t tell me, they didn’t even inquire about me. I had never stayed at that hotel; it was a complete mystery how they had found where I was. Actually they tried to contact me a year before, but no one told me.

A filmmaker like Truffaut that you’re on the same level with, that does make a difference?

If you have the luck to find filmmakers who understand what you have to give, you are very lucky, and then you can make something special. It’s like couples; people bring out the best in each other. Some people don’t see it, and they don’t get shown in the best light. So it’s a combination of the writing and the director and the love. It’s all about love, I think. That’s what Truffaut was showing so clearly in “Day for Night,” the love for the cinema: the emotions, patience, and fairness are very important to a filmmaker, to give all the character the chance to do what they need to do. I tended to not like the star vehicle-type pieces. A part of me feels it’s not realistic to life. Of course, as an actor, you want your time in a scene, you want to be represented, but I tend to like a part in ensemble pieces. Then you get to travel in the person’s mind.

“La nuit américaine” (a.k.a. “Day for Night,” 1973, trailer)

Have you ever considered to direct as well?

I used to think about directing myself, but what I realize is at this point, a side of me is very good at giving instructions, but the other part of me detests it because it might bring out some very strange qualities in me. I could become very domineering. I actually believe you have to let things happen. I think it is a very funny mixture. When I worked with [French filmmaker] Claude Chabrol [“La cérémonie,” 1995], there was no rehearsal in a sense there was ‘no playing as you wanted to play it.’ He would say, ‘You stand here, you go there, you lift this.’ It was fairly mechanical compared to what I have been used to. There was no question of, ‘Let’s read this through. The actors will bring what they will bring, and then we will shoot it.’ Whereas John Huston basically lets the actors do whatever they want. He listens and watches what they’re doing. So the actors show him the positions, and then he’d say, ‘I’ll put my camera here.’ At times he wasn’t even there when we were figuring it out. He just went off, and then he came back. It was as if he didn’t even bother to shoot certain things that maybe other directors would have shot in terms of covering other actors who were involved in the scene—which I found a little unfair. I didn’t particularly feel good for the other people. I felt awkward that they were not getting their shot equivalent. But he obviously had it all in his head. He must have been flexible in some way, but he didn’t want to discuss anything really. All directors are totalitarian people, I must say. Cukor, Polanski, Comencini, less Truffaut—but in his own way, he was quite precise—they were all older directors, and they were tough and totalitaire. It was always very intimidating. All those directors I worked with at different stages in my career. Polanski was there at the beginning, a complete terror I was in. Truffaut was the beginning of a dream opening, John Huston—I was very flattered to be asked to work for him, even though it was a small part—but it was an American accent, and I was terrified of that, and it was always terror everywhere. In “Under the Volcano” [1984], the part I played was peculiar; I realized that when I read it. If I became too concrete, this would disturb the hallucinatory quality that was in the book when Yvonne [Ms. Bisset’s character] appears in the mind of a drunken man. She was sort of hallucination in a way, yet she was very real. With her arrival, she couldn’t be too present, it had to be something like, ‘Am I seeing her?’ She’s here, she’s back and life is going to renew itself. We’ll find love again, we’ll forgive each other. That was the quality, difficult to define. It was a difficult part. That part wasn’t the same in the book as it was in the film.

How about casting? Is it still easy to find the parts you’d like to play?

In order to get good parts, you need to get your visibility up to a certain amount. But then, when you get the visibility, you get a lot of the other side too. So surviving as a human being is work. I am amazed that I am as healthy as I am at this point. I mean, I have been here a long time, so I am very happy that I am still a very healthy human being. Career-wise, I don’t know if I am in such good shape. I get asked to do things, and a lot of them I don’t want to do because I feel I have done them before. I am trying to find pieces to surprise the audience. I keep finding things, but they’re usually not in big projects. People sometimes say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you could do that,’ or ‘Oh my God, you were so different in that!’ I think it is working now, on a small level. I have been sort of a bit wishy-washy recently on the work I expect; you need to feel like you have grown, so you have yourself to give. It does take energy and digging, uplifting the skin, and getting underneath. It is much easier for me to reach stuff now, compared to years ago. My emotions are very near the top of my skin. I don’t have to dig or anything; I get there very quickly because I have a lot to pull from. But one doesn’t want to put that stuff in the wrong place because then you’d feel like throwing your baby out of the window. Like when you’re doing a very good interview, an in-depth interview with someone, and then he says, ‘Oh, you starred in “The Deep,” and there was this wet T-shirt thing.’ It’s very annoying and a waste of time—then you feel you really wasted your time.

What is crucial to you in acting, when you’re playing a character?

