Juan Diego Flórez (born Juan Diego Flórez Salom, January 13, 1973) is a Peruvian operatic tenor, particularly known for his roles in bel canto operas. On June 4, 2007, he received his country's highest decoration, the Knight Grand Cross in the Order of the Sun of Peru.
Juan Diego Flórez Salom (Lima, 13 de enero de 1973) es un tenor ligero peruano, mayormente reconocido por sus interpretaciones en óperas belcantistas. Es considerado como uno de los mejores tenores del panorama actual.
Juan Diego Flórez was born in Lima, Peru in 1973, the son of María Teresa Salom and Rubén Flórez, a noted guitarist and singer of Peruvian popular and criolla music. In an interview in the Peruvian newspaper Ojo, Flórez recounted his early days when his mother managed a pub with live music and he worked as a replacement singer whenever the main attraction called in sick. "It was a tremendous experience for me, since most of those who were regulars at the pub were of a certain age, so I had to be ready to sing anything from huaynos to Elvis Presley music and, in my mind, that served me a great deal because, in the final analysis, any music that is well structured—whether it is jazz, opera, or pop—is good music".
Initially intending to pursue a career in popular music, he entered the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Lima at the age of 17. His classical voice emerged in the course of his studies there. During this time, he became a member of the Coro Nacional of Peru and sang as a soloist in Mozart's Coronation Mass and Rossini's Petite messe solennelle.
He received a scholarship to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia where he studied from 1993 to 1996 and began singing in student opera productions in the repertory that is still his specialty today, Gioachino Rossini and the bel canto operas of Vicenzo Bellini and Gaetano Donizetti. During this period, he also studied with Marilyn Horne at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. In 1994 the Peruvian tenor, Ernesto Palacio invited him to Italy to work on a recording of Vicente Martín y Soler's opera Il Tutore Burlato. Palacio subsequently became Flórez's teacher, mentor and manager and has had a profound influence on his career.
Juan Diego Flórez's first breakthrough and professional debut came in 1996 at the Rossini Festival in the Italian city of Pesaro, Rossini's birthplace. At the age of 23, he stepped in to take the leading tenor role in Matilde di Shabran when Bruce Ford became ill. He made his debut at La Scala in the same year as the Chevalier danois (Danish Knight) in Gluck's Armide, and later in the year he sang the role of Georges in Meyerbeer's L'étoile du nord with Wexford Festival Opera. His Covent Garden debut followed in 1997 where he sang the role of Count Potoski in a world premiere concert performance of Donizetti's Elisabetta. Debuts followed at the Vienna State Opera in 1999 as Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 2002, again as Count Almaviva.
On February 20, 2007, the opening night of Donizetti's La fille du régiment at La Scala, Flórez broke the theater's 74-year-old tradition of no encores when he reprised "Ah! mes amis" with its nine high C's following an "overwhelming" ovation from the audience. He repeated this solo encore at New York's Metropolitan Opera House on April 21, 2008, the first singer to do so there since 1994.
Flórez is also active on the concert stages of Europe, North America, and South America. Amongst the many venues in which he has given concerts and recitals are the Wigmore Hall in London, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Palau de la Música in Barcelona, the Teatro Segura in Lima, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In a departure from his usual repertoire, he sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" from the Broadway musical Carousel at the Berlin Live 8 concert in 2005.
He was signed by Decca in 2001 and since then has released six solo recital CDs on the Decca label: Rossini Arias, which won the 2003 Cannes Classical Award; Una furtiva lagrima, which won the 2004 Cannes Classical Award; Great Tenor Arias which won the 2005 Echo Klassik award for the best arias and duets recital; Sentimiento Latino; Arias for Rubini, Bel Canto Spectacular and Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice, recorded live in May 2008.
In addition to his official discography, almost all his professionally performed roles have been preserved in radio broadcasts, and many also by television. He also sang the UEFA Champions League Final Anthem in Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2010.
Moving into more lyric roles, he made his debut in Massenet's Werther in Bologna in December 2016, returning to the role in Zurich in April 2017. The Diapason magazine critic described Flórez performance as a triumph, demonstrating his exemplary discipline in accent and phrasing, excellent shading and with the natural allure of a poet.
Flórez has been recognized by his native country with several awards and distinctions. In May 2004, he received the Order of merit, from the Mayor of Lima; the Orden al Mérito por servicios distinguidos en el grado de Gran Cruz from President Alejandro Toledo; and was named an Honorary Professor of San Martín de Porres University.
