Jane Seymour, the British Emmy award-winning actress J, born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg, may simply be more familiar to audiences as the Bond girl Solitaire from the James Bond film Live and Let Die (1973) or as Dr. Michaela Quinn from the hit CBS series: Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman (1993-1998).

Jane Seymour: Early Life

Born on February 15, 1951 in Hayes, Hillington, England, Seymour was the eldest of three sisters in the family of medics. She attended the Arts Educational School in Tring, Hertfordshire, where she trained as a dancer. She made her ballet debut at the age of 13 with the London Festival Ballet and eventually went on to perform with the esteemed Russian Kirov Ballet. However, due to a knee injury sustained in an early performance, her dancing career was effectively over in its very beginning.

Following the abrupt end of her career as a dancer, Seymour turned to the theater and adopted the stage name “Jane Seymour,” after the 16th-century English queen and third wife of Henry VIII, at the age of 17.


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Jane Seymour: Acting Debut and International Recognition

With regard to the start of her acting career, Seymour quips that she started out “with flat feet and a speech impediment.” She shares about her difficulty with rolling her Rs, a characteristic of American speech, but she also recognizes the opportunity behind the challenge so that in her career she has gone on to portray many American characters.

Seymour’s first major film credit is in the 1970 war drama The Only Way, in which she portrays a Jewish woman by the name of Lillian Stein, who is seeking shelter from Nazi persecution. A few years later in 1973, she made her debut on TV as well in the 1970 TV series The Onedin Line.

It was during that time that at the age of 20 Seymour was cast in the role of Solitaire alongside Roger Moore in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die. This project earned her international fame and brought her continuous film and TV offers. In 1976, Seymour was nominated for an Emmy award for her performance in the miniseries Captains and the Kings, which further established her as one of leading actresses of the time.

Jane Seymour: Later Acting Career

Having made a name for herself with her earlier work, Seymour worked on numerous projects in the 80s and 90s that brought her great acclaim. She earned one of her first major awards, a Golden Globe for Best Actress in Miniseries or TV Film, for playing the part of Cathy Ames in the 1981 television version of East of Eden, based on John Steinbeck’s eponymous novel. In 1988, Seymour won an Emmy Award in the category Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special for her performance as Maria Callas in the TV biopic about Aristotle Onassis titled Onassis: The Richest Man in the World.

In the 1990s, Seymour received audiences praise for her role as Michael “Mike” Quinn in the television series Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman. The show was originally repudiated by critics, but it attracted some 22 million viewers at the height of its 6-season run. Seymour was nominated twice for an Emmy award for her role in the series and won a second Golden Globe in 1996.

Some of her more recent projects include both TV and film roles. Seymour had recurring roles on Smallville in 2004-2005 and Modern Men in 2006 and has also made appearances on recent hit TV series like How I Met Your Mother, Castle, Forever, and Jane the Virgin.

Seymour is currently starring in the television series Harry Wild, playing the leading role of the same name. Since 2022, she has played a newly retired woman who embarks on a journey to solve a murder mystery. The series has been renewed for a second season

Jane Seymour: Personal Life

Seymour’s first marriage was in 1971 when she was 20. She married the son of famed British director Sir Richard Attenborough, Michael Attenborough. They divorced in 1973 after about two years of marriage. Later in 1977, she was briefly married to businessman Geoffrey Planer, but the couple divorced a year later. In 1981, Seymour married her then-business manager David Flynn, with who she had two children, Katie and Sean. The couple eventually divorced in 1992. It was also in 1992 that Seymour met director James Keach, whom she married the following year. In 1996, she gave birth to twins. In 2013, the couple announced they were splitting, and the divorce was finalized in December 2015. Seymour is currently single.

Aside from acting, Seymour has also explored writing and fashion design. As early as the 1980s, she began writing self-help and inspirational books. She has also co-authored children’s books from the This One ‘N That One series. In 2007, Seymour briefly returned to dancing by participating in the fifth season of Dancing With the Stars. Seymour also designs jewelry, clothing, furniture and home accessories, and in 2008, she teamed up with Kay Jewelers to design and market their “Open Hearts Collection.” She has enjoyed painting since childhood, and some of her prolific artistic work has been displayed in exhibits.

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