If you want to bring something good to the screen, you have to find the good work of somebody else, because that’s the way it goes. But you’ve got bring your experiences, your humanity, new stuff; you’ve got to dig constantly. Once you’ve done it, you have to develop your eye, your soul, your wit, your generosity, your love level, study and you need to go to art exhibitions, truly listen to people so you can disappear within them listening. You have to be able to lose yourself in being interested in something else, so you learn to concentrate. Acting involves so many things, to understand art efficiently, to understand that you are there on that screen—a tiny part of it, or a big part of it—to understand the balance of the total of it, truly be there, and on some level to be able to look back and see that it’s not about you. It’s about a story that you are trying to tell. When you’re doing it, it’s about your character, not really about you; you are a sort of channel to the words, and it requires a lot of giving. You’ve got to give a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot. You also need to be around people who are also rich in spirit and embrace generosity and feelings. Also you need to have manners too; manners are terribly important. Be polite, learn your lines backward, so they’re not even the issue. The words are terribly important, of course, but they are not there to be seen necessarily. You can say one thing, and you’re thinking another, and they have to be so much part of you that you can actually say more complex things at the same time. People who employ people—it’s an odd thing—people can put together a fairly commercial project, something that is basically done for money, and some part of them wants to win an award. They can do schlocky stuff, but underneath I do believe it’s soul business rather than show business. If they work with actors and actresses that behave well, it makes them feel proud, and it makes the experience a lot easier if they’re respectful.

After so many years in the film business, you still have a lot to give as an actress. You’re still in the bloom of your life, aren’t you?

I am just getting good at what I am doing; I feel I still have a fair amount of energy, so yes, I have a lot to give. I like to do other things too on other levels of life. For example, I love to look at other people’s work. But at one point you start losing friends, a lot of friends die—in my life, lots of people died—so I don’t want to waste any time. Sometimes I’m a little impatient [laughs], like in traffic, I’m like, ‘Go green! Go green!’ So don’t get panicky; just calm down, and think of something interesting. People sometimes want someone for a film and think, ‘No, we will never get that person.’ Well, try! Try to get the person you want, even though it can be difficult to get past the agents, but you could try. You just never know; I have made a few films with first-time directors, and those were good experiences. I thought I was participating in something fresh, giving a little lift to people, and bringing some experience to something. It was a good feeling mutually, they appreciated it, and I felt it was appreciated. I really liked it. Although, when I accept a role, there’s always a little wall that I have to climb, something I have to get over or learn, or I want to confront some fear. Even “The Deep” [1977] was to overcome to do a movie underwater. I was frightened of water. I really had to take myself out of hand, day by day. It is not my kind of film, but we had a wonderful director, Peter Yates, a lovely man; I had worked with him on “Bullitt” [1968], that was the happy part of it. But by the end, I had faced it. I did it. It was staggering to be ninety feet underwater, surrounded by fish, barracudas. It was very unrealistic to me. At one point, I nearly drowned while filming one of the underwater sequences. I haven’t put my head underwater since. When it was over, I thought, well, acting and diving can be very dangerous because you’re not concentrating on those two things at once. The film was successful, it gave me some what they call cloud, to be able to go on, and do “Rich and Famous.”

Only now and then, you have appeared in commercially oriented films or blockbusters, such as “Airport” [1970] and “The Deep” [1977]. Is that by choice?

There’s a whole area of moviemaking which is very commercial, and it is done to make money. However, I don’t think that the director and the performers feel that way. I feel that most people want to work seriously and they want to make a good film. Then it is taken over by distributors, and things become commercial projects. But I generally don’t think that I have ever been in a film when I actually thought, ‘These people are trying to make a moneymaker.’ I don’t feel that with the work I have ever been involved with, even though a few of those films have done quite well. Show business is business, but as I said, to me, it’s soul business. I do think that most people have a deep desire to create a nice piece of work. When a director is really in charge, and he knows what he’s doing, he puts the camera in the right place to get a good performance. You get the perfect lighting, things like that, and they make sure that your character comes forward; you leave a space behind a line, giving the audience a chance to absorb something… All those little choices are very important.

Anthony Quinn as a shipping magnate, with Miss Bisset as the wife of the U.S. president, enjoying a vacation in a scene from “The Greek Tycoon” (1978) | Film Talk Archive

What would you consider your best work so far?

I like the scene in “The Greek Tycoon” [1978], when I’m fighting with Anthony Quinn, when I try to kick him, and I get really angry. I think it is a great scene. What’s so funny about it is that he is so strong, so I could really go for it. I didn’t worry about hurting him; he was big and strong and the kind of man who could take it. For him, I was like a little toy. When the scene was over, I was really shaking for five minutes after, trembling in rage. I couldn’t calm my heart down. There’s a scene in “The Sleepy Time Gal” [2001] when I am lying in bed, and I am talking to my son. I wake up, he’s there and I look at him with the same look of someone who is dying, the approach of you’re alive and I’m not. I‘m talking about my ex-husband, his father, and I say to him, ‘I wish I hadn’t brought you up in the suburbs.’ That whole section of the film was really good. In “Rich and Famous” and “Anna Karenina” [1985] are a few very good scenes too. Yet, somehow I feel like I even haven’t scratched the surface. But with the few parts like these—yes.

People have known you and have recognized you for several decades now. Have you been able to have some privacy in your life?