On June 4, 2007, he received his country's highest honor, the Knight Grand Cross in the Order of the Sun of Peru, from President Alan García. He has been an Austrian Kammersänger since 2012. Flórez also appeared on the 2-sol stamp, part of a series of five stamps honouring contemporary Peruvian musicians issued on November 29, 2004. It is highly unusual for a living opera singer to have been honoured in his home country this way, particularly one so young. (Flórez was 31 at the time).
From the classical music world he has received the Premio Abbiati 2000 (awarded by Italian critics for the best singer of the year); the Rossini d'oro; the Bellini d'oro; the Premio Aureliano Pertile; the Tamagno Prize; and the L'Opera award (Migliore Tenore) for his 2001 performance in La sonnambula at La Scala.
In 2009, Flórez was nominated for the Best Classical Vocal Performance in the 52nd Grammy Awards for his album, Bel Canto Spectacular (Decca).
Flórez's head and chest registers are perfectly integrated, with no audible break in the passaggio. The ornaments of bel canto, including the trill, are well executed, and stylistic errors such as intrusive aspirates generally avoided. The singer's mastery of coloratura, typified in his Idreno (Semiramide) and Corradino (Matilde di Shabran), has been noted by multiple critics.
Flórez married German-born Australian Julia Trappe in a private civil ceremony on April 23, 2007 in Vienna, Austria. They held a religious ceremony at the Basilica Cathedral in Lima on April 5, 2008, which some of Peru's leading citizens, including President Alan García and author Mario Vargas Llosa, attended. Flórez was present at the birth of his son, Leandro, who was born in April 2011. A daughter, Lucia Stella, was born in the family home in Pesaro, Italy, in January 2014.
Juan Diego Flórez es hijo del cantante y guitarrista de música criolla peruana Rubén Flórez Pinedo, acompañante de la célebre cantautora Chabuca Granda, y María Teresa Salom, hermana de Carlos Salom, integrante de una de las bandas de música experimental más reconocidas del Perú en los años 80, Laghonia, así como de la famosa banda de rock peruano We All Together.
Inicialmente persiguió una carrera de cantante de música popular; cantaba covers The Beatles y Led Zeppelin y, según sus propias declaraciones en una reciente entrevista en el diario Ojo (de Lima), podía interpretar desde huaynos hasta canciones de Elvis Presley, a manera de reemplazo cuando el cantante del pub administrado por su madre se encontraba enfermo.
Estudió en el Colegio Santa Margarita en Monterrico, en la ciudad de Lima. Estando en el cuarto año de educación secundaria conoció al profesor de música Genaro Chumpitazi Guerrero, quien le dio sus primeras clases de impostación vocal y lo hizo cantar como solista del colegio en concursos escolares y en presentaciones de zarzuelas con sus compañeros de promoción, y lo hizo ingresar al Conservatorio Nacional de Música (Perú) a inicios del año 1990. Su voz casi educada para el canto lírico surgió en el curso de sus estudios con el maestro Andrés Santa María. Durante este tiempo, fue miembro del Coro Nacional del Perú y cantó como solista la Misa de la Coronación, de Mozart, y la Petite Messe Solennelle, de Gioachino Rossini.
Ingresó al Instituto Curtis de Filadelfia, EE. UU.,donde estudió entre 1993 y 1996, y comenzó a cantar en producciones de ópera estudiantiles en el repertorio por el cual es conocido hoy, Gioachino Rossini y óperas del bel canto de Vincenzo Bellini y Gaetano Donizetti. En 1994, el tenor también peruano Ernesto Palacio, lo invitó a Italia, a participar en una grabación de la ópera de Vicente Martín y Soler, Il tutore burlato, y se hizo subsecuentemente maestro y mentor de Flórez.
La primera gran sensación y debut profesional de Flórez llegó con el Rossini Festival de Pésaro en 1996. Con 23 años, inicialmente iba a participar en un rol menor en Ricciardo e Zoraide y en el coro de otras, pero dejó las filas del coro para tomar el reemplazo del papel del tenor principal de Corradino en Matilde de Shabran, pues el tenor principal, Bruce Ford, estaba enfermo. Su presentación causó sensación y luego otra vez más en similares circunstancias reemplazando a Giuseppe Sabbatini. Ese mismo año hizo su debut en la Teatro de La Scala de Milán como el cavaliere danese en Armide, de Christoph Willibald Gluck. Luego siguió su debut en el Royal Opera House, Covent Garden en 1997, donde cantó el rol del conde Potoski en una versión de concierto (y la primera moderna) de Elisabetta, de Donizetti. Siguieron su debut en la Ópera Estatal de Viena en 2000 como Rinuccio en Gianni Schicchi, y en la Ópera del Metropolitan en 2002 como el conde de Almaviva en El Barbero de Sevilla.
