Friday, July 17, 2015

Let's talk about: Jane Seymour

 Jane Seymour was born February 15, 1951 in Hayes, Middlesex, England as Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg. 
Her father John Frankenberg, an obstetrician, was a British citizen of Jewish heritage whose family was from Poland. Her mother Mieke van Trigt, a nurse, was a Dutch Protestant and was once a prisoner of war in Japan during World War 2. 

Her first love was ballet. She trained toward a career as a ballerina and made her professional debut at the age of 13 with the London Festival Ballet.  However a few years later, after a performance with the Kirov Ballet, Jane suffered knee injuries that ended her dancing career.
Jane went to the Arts Educational School in Tring, Hertfordshire, where she decided to pursue acting instead.
She took on 'Jane Seymour' as her stage name, after King Henry the 8th's third wife. 

In 1969, Jane appeared in her first film, Richard Attenborough's Oh!What a Lovely War but was uncredited. Her first major film role was in the war drama The Only Way, where she played Lillian Stein, a Jewish woman seeking shelter from Nazi persecution. 
In 1973, she had her first major television role as Emma Callon in the series The Onedin Line
It was also in 1973 that Jane received international fame as her role as the Bond Girl Solitaire in the James Bond film Live and Let Die
From there she went on to have a great career in film and television. 

Jane has been married four times, all ending in divorce. 
Her first marriage was to Michael Attenborough, the son of Richard Attenborough. They were married from 1971-1973.
Her second marriage was to Geoffrey Planer from 1977-1978. 
Her third marriage was to David Flynn. They were married from 1981 to 1993. They have two children, Katherine Flynn (also an actress) born in 1982 and Sean Flynn, born in 1985. 
In 1993, Jane married actor James Keach. They announced their divorce in 2013. They also have two children together, twins, Johnny Stacy (named after family friend Johnny Cash and James' brother Stacy Keach) and Kristopher Steven (named after her dear friend Christopher Reeve).

Jane is a celebrity ambassador for Childhelp, a national non-profit organisation dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. In 2007, she sponsored a children's Art Pillow contest as part of the Jane Seymour collection, with the proceeds going to Childhelp. 
She is also an official celebrity spokesperson for UNICEF and an Honorary Chairperson for City Hearts.  
In the 1999 Queen's New Years Honours List, Jane was awarded the Officer of the Order of British Empire for her services to drama. 
 Also in 1999, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in California.
 In February of 2005, Jane became a naturalized citizen of the United States. 
Fun fact: She has one brown eye and one green eye. 
Jane is also a producer, an artist, a designer, and a writer. 

 "You have to count on living every single day in a way you believe will make you feel good about your life - so that if it were over tomorrow, you'd be content with yourself."

My favorite roles that Jane Seymour has played: 
#1: Somewhere in Time

I didn't see this movie until I was a teenager. I was out shopping with my mom and this beautiful song came on over the store speakers. My mom got teary eyed and asked the store clerk what the song was. She told us it was the theme song from this movie, so we had to watch it. 
We instantly fell in love with the movie. 
Jane plays Elise McKenna (my niece was even named McKenna after this role), a woman that Christopher Reeve's character Richard travels through time to meet. 
In fact, we loved this movie so much that a few years ago my mom and I took my daughters and traveled to Macinac Island in Michigan (only a few hours from where I lived at the time) to see the Grand Hotel where it was filmed and visit some of the movie's locations. 

(Abigail on the front porch of the very grand Grand Hotel and, below, Abigail and Madeline on the grounds in front of the hotel.)

And that's me next to the rock that marks the spot where they met in the movie. 

This is a fabulous movie, romantic and heartbreaking, and she is excellent in it. 

#2: War and Remembrance

I grew up watching The Winds of War and it's sequel War and Remembrance. 
In War and Remembrance Jane takes over the role of Natalie Jastrow, an American woman that is Jewish and has been living in Italy with her uncle and working as his assistant. 
In this film she is trying to get her uncle, Aaron, out of Europe. The outbreak of World War 2 traps them both and her son Louis. They try to hide but are caught by the Nazi's and sent to the "Paradise Ghetto", Terezin, and finally to Auschwitz. 
She is really great in this role. It was weird to have the character change actresses for the sequel but she handled it really well. 

#3: Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

I started watching Dr. Quinn in my late teens and it was my FAVORITE show for years. 
I loved it so much. And I think Jane was perfect in this. She was sassy and smart and driven and full of heart. 
She played the title character, Dr. Michaela Quinn who defied conventions of the society she lived in by following in her father's footsteps to become a doctor. 
When he died, she left Boston and her wealthy, high-society life to live in the small frontier town of Colorado Springs. The people of the town are not too thrilled to have a woman doctor. 
She has to overcome the prejudices of the town whilst dealing with the unexpected responsibility of raising three orphaned children and a growing relationship with Byron Sully.
Writing about it makes me want to go watch it. 

#4: Austenland, of course

As all of you know, this is one of my favorite movies.
Jane plays Mrs. Wattlesbrook, the prickly and serious owner of Austenland. 
Jane plays this part so straight but with so much humor. She was absolutely perfect for this role. 

*What is your favorite Jane Seymour role?


The Kings said...

"Somewhere In Time" absolutely...and so fun to visit the Grand Hotel. Yes, I remember the day i first heard the music and became teary-eyed. It was such beautiful music that it touched my soul. :-) The Quilt Shop at Gardner Village I think. Anyway, I thought she did a great job in "War and Remembrance". I haven't seen "Dr Quinn"..I need too sometime. And I loved "Austenland" and she did a good job albeit kind of a mean person.

cheryl said...

Yes. It was in the Quilt Shop at Gardner Village. You're right!
I had no idea you haven't seen Dr. Quinn. I think you would really like it.