I have a life completely of my own. I can cut the trees in the front. Occasionally people come to take a photo of you when you’re outside there, which is horrible, but that’s because I have always been very cautious about it. I’ve had periods in my life when people came to the door, I don’t like that. I feel like I’m on a siege. People have to egg me on to get me to go out to those sort of things that I need to go to, to be seen occasionally. I tend to be with people that I know very well; I have nice friends here, so I cook, we sit in the kitchen, and at times we have very relaxed nice evenings here—talking, investigating, very real. We also have large dinners here, that would be my favorite way of entertaining, rather than big parties that you go to. Sometimes people say, ‘You should do a television series, and it would be great for you.’ And what if it was great? What would happen? I am having the time of my life, and it would be over. My privacy would be over. I am not sure I would want that. When you go to a restaurant and people say, ‘I am so sorry to interrupt you,’ and then they interrupt you [laughs]. Well, if you are so sorry, excuse me, I was just talking—you know.

What would you advise young actors who want to make it in this business?

I always tell young actors when they’re sitting around, ‘Learn a language. Go to another place, and learn another language so you can work in another country.’ For me, learning French was an absolute God’s gift. I didn’t learn French until I was about twenty-eight. That opened an enormous amount of things for me. Not that I use it that often. But while you’re waiting around on a film set, use your time. Read the papers. As an actor, a real communicator, you are representing the world, so you should know what’s happening. You should get in touch with the feelings of the world, so you don’t drop behind. When you get the chance to play, or do a period picture, you get a chance to represent your time. You can’t just sit there, eat chocolate, and dream about something. You have to make it happen for you, and if somebody else is not making it happen for you, you have to do it yourself. Bring into your life the elements that are going to enrich your life, and that will lead you in a direction you want to go. I am not only talking about films, I am talking about life.

And how would you reflect on yourself today, as a veteran leading lady of the screen?

I think it is nice still to be a whole person after all those years. I am not a drug addict or an alcoholic. Not yet anyway [laughs].

Beverly Hills, California
March 2007

“Rich and Famous” (1981, trailer)


THE KNACK… AND HOW TO GET IT (1965) DIR Richard Lester PROD Oscar Lewenstein SCR Charles Wood (play ‘The Knack’ [1962] by Ann Jellicoe) CAST Rita Tushingham, Ray Brooks, Michael Crawford, Donal Donnelly, William Dexter, Jane Birkin, Richard Lester, Charlotte Rampling, Jacqueline Bisset (extra, uncredited)

CUL-DE-SAC (1966) DIR Roman Polanski PROD Gene Gutowski, Michael Klinger, Tony Tenser SCR Roman Polanski, Gérard Bach CAST Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac, Lionel Stander, Jack MacGowran, Iain Quarrier, Geoffrey Sumner, Jacqueline Bisset (Jacqueline)

DROP DEAD DARLING (1966) DIR Ken Hughes PROD Ken Hughes, Ray Stark SCR Ken Hughes, Ronald Harwood (novel ‘The Careful Man’ [1962] by Richard Deeming) CAST Tony Curtis, Rosanna Schiaffino, Lionel Jeffries, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Nancy Kwan, Anna Quale, Warren Mitchell, Mischa Auer, Jacqueline Bisset (dancer)

CASINO ROYALE (1967) DIR John Huston, Ken Hughes, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, Richard Talmadge PROD Jerry Bresler, Charles K. Feldman SCR Wolf Mankowitz, John Law, Michael Sawyers (novel ‘Casino Royale’ [1953] by Ian Fleming) CAST Peter Selers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Orson Welles, Joanna Pettet, Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, Charles Boyer, John Huston, George Raft, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jacqueline Bisset (Giovanna Goodthighs)

TWO FOR THE ROAD (1967) DIR – PROD Stanley Donen SCR Frederic Raphael CAST Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, Eleanor Bron, William Daniels, Gabrielle Middleton, Claude Dauphin, Nadia Gray, Jacqueline Bisset (Jackie)

THE CAPE TOWN AFFAIR (1967) DIR – PROD Robert D. Webb SCR Samuel Fuller, Harold Medford (story by Dwight Taylor) CAST James Brolin, Jacqueline Bisset (Candy), Claire Trevor, Bob Courtney, John Whiteley, Gordon Mulholland

THE DETECTIVE (1968) DIR Gordon Douglas PROD Aaron Rosenberg SCR Abby Mann (novel ‘The Detective’ [1966] by Roderick Thorp) CAST Frank Sinatra, Lee Remick, Ralph Meeker, Jacqueline Bisset (Norma McIver), Jack Klugman, William Windom, Robert Duvall, Bette Midler

THE SWEET RIDE (1968) DIR Harvey Hart PROD Joe Pasternak SCR Tom Mankiewicz (novel ‘The Sweet Ride’ [1967] by William Murray) CAST Michael Sarrazin, Jacqueline Bisset (Vickie Cartwright), Anthony Franciosa, Bob Denver, Michele Carey, Michael Wilding, Seymour Cassel, Lee Hazlewood

BULLITT (1968) DIR Peter Yates PROD Philip D’Antoni SCR Alan R. Trustman, Harry Kleiner (novel ‘Mute Witness’ [1963] by Robert L. Pike) CAST Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset (Cathy), Robert Vaughn, Don Gordon, Simon Oakland, Norman Fell, Robert Duvall, Joanna Cassidy, Suzanne Somers

THE FIRST TIME (1969) DIR James Neilson PROD Roger Smith, Alan Carr SCR Roger Smith, Jo Heims (story by Bernard Bassey) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Anna), Wes Stern, Rick Kelman, Wink Roberts, Gerald Parkes, Cosette Lee