Ha recibido el Premio Abbiati 2000 (dado por los críticos italianos al mejor cantante del año), el Rossini d'oro, el Bellini d'oro, el Premio Aureliano Pertile, el Premio Tamagno y el Premio L'Opera award (Migliore Tenore) por su actuación del 2001 de La Sonnambula en La Scala.
Firmó por Decca en 2001 y desde entonces ha lanzado cuatro CD de recitales solistas en el sello Decca: Rossini arias, que ganó el Cannes Classical Award de 2003; Una Furtiva Lágrima, ganó el Cannes Classical Award de 2004; Great Tenor Arias (2005) y Sentimiento Latino (2006), un recital con temas clásicos de la música popular latinoamericana. Los CD han encontrado críticas positivas que ensalzan su técnica. El más común agasajo acerca de su canto es su caracterización individual total de cada rol que toma. Admira a Alfredo Kraus.
En octubre de 2003 Luciano Pavarotti declaró que el peruano Juan Diego Flórez podría ser su sucesor como cantante de ópera. Si bien Pavarotti le mencionó como su sucesor, tanto la crítica como el mismo Flórez han declarado que, mientras Pavarotti fue un tenor lírico-ligero, Flórez es ligero, por lo que sus repertorios difieren.
En julio de 2005 participó en los megaconciertos de Live 8 en Berlín, siendo el único peruano en participar en dicho megaevento.
El 20 de febrero de 2007 rompió la tradición impuesta por Toscanini en la Scala de Milán y ofreció un bis en el estreno de La hija del regimiento, de Gaetano Donizetti, cuando en el papel de Tonio le tocó atacar el aria “Ah mes amis”, con sus célebres nueve “do” sobreagudos (do de pecho). En cuanto Flórez terminó de cantarla, los espectadores se pusieron de pie y aplaudieron durante más de cinco minutos. El último bis de un cantante en la Scala ocurrió en 1933, cuando el bajo ruso Fiódor Chaliapin tuvo que repetir "La calumnia" de El barbero de Sevilla, de Rossini.
Flórez tiene una voz de tenor lírico ligero que, aunque no de gran amplitud, es, no obstante, audible incluso en los escenarios de mayor dimensión, debido al predominio de las altas frecuencias en su estructura armónica. Su rango vocal es de dos octavas, incluyendo el Mi bemol sobreagudo, registrado en 2009 tanto en actuación en directo (Zelmira) como en estudio, en el aria All udir de padre afflito, de Bellini, en el CD titulado Arias for Rubini. La parte más alta de su registro es particularmente poderosa y brillante, casi sin sensación de esfuerzo, mientras que las notas más bajas son comparativamente más pobres.
Los registros de cabeza y pecho se integran perfectamente sin interrupción perceptible en el passaggio. Su control de la respiración es impecable, lo que le permite prolongar las frases manteniéndolas con aparente facilidad. Ejecuta bien las florituras del bel canto, incluyendo el trino, mientras que generalmente evita los errores estilísticos como las aspiraciones intrusivas.
Tal vez su rasgo técnico más distintivo es el dominio de la coloratura, que resulta especialmente patente en sus Idreno (Semiramide) y Corradino (Matilde di Shabran).
El 8 de abril de 2008, el tenor español Plácido Domingo declaró su admiración por Juan Diego Flórez, del que dijo en Madrid: «Es el más grande tenor ligero de todos los tiempos, el máximo de su categoría. No me acuerdo de otro que haya cantado así ese repertorio tan difícil que él interpreta»; «cuando Juan Diego te canta con res bemoles y naturales, son verdaderos, no de falsete, verdaderos agudos», destacó el tenor español.
Jean Dorothy Seberg (November 13, 1938 – August 30, 1979) was an American actress who lived half of her life in France. Her performance in Jean-Luc Godard's 1960 film Breathless immortalized her as an icon of French New Wave cinema.