LA PROMESSE (1969) DIR Paul Feyder, Robert Freeman PROD Jacques-Eric Strauss SCR Gérard Bach CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Wendy Sinclair), Jean-François Maurin, Giselle Pascal, Pierre Zimmer, Marc Porel, Paul Bonifas, Chantal Goya

AIRPORT (1970) DIR George Seaton [Henry Hathaway, winter outdoor scenes only, uncredited] PROD Ross Hunter SCR George Seaton (novel ‘Airport’ [1968] by Arthur Hailey) CAST Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset (Gwen Meighen), George Kennedy, Helen Hayes, Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton, Barry Nelson, Dana Wynter, Lloyd Nolan, Barbara Hale, Gary Collins, Jessie Royce Landis

THE GRASSHOPPER (1970) DIR Jerry Paris PROD Jerry Belson, Garry Marshall SCR Jerry Belson, Garry Marshall (story by Jerry Belson, Gary Marshall; novel ‘The Passing of Evil’ [1961] by Mark McShane) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Christine Adams), Jim Brown, Joseph Cotten, Corbett Monica, Christopher Stone, Ed Flanders, Penny Marshall

THE MEPHISTO WALTZ (1971) DIR Paul Wendkos PROD Quinn Martin SCR Ben Maddow (novel ‘The Mephisto Waltz’ [1969] by Fred Mustard Stewart) CAST Alan Alda, Jacqueline Bisset (Paula Clarkson), Barbara Parkins, Curt Jurgens, Brad Dillman, William Windom, Kathleen Widdoes

SECRETS (1971) DIR Philip Saville PROD John Hanson SCR Rosemary Davies (story by Philip Saville) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Jennifer Wood), Per Oscarsson, Shirley Knight Hopkins, Robert Powell, Tarka Kings, Martin C. Thurley

BELIEVE IN ME (1971) DIR Stuart Hagman PROD Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler SCR Israel Horovitz CAST Michael Sarrazin, Jacqueline Bisset (Pamela), Jon Cypher, Allen Garfield, Kurt Dodenhoff, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Kevin Conway, Antonio Fargas

STAND UP AND BE COUNTED (1972) DIR Jackie Cooper PROD M.J. Frankovich SCR Bernard Slade CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Sheila Hammond), Stella Stevens, Steve Lawrence, Gary Lockwood, Lee Purcell, Loretta Swit, Hector Elizondo, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Nancy Walker, Kathleen Freeman, Jackie Cooper

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN (1972) DIR John Huston PROD John Foreman SCR John Milius (book ‘Roy Bean: Law West of the Pecos’ [1943] by C.L. Sonnichsen) CAST Paul Newman, Ava Gardner, Victoria Principal, Jacqueline Bisset (Rose Bean), Anthony Perkins, Tan Hunter, John Huston, Stacy Keach, Roddy McDowall, Ned Beatty, Dick Farnsworth, Michael Sarrazin

THE THIEF WHO CAME TO DINNER (1973) DIR Bud Yorkin PROD Bud Yorkin, Norman Lear SCR Walter Hill (novel ‘The Thief Who Came to Dinner’ [1972] by Terrence Lore Smith) CAST Ryan O’Neal, Jacqueline Bisset (Laura Keaton), Warren Oates, Jill Clayburgh, Charles Cioffi, Ned Beatty, Austin Pendleton

LA NUIT AMÉRICAINE, US title DAY FOR NIGHT (1973) DIR François Truffaut PROD Marcel Berbert SCR François Truffaut, Jean-Louis Richard, Suzanne Schiffman CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Julie), Jean-Pierre Aumont, Valetina Cortese, François Truffaut, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Alexandra Stewart, Dani, Nathalie Baye, Bernard Menez, Graham Greene

LE MAGNIFIQUE, US title THE MAN FROM ACAPULCO (1973) DIR Philippe de Broca PROD Georges Dancigers, Alexandre Mnouchkine SCR Philippe de Broca, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Vittorio Caprioli CAST Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jacqueline Bisset (Tatiana / Christine), Vittorio Caprioli, Hans Meyer, Monique Tarbès

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1974) DIR Sidney Lumet PROD John Brabourne, Richard Goodwin SCR Paul Dehn (novel ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ [1934] by Agatha Christie) CAST Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset (Countess Andrenyi), Jean-Pierre Cassel, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts, Richard Widmark, Michael York

THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1975) DIR Peter Collinson PROD Peter Shaw SCR Andrew Meredith (screenplay of THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE [1946] by Mel Dinelli; novel ‘Some Must Watch’ [1933] by Ethel Lina White) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Helen Mallory), Christopher Plummer, Sam Wanamaker, Mildred Dunnock, Gayle Hunnicutt, John Philip Law, Elaine Stritch

DER RICHTER UND SEIN HENKER, a.k.a. END OF THE GAME (1975) DIR Maximillian Schell PROD Maximillian Schell, Arlene Sellers SCR Maximillian Schell, Roberto De Leonardis, Friedrich Dürrenmatt (novel ‘Der Richter und Sein Henker’ [1952, a.k.a. ‘The Judge and His Hangman’] by Friedrich Dürrenmatt) CAST Jon Voight, Jacqueline Bisset (Anna Crawley), Martin Ritt, Robert Shaw, Gabriele Ferzetti, Donald Sutherland

LA DONNA DELLA DOMENICA (1975) DIR Luigi Comencini PROD Marcello D’Amico SCR Furio Scarpelli, Agenore Incrocci (novel ‘La donna della domenica’ [1972] by Carlo Fruttero, Franco Lucentini) CAST Marcello Mastroianni, Jacqueline Bisset (Anna Carla Dosio), Jean-Louis Trintignant, Aldo Reggiani, Maria Teresa Albani, Omero Antonutti

ST. IVES (1976) DIR J. Lee Thompson PROD Pancho Kohner, Stanley S. Canter SCR Barry Beckerman (novel ‘The Procane Chronicle’ [1971] by Oliver Bleeck [Ross Thomas]) CAST Charles Bronson, John Houseman, Jacqueline Bisset (Janet Whistler), Harry Guardino, Maximillian Schell, Harris Yulin, Dana Elcar, Elisha Cook, Jr., Michael Lerner, Daniel J. Travanti, Jeff Goldblum, Robert Englund

THE DEEP (1977) DIR Peter Yates PROD Peter Guber SCR Peter Benchley, Tracy Keenan Wynn (novel ‘The Deep’ [1976] by Peter Benchley) CAST Robert Shaw, Jacqueline Bisset (Gail Berke), Nick Nolte, Louis Gossett, Eli Wallach, Robert Tessier, Peter Benchley, Peter Wallach

THE GREEK TYCOON (1978) DIR J. Lee Thompson PROD Allen Klein SCR Mort Fine (story by Mort Fine, Nico Mastorakis, Win Wells) CAST Anthony Quinn, Jacqueline Bisset (Liz Cassidy), Raf Vallone, Edward Albert, Charles Durning, Camilla Sparv, James Franciscus, Luciana Paluzzi, Linda Thorson, Marilù Tolo

WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE? (1978) DIR Ted Kotcheff PROD William Aldrich SCR Peter Stone (novel ‘Someone Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe’ by Nan Lyons, Ivan Lyons) CAST George Segal, Jacqueline Bisset (Natasha), Robert Morley, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Philippe Noiret, Jean Rochefort, Luigi Proietti, Joss Ackland

AMO NON AMO (1979) DIR Armenia Balducci PROD Gianni Bozzacchi, Valerio De Paolis SCR Armenia Balducci, Ennio De Concini CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Louise), Maximillian Schell, Terence Stamp, Monica Guerritore, Gian Luca Venantini, Pietro Biondi

WHEN TIME RAN OUT… (1980) DIR James Goldstone PROD Irwin Allen SCR Carl Foreman, Stirling Silliphant (novel ‘The Day the World Ended’ by Gordon Thomas, Max Morgan Witts) CAST Paul Newman, Jacqueline Bisset (May Kirby), William Holden, Edward Albert, Red Buttons, Barbara Carrera, Valentina Cortese, Burgess Meredith, Ernest Bognine, James Franciscus, Pat Morita

INCHON (1981) DIR Terence Young PROD Sidney Beckerman, Mitsuhari Ishii SCR Robin Moore, Laird Koenig (story by Robin Moore, Paul Savage) CAST Laurence Olivier, Jacqueline Bisset (Barbara Hallsworth), Ben Gazzara, Toshiro Mifune, Richard Roundtree, David Janssen, Gabriele Ferzetti, Rex Reed, Omar Sharif

RICH AND FAMOUS (1981) DIR George Cukor PROD William Allyn [Jacqueline Bisset, uncredited] SCR Gerald Ayres (play ‘Old Acquantance’ [1940] by John Van Druten; screenplay OLD ACQUAINTANCE [1943] by John Van Druten, Lenore Coffee) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Liz Hamilton), Candice Bergen, David Selby, Hart Bochner, Steven Hill, Meg Ryan, Matt Lattanzi, Daniel Faraldo, Fay Kanin, Christopher Isherwood, Paul Morrissey, Roger Vadim, Nina Foch, Gavin Lambert

CLASS (1983) DIR Lewis John Carlino PROD Martin Ransohoff SCR Jim Kouf, David Greenwalt CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Ellen), Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Cliff Robertson, Stuart Margolin, John Cusack, Rodney Pearson, Joan Cusack, Lolita Davidovich

UNDER THE VOLCANO (1984) DIR John Huston PROD Moritz Borman, Wieland Schulz-Keil SCR Guy Gallo (novel ‘Under the Volcano’ [1947] by Malcolm Lowry) CAST Albert Finney, Jacqueline Bisset (Yvonne Firmin), Anthony Edwards, Ignacio Lopez Tarso, Katy Jurado, James Villiers

FORBIDDEN (1984) DIR Anthony Page PROD Mark Forstater SCR Michael Hastings (novel ‘The Last Jews in Berlin’ [1982] by Leonard Gross) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Nina von Halder), Jürgen Prochnow, Irene Worth, Peter Vaughan, Amanda Cannings, Avis Bunnage, Robert Dietl

HIGH SEASON (1987) DIR Clare Peploe PROD Clare Downs SCR Clare Peploe, Mark Peploe CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Katherine Shaw), Edward Fox, Irene Papas, Sebastian Shaw, Kenneth Branagh, Lesley Manville, Robert Stephens