Seberg appeared in 34 films in Hollywood and in Europe, including Saint Joan, Bonjour Tristesse, Lilith, The Mouse That Roared, Breathless, Moment to Moment, A Fine Madness, Paint Your Wagon, Airport, Macho Callahan, and Gang War in Naples.
Seberg was among the best-known targets of the FBI COINTELPRO project. Her targeting was in retaliation for her support of the Black Panther Party, a smear directly ordered by J. Edgar Hoover.
Seberg died at the age of 40 in Paris, with police ruling her death a probable suicide. Romain Gary, Seberg's second husband, called a press conference shortly after her death at which he blamed the FBI's campaign against Seberg for her death. Gary noted that the FBI had planted false rumors with American media outlets claiming that her 1970 pregnancy was a Black Panther's child, and claimed that the trauma had resulted in the child's miscarriage. Gary stated that Seberg had attempted suicide on numerous anniversaries of the child's death, August 25.
Jean Dorothy Seberg was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, the daughter of Dorothy Arline, a substitute teacher, and Edward Waldemar Seberg, a pharmacist. Her family was Lutheran and of Swedish, English, and German ancestry.
Her paternal grandfather, Edward Carlson, arrived in the U.S. in 1882 and observed, "there are too many Carlsons in the New World." He changed the family surname to Seberg in memory of the water and mountains of Sweden. Seberg had a sister, Mary-Ann, and two brothers, Kurt and David, the younger of whom was killed in a car accident at the age of 18 in 1968.
In Marshalltown, Seberg babysat Mary Supinger, some eight years her junior, who became stage and film actress Mary Beth Hurt. After high school, Seberg enrolled at the University of Iowa to study dramatic arts, but took up filmmaking instead.
Jean Seberg made her film debut in the title role of Joan of Arc in Saint Joan (1957), based on the George Bernard Shaw play, having been chosen from among 18,000 hopefuls by director Otto Preminger in a $150,000 talent search. Her name was entered by a neighbor.
When she was cast on October 21, 1956, Seberg's only acting experience had been a single season of summer stock performances. The film generated a great deal of publicity, but Seberg commented that she was "embarrassed by all the attention." Despite great hype, called in the press a "Pygmalion experiment", both the film and Seberg received poor reviews. On the failure, she later told the press:
I am the greatest example of a very real fact, that all the publicity in the world will not make you a movie star if you are not also an actress.
She also recounted:
I have two memories of Saint Joan. The first was being burned at the stake in the picture. The second was being burned at the stake by the critics. The latter hurt more. I was scared like a rabbit and it showed on the screen. It was not a good experience at all. I started where most actresses end up.
Preminger promised her a second chance, and he cast Seberg in his next film, Bonjour Tristesse (1958), which was filmed in France. Preminger told the press: "It's quite true that, if I had chosen Audrey Hepburn instead of Jean Seberg, it would have been less of a risk, but I prefer to take the risk. [..] I have faith in her. Sure, she still has things to learn about acting, but so did Kim Novak when she started." Seberg again received negative reviews and the film nearly ended her career.
Seberg renegotiated her contract with Preminger and signed a long-term contract with Columbia Pictures. Preminger had an option to use her on another film, but they never again worked together. Her first Columbia film was the successful comedy The Mouse That Roared (1959), starring Peter Sellers.
During the filming of Bonjour Tristesse, Jean Seberg met François Moreuil, the man who was to become her first husband. 15 months later, On September 5, 1958, at the age of 19, Seberg married François Moreuil, a French lawyer (aged 23) in her native Marshalltown.
Afterwards, Seberg based herself in France, finally achieving success as the free-love heroine of French New Wave films.
She appeared as the female lead in Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (French title: À bout de souffle, 1960) as Patricia, co-starring with Jean-Paul Belmondo. The film became an international success and critics praised Seberg's performance; film critic and director François Truffaut even hailed her as "the best actress in Europe."
Despite her achievements, Seberg did not identify with her characters or the film plots, saying that she was "making films in France about people [I'm] not really interested in."
Jean Seberg's husband Moreuil had ambitions to work in film. After appearing in Time Out for Love (Les grandes personnes, 1961), Seberg took the lead role in Moreuil's directorial debut, Love Play (La Recréation, also 1961). By that time, Seberg had become estranged from Moreuil, and she recollected that production was "pure hell" and that he "would scream at [her]."
They divorced in 1960.