LA MAISON DE JADE (1988) DIR Nadine Trintignant PROD Alain Sarde SCR Nadine Trintignant, Madeleine Chapsal (novel ‘La maison de Jade’ [1986] by Madeleine Chapsal) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Jane Lambert), Vincent Perez, Véronique Silver, Yves Lambrecht, Fred Personne, Pascale Decolland

SCENES FROM THE CLASS STRUGGLE IN BEVERLY HILLS (1989) DIR Paul Bartel PROD James C. Katz SCR Bruce Wagner (story by Paul Bartel, Bruce Wagner) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Clare Lipkin), Ray Sharkey, Mary Woronov, Robert Beltran, Ed Begley, Jr., Wallace Shawn, Arnetia Walker, Paul Bartel, Paul Mazursky, Bruce Wagner

WILD ORCHID (1989) DIR Zalman King PROD Tony Anthony, Lester Berman, Mark Damon SCR Zalman King, Patricia Louisianna Knop CAST Mickey Rourke, Jacqueline Bisset (Claudia Dennis), Carré Otis, Assumpta Serna, Bruce Greenwood, Oleg Vidov, Milton Gonçalves

ROSSINI! ROSSINI! (1991) DIR Mario Monicelli PROD Alfonso Cucci, Marcia Sellari SCR Mario Monicelli, Nicola Badalucco, Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Bruno Cagli (story by Mario Monicelli, Nicola Badalucco, Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Bruno Cagli) CAST Philippe Noiret, Jacqueline Bisset (Isabella Colbran), Sergio Castellitto, Sabine Azéma, Assumpta Serna, Giorgio Baber, Giovanni Baghino

LES MARMOTTES (1993) DIR – PROD Élie Chouraqui SCR Élie Chouraqui, Danièle Thompson CAST Jean-Hughes Anglade, Jacqueline Bisset (Frédérique), Christine Boisson, André Dussollier, Gérard Lanvin, Marie Trintignant, Anouk Aimée, Daniel Gélin

HOFFMAN’S HUNGER (1993) DIR Leon De Winter SCR Leon De Winter (also novel ‘Hoffmans Honger’ [1990, a.k.a. ‘Hoffman’s Hunger’]) CAST Elliott Gould, Jacqueline Bisset (Marian Hoffman), Thom Hoffman, Huub Stapel, Johan Leysen, Gerard Thoolen, Marie Trintignant, Jules Croiset, Marc Van Eeghem

LA CÉRÉMONIE (1995) DIR Claude Chabrol PROD Marin Karmitz SCR Claude Chabrol, Caroline Eliacheff (novel ‘A Judgment in Stone’ [1977] by Ruth Rendell) CAST Isabelle Huppert, Sandrine Bonnaire, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Jacqueline Bisset (Cathérine Lelièvre), Virginie Ledoyen, Valentin Merlet, Julien Rochefort

DANGEROUS BEAUTY (1998) DIR Marshall Herskovitz PROD Marshall Herskovitz, Sarah Caplan, Arnon Milchan, Edward Zwick SCR Jeannine Dominy (book ‘The Honest Courtesan’ [1992] by Margaret Rosenthal) CAST Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell, Jacqueline Bisset (Paola Franco), Oliver Platt, Naomi Watts, Moira Kelly, Fred Ward, Jeroen Krabbé

LET THE DEVIL WEAR BLACK (1999) DIR Stacy Title PROD Matt Salinger SCR Stacy Title, Jonathan Penner CAST Jonathan Penner, Jacqueline Bisset (Helen Lyne), Mary-Louise Parker, Jamey Sheridan, Philip Baker Hall, Jonathan Banks, Maury Chaykin, Chris Sarandon

LES GENS QUI S’AIMENT (1999) DIR – SCR Jean-Charles Tachella PROD Gérard Jourd’hui CAST Richard Berry, Jacqueline Bisset (Angie), Julie Gayet, Bruno Putzulu, Marie Collins, Sandrine Bonjean, Véronique Boulanger, Mirabelle Kirkland

NEW YEAR’S DAY (2000) DIR Suri Krishnamma PROD Simon Channing Williams, Stephen Cleary SCR Ralph Brown CAST Andrew Lee Potts, Bobby Barry, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jacqueline Bisset (Geraldine), Anastasia Hille, Michael Kitchen, Sue Johnston

THE SLEEPY TIME GAL (2001) DIR – SCR Christopher Munch PROD Christopher Munch, Ruth Charny CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Frances), Martha Plimpton, Nick Stahl, Amy Madigan, Frankie R. Faison, Carmen Zapata, Peggy Gormley, Seymour Cassel, Justin Theroux

LATTER DAYS (2003) DIR – SCR C. Jay Cox PROD Kirkland Tibbels CAST Steve Sandvoss, Wes Ramsey, Rebekah Johnson, Jacqueline Bisset (Lila Montagne), Amber Benson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rob McElhenney

SWING (2003) DIR Martin Guigui PROD Ken Patton SCR Mary Keil CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Christine / Mrs. DeLuca), Inis Casey, Jonathan Winters, Tom Skerritt, Nell Carter, Mindy Cohn, Barry Bostwick