Seberg followed the film Love Play with Five Day Lover (L'amant de cinq jours, 1962), Congo vivo (1962) and In the French Style (1962), a French-American film featuring Stanley Baker released through Columbia.
I'm enjoying it to the fullest extent. I've been tremendously lucky to have gone through this experience at an age where I can still learn. That doesn't mean that I will stay here. I'm in Paris because my work has been here. I'm not an expatriate. I will go where the work is. The French life has its drawbacks. One of them is the formality. The system seems to be based on saving the maximum of yourself for those nearest you. Perhaps that is better than the other extreme in Hollywood, where people give so much of themselves in public life that they have nothing left over for their families. Still, it is hard for an American to get used to. Often I will get excited over a luncheon table only to have the hostess say discreetly that coffee will be served in the other room. ... I miss that casualness and friendliness of Americans, the kind that makes people smile. I also miss blue jeans, milk shakes, thick steaks and supermarkets.
In 1961 Seberg met French aviator, French resistance member, novelist and diplomat Romain Gary, who was 24 years her senior and married to author Lesley Blanch. Seberg gave birth to their son, Alexandre Diego Gary, in Barcelona on July 17, 1962. The child's birth and first year of life were hidden, even from close friends and relatives. Gary's divorce from Blanch took place on September 5, 1962, and he married Seberg secretly on October 6, 1962 in Corsica.
During her marriage to Gary, Seberg lived in Paris, Greece, Southern France and Majorca.
After starring with Warren Beatty in the American film Lilith (1964) for Columbia, which prompted the critics to acknowledge Seberg as a serious actress, she returned to France to make Diamonds Are Brittle (Un milliard dans un billard, 1965).
In the late 1960s, Seberg was increasingly based in Hollywood. Moment to Moment (1965) was mostly filmed in Los Angeles; only a small part of the film was shot on the French Cote d'Azur. In New York, she acted in A Fine Madness (1966) with Sean Connery.
In 1966 and 1967, Seberg played the leading roles in two French films directed by Claude Chabrol and co-starring Maurice Ronet. In May and June of 1967, she played the lead role in the French-Italian Eurospy film The Road to Corinth, shot in Greece.
She filed for divorce from Romain Gary in September 1968, and the divorce was finalized on July 1, 1970.
In 1969, Seberg appeared in her only musical film, Paint Your Wagon (also 1969), based on Lerner and Loewe's stage musical and co-starring Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. Her singing voice was dubbed by Anita Gordon. Seberg also starred in the disaster film Airport (1970).
While filming Macho Callahan in Durango, Mexico in the winter of 1969–70, Seberg became romantically involved with a student revolutionary named Carlos Ornelas Navarra. She gave birth to Ornelas's daughter, Nina Hart Gary, on August 23, 1970. The baby died two days later on August 25, 1970 as a result of complications sustained when Seberg had overdosed on sleeping pills during her pregnancy. Ex-husband Gary assumed responsibility for the pregnancy, but Seberg acknowledged that Ornelas was the father. Nina is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Marshalltown.
On March 12, 1972, Seberg married director Dennis Berry. The couple separated in May 1976, but never divorced. Her next lover was aspiring French filmmaker Jean-Claude Messager, who later spoke to CBS's Mike Wallace for a 1981 profile of the actress.
Seberg was François Truffaut's first choice for the central role of Julie in Day for Night (La Nuit américaine, 1973) but, after several fruitless attempts to contact her, he gave up and cast British actress Jacqueline Bisset instead.
Seberg's last American film appearance was in the TV movie Mousey (1974). She remained active during the 1970s in European films, appearing in Bianchi cavalli d'Agosto (White Horses of Summer) (1975), Le Grand Délire (The Big Delirium, 1975, with husband Dennis Berry) and Die Wildente (1976, based on Ibsen's The Wild Duck).
In 1979, while still legally married to her estranged husband Berry, Seberg went through "a form of marriage" to Algerian Ahmed Hasni. Hasni persuaded her to sell her second apartment on the Rue du Bac, and he kept the proceeds (reportedly 11 million francs in cash), announcing that he would use the money to open a Barcelona restaurant. The couple departed for Spain, but she was soon back in Paris alone, and went into hiding from Hasni, who she claimed had grievously abused her.
Besides her husbands and lovers, Seberg reportedly had affairs with co-stars Warren Beatty (Lilith), Clint Eastwood (Paint Your Wagon) and Fabio Testi (Gang War in Naples).Writer Carlos Fuentes also claims to have had an affair with her.