FASCINATION (2004) DIR – PROD Klaus Menzel SCR Klaus Menzel, Daryl Haney, John Jacobs CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Maureen Doherty), Adam Garcia, Alice Evans, James Naughton, Stuart Wilson, Craig Cady, Vincent Castellanos

THE FINE ART OF LOVE: MINE HA-HA (2005) DIR John Irving PROD Ida Di Benedetto SCR Alberto Lattuada, Ottavio Jemma, James Carrington, Sadie Jones (novella ‘Mine-Haha’ [1903, a.k.a. ‘Mine-Haha, or on the Bodily Education of Young Girls’] by Frank Wedekind) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Headmistress), Hannah Taylor Gordon, Natalia Tenan, Anna Maguire, Anya Lahiri, Emily Pimm

DOMINO (2005) DIR Tony Scott PROD Tony Scott, Samuel Hadida SCR Richard Kelly (story by Richard Kelly, Steve Barancik) CAST Keira Knightley, Mickey Rourke, Édgar Ramírez, Rizwan Abbasi, Delroy Lindo, Mo’Nique, Lucy Liu, Christopher Walken, Mena Suvari, Macy Gray, Jacqueline Bisset (Sophie Wynn), Dabney Coleman

DEATH IN LOVE (2008) DIR – SCR Boaz Yakin PROD Boaz Yakin, Joseph Zolfo CAST Josh Lucas, Jacqueline Bisset (The Mother), Lukas Haas, Adam Brody, Morena Baccarin, Betty Gilpin, Emma Bell, Vanessa Kai

TWO JACKS (2012) DIR Bernard Rose PROD Julia Verdin SCR Bernard Rose (short story ‘Two Hussars’ by Leo Tolstoy) CAST Danny Huston, Jack Huston, Sienna Miller, Billy Zane, Izabella Miko, Jacqueline Bisset (Diana, 2010), Lydia Hearst, Jamie Harris, Rosie Fellner

WELCOME TO NEW YORK (2014) DIR Abel Ferrara PROD Adam Folk SCR Abel Ferrara, Christ Zois CAST Gérard Depardieu, Jacqueline Bisset (Simone), Drena De Niro, Anh Duong, Amy Ferguson, Paul Calderon, Maria Di Angelis, Ronald Guttman


ANNA KARENINA (1985, mini-series) DIR – PROD Simon Langton TELEPLAY James Goldman (novel ‘Anna Karenina’ [1878] by Leo Tolstoy) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Anna Karenina), Christopher Reeve, Paul Scofield, Ian Ogilvy, Anna Massey, Joanna David, Judi Bowker, Valerie Lush

CHOICES (1986) DIR David Lowell Rich PROD Robert Halmi, Sr. TELEPLAY Judith Parker CAST George C. Scott, Jacqueline Bisset (Marisa Granger), Melissa Gilbert, Laurie Kennedy, Steven Flynn, Nancy Allison, Daliah Bache

NAPOLEON AND JOSEPHINE: A LOVE STORY (1987, mini-series) DIR Richard T. Heffron PROD Alfred R. Kelman TELEPLAY James Lee CAST Armand Assante, Jacqueline Bisset (Josephine de Beauharnais), Stephanie Beacham, Anthony Higgins, Leigh Taylor-Young, Anthony Perkins

UN AMOUR DE BANQUIER (1991) DIR Ian Toynton PROD Monique Annaud TELEPLAY Timothy Prager CAST Martin Sheen, Jacqueline Bisset (Nicole Chantrelle), Victoria Shalet, Jean-Pierre Cassel, James Faulkner, Isabelle Guiard

CRIMEBROKER (1993) DIR Ian Barry PROD Chris Brown, Hiroyuki Ikeda, Kazuo Nakamura, John Sexton, Andrew Warren TELEPLAY Tony Morphett (story by Sean Goodwyn, Steve Mathews) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Holly McPhee), Masaya Katô, Peter Boswell, John Bach, Victoria Campbell, Ralph Cotterill

LEAVE OF ABSENCE (1994) DIR Tom McLoughlin TELEPLAY Betty Goldberg (story by Polly Bergen) CAST Brian Dennehy, Jacqueline Bisset (Nell), Blythe Danner, Polly Bergen, Noelle Parker, Tim Lounibos, Jessica Walter

SEPTEMBER (1996) DIR Colin Bucksey PROD Claus Beling, Nigel Watts, Stephan Wiesehöfer TELEPLAY Lee Langley (novel ‘September’ [1990] by Rosamunde Pilcher) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Pandora), Michael York, Edward Fox, Mariel Hemingway, Jenny Agutter, Virginia McKenna, Paul Guilfoyle

ONCE YOU MEET A STRANGER (1996) DIR Tommy Lee Wallace PROD Philip L. Parslow TELEPLAY Tommy Lee Wallace, Raymond Chandler, Czenzi Ormonde (novel ‘Strangers on a Train’ [1950] by Patricia Higsmith; screenplay STRANGERS ON A TRAIN [1951] by Raymond Chandler, Czenzi Ormonde; adaptation by Whitfield Cook) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Sheila Gaines), Nick Mancuso, Theresa Russell, Anne Gee Byrd, Andi Chapman, Richard Doyle

END OF SUMMER (1997) DIR Linda Yellen EXEC PROD Linda Yellen, Karen Goodwin, Ted Swanson TELEPLAY Linda Yellen, Jonathan Platnick CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Christine Van Buren), Peter Weller, Julian Sands, Amy Locane, Elizabeth Shepherd, Michael Hogan

WITCH HUNT (1999) DIR Scott Hartford Davis PROD Alan Hardy, Jackie O’Sullivan TELEPLAY Shane Brennan CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Barbara Thomas), Cameron Daddo, Jerome Ehlers, Suzi Dougherty, William Gluth, Alexandra Schepisi

JOAN OF ARC (1999, mini-series) DIR Christian Duduay PROD Peter Bray TELEPLAY Ronald Parker, Michael Alexander Miller CAST Leelee Sobieski, Chad Willet, Jacqueline Bisset (Isabelle D’Arc), Powers Boothe, Olympia Dukakis, Neil Patrick Harris, Robert Loggia, Maximillian Schell, Shirley MacLaine, Peter O’Toole

JESUS (1999, mini-series) DIR Roger Young PROD Paolo Piria, Russell Kagan TELEPLAY Suzette Couture CAST Jeremy Sisto, Debra Messing, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Jacqueline Bisset (Mary), Gary Oldman, David O’Hara

BRITANNIC (2000) DIR Brian Trenchard-Smith PROD Paul Colichman, Mark R. Harris, Judith Hunt TELEPLAY Brian Trenchard-Smith, Kim Smith, Brett Thompson, Dennis Pratt CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Lady Lewis), Edward Atterton, Amanda Ryan, John Rhys-Davies, Bruce Payne, Ben Daniels

SEX & MRS. X (2000) DIR Arthur Allan Seidelman PROD Amanda Vaill, Larry Grimaldi TELEPLAY Elisa Bell (article by Amanda Vaill) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Madame Simone), Linda Hamilton, Paolo Seganti, Peter MacNeill, Stewart Bick, Tracy Bregman

IN THE BEGINNING (2000) DIR Kevin Connor PROD Paul Lowin TELEPLAY John Goldsmith CAST Martin Landau, Jacqueline Bisset (Sarah), Billy Campbell, Alan Bates, Eddie Cibrian, Frederick Weller, Steven Beroff, Geraldine Chaplin, Christopher Lee, Diana Rigg

DANCING AT THE HARVEST MOON (2002) DIR Bobby Roth PROD Salli Newman TELEPLAY Peter Nelson (novel ‘Dancing at the Harvest Moon’ [1997] by K.C. McKinnon [Cathie Pelletier]) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Maggie Webber), Eric Mabius, Susan Anspach, Nan Martin, Eugene Roche, Nick Mancuso, Valerie Harper

AMERICA’S PRINCE: THE JOHN F. KENNEDY JR. STORY (2003) DIR Eric Laneuville PROD Greg Copeland TELEPLAY Jon Maas (book ‘The Day John Died’ [2000] by Christopher Anderson) CAST Kristoffer Polaha, Jacqueline Bisset (Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis), Portia de Rossi, Tara Chocol, Rob Smith

THE SURVIVORS CLUB (2004) DIR Christopher Leitch PROD Christopher Leitch, Lynne Bespflug TELEPLAY Nancey Silvers (book ‘The Survivors Club’ [2002] by Lisa Gardner) CAST Roma Downey, Jacqueline Bisset (Carol Rosen), Brian Markinson, Jerry Wasserman, Lorena Gale, Lauren Lee Smith, James Remar

SUMMER SOLSTICE (2005) DIR Giles Foster PROD David Cunliffe TELEPLAY John Goldsmith (story by Rosamunde Pilcher) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Alexia), Lara-Joy Körner, Jan Niklas, Jason Durr, Sinéad Cusack, Honor Blackman, Franco Nero, Anna Maguire

CAROLINA MOON (2007) DIR Stephen Tolkin PROD Salli Newman TELEPLAY Stephen Tolkin (novel ‘Carolina Moon’ [2000] by Nora Roberts) CAST Claire Forlaini, Oliver Hudson, Josie Davis, Jonathan Scarfe, Chad Willett, Jacqueline Bisset (Margaret Lavelle), Shaun Johnston

AN OLD-FASHIONED THANKSGIVING (2008) DIR Graeme Campbell PROD Steve Solomons TELEPLAY Shelley Evans (short story ‘An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving’ [1881] by Louisa May Alcott) CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Isabella), Helene Joy, Tatiana Maslany, Kristopher Turner, Ted Atherton, Paula Boudreau

THE EASTMANS (2009) DIR Jason Ensler TELEPLAY Margaret Nagle CAST Donald Sutherland, Jacqueline Bisset (Emma Eastman), Saffron Burrows, James D’Arcy, David Wilson Barnes, Gaby Hoffman

AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS (2010) DIR Don McBrearty PROD Sue de Beauvoir TELEPLAY Donald Martin CAST Jacqueline Bisset (Isabella), Catherine Steadman, Leon Ockenden, Marion O’Dwyer, Robert O’Mahoney, Kristopher Turner