On August 30, 1979, Seberg disappeared. Hasni told police that the couple had gone to a movie and when he awoke the next morning, Seberg was gone. After Seberg went missing, Hasni told police that he had known that she was suicidal for some time. He claimed that she had attempted suicide in July 1979 by jumping in front of a Paris subway train.
On September 8, nine days after her disappearance, Seberg's decomposing body was found wrapped in a blanket in the back seat of her Renault, parked close to her Paris apartment in the 16th arrondissement. Police found a bottle of barbiturates, an empty mineral water bottle and a note written in French by Seberg addressed to her son Alexandre Diego Gary. It read in part, "Forgive me. I can no longer live with my nerves." In 1979, her death was ruled a probable suicide by Paris police, but the following year additional charges were filed against persons unknown for "non-assistance of a person in danger."
Romain Gary, Seberg's second husband, called a press conference shortly after her death at which he blamed the FBI's campaign against Seberg for her deteriorating mental health.
Seberg is interred at the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.
At the time of Jean Seberg's death, she was working on the French film Operation Leopard (La Légion saute sur Kolwezi, 1980) which was based upon the book by Pierre Sergent. She had filmed scenes in French Guiana and returned to Paris for additional work in September. After her death, the scenes were reshot with actress Mimsy Farmer.
Six days after the discovery of Seberg's body, the FBI released documents under the Freedom of Information Act admitting its defamation of Seberg, while making statements attempting to distance the agency from the practices of the Hoover era. The FBI's campaign against Seberg was further explored by Time magazine in a front-page article titled "The FBI vs. Jean Seberg."
Media attention surrounding the FBI's abuse of Seberg led to an examination of the case by the Church Committee of the U.S. Senate.
In June 1980, Paris police filed charges against "persons unknown" in connection with Seberg's death. Police stated that Seberg had such a high amount of alcohol in her system at the time of her death that it would have rendered her comatose and unable to enter her car without assistance, and no alcohol was found in the car. Police theorized that someone was present at the time of Seberg's death and failed to seek medical care.
In December 1980, Seberg's former husband Romain Gary committed suicide. His suicide note, addressed to his publisher, indicated that he had not killed himself over the loss of Seberg, but because he could no longer produce literary works.
As of 2009, Jean Seberg and Romain Gary's son Alexandre Diego Gary resides in Spain, where he runs a bookstore and oversees his father's literary and real-estate holdings.
Winifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset LdH (born 13 September 1944) is an English actress, and she speaks English, French, and Italian. She began her film career in 1965 and first came to prominence in 1968 with roles in The Detective, Bullitt, and The Sweet Ride, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination as Most Promising Newcomer. In the 1970s, she starred in Day for Night (1973), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978), which earned her a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.
In 2010, she received France's highest honour, the Legion of Honour.
In 2013, she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film for her performance in BBC miniseries Dancing on the Edge (2013).
Jacqueline Bisset was born Winifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset in the London suburb of Weybridge, Surrey, England, the daughter of George Maxwell Fraser Bisset (1911–1982), a general practitioner, and Arlette Alexander (1914–1999), a lawyer-turned-housewife. Her mother was of French and English descent and her father was of Scottish descent; Bisset's mother cycled from Paris and boarded a British troop transport to escape the Germans during World War II.
Bisset grew up in Tilehurst, near Reading, Berkshire, in a 17th-century country cottage, where she now lives part of the year. She has a brother, Max (b. 1942). Her mother taught her to speak French fluently, and she was educated at the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in London. She took ballet lessons as a child and began taking acting lessons while working as a fashion model to pay for them. When Bisset was a teenager, her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Bisset's parents divorced in 1968, after 28 years of marriage.
Bisset first appeared uncredited as a prospective model in The Knack ...and How to Get It (1965), directed by Richard Lester. She made her official debut the following year in Roman Polanski's Cul-de-sac (1966). In 1967, Bisset had her first noticeable part in the Albert Finney/Audrey Hepburn vehicle Two for the Road, as a woman in whom Finney's character is romantically interested. It was made by 20th Century Fox, which put her under contract. She then had a more sizeable role in the James Bond satire Casino Royale, as Miss Goodthighs.
Fox cast Bisset in her first lead part in The Cape Town Affair, opposite a then-unknown James Brolin, filmed in South Africa on a low budget. She gained mainstream recognition in 1968, when she replaced Mia Farrow in The Detective opposite Frank Sinatra. The same year, she co-starred with Michael Sarrazin in Fox's The Sweet Ride, which brought her a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. In 1969, Bisset was top billed in The First Time and Secret World, appearing as a blonde in the latter.
In 1970, Bisset was one of the many stars in the disaster film Airport; her role was that of a pregnant stewardess carrying Dean Martin's love child. It was a huge hit. In the film The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), she played the daughter of Paul Newman's title character. She played the female lead in The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973) with Ryan O'Neal, stepping in for a pregnant Charlotte Rampling.
Bisset went to France to appear in François Truffaut's Day for Night (1973), earning the respect of European critics and moviegoers as a serious actress. She stayed in France to make Le Magnifique (1973) with Jean-Paul Belmondo, a hit in France but little seen in English-speaking countries. She was one of many stars in Murder on the Orient Express (1974), an enormous success.
Bisset went to Germany for End of the Game (1975), co-starring Jon Voight. In Italy, she played opposite Marcello Mastroianni in Luigi Comencini's The Sunday Woman (1975).
In 1977, Bisset gained wide publicity in America with The Deep. A marketing strategy based around Bisset appearing in some scenes underwater wearing only a white T-shirt for a top helped make the film a box-office success. At the time, Newsweek declared her "the most beautiful film actress of all time." Shortly thereafter, a UK production, Secrets, that Bisset had made in 1971 was re-released in the United States. That movie featured the only extensive nude scenes of Bisset's career and the producers cashed in on her fame.
By 1978, Bisset was a household name. She earned a Golden Globe nomination that year as Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy for her performance opposite George Segal in Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, and starred with Anthony Quinn in The Greek Tycoon, playing a role based on Jackie Onassis.
In the early 80s, Bisset appeared in some all-star films such as When Time Ran Out (1980), starring alongside Paul Newman and William Holden, and Inchon (1981), with Laurence Olivier., although Both films were big flops. Her fee around this time was $1 million a movie.
In her film Rich and Famous (1981) directed by George Cukor, Bisset also served as co-producer. Bisset received her third Golden Globe nomination for John Huston's Under the Volcano (1984) in the Best Supporting Actress category.
In the 80s Bisset also played for television, such as the title role in Anna Karenina (1985), opposite Christopher Reeve, and she portrayed Joséphine de Beauharnais in the miniseries Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story (1987) with Armand Assante. She also had the lead in some comedies, such as High Season (1987) and Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989), taking over for Faye Dunaway due to scheduling conflicts.
During the early 1990s, Bisset shot projects on multiple continents, co-starring in Mario Monicelli's Rossini! Rossini! (1991), a biopic of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini; with Martin Sheen for a Paris-based TV movie called The Maid (1991); with Elliott Gould in the Dutch miniseries Hoffman's honger (1993); with Jean-Hugues Anglade in the French language film Les marmottes (1993); and with one of Japan's top stars, Masaya Kato in the Australian TV movie Crimebroker (1993). She returned to North American screens with the TV movie Leave of Absence (1994), opposite Brian Dennehy.
In 1995, Bisset was nominated for a César Award for her role in the French film La Cérémonie, directed by Claude Chabrol. She did a couple of period pieces, such as a retired courtesan in 16th-century Venice in Dangerous Beauty (1998) with Catherine McCormack.
In 1999, Bisset appeared in two high-caliber television projects, playing the Virgin Mary in Jesus and Isabelle d'Arc in Joan of Arc, earning a Primetime Emmy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for the latter performance.
Bisset starred in the lead role of Boaz Yakin's Death in Love, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Her performance as a volatile Holocaust survivor earned her the Best Actress award at the Boston Film Festival. Later that year, she starred in An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving for the Hallmark Channel, and was nominated for a Satellite Award as Best Actress.
In 2010, Bisset was awarded the Legion of Honour insignia, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy calling her "a movie icon". Later that year she reprised her role in the sequel to An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving, An Old Fashioned Christmas.
In 2012, Bisset returned to the UK to film Stephen Poliakoff's 1930s jazz drama series Dancing on the Edge. For her work, she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.
In 2020, Bisset joined the cast of Birds of Paradise from Amazon Studios, shot in Budapest. She plays a title character in Loren & Rose (2021).
Bisset has never married, but had long-term romances with French-Canadian actor Michael Sarrazin, Moroccan real estate magnate Victor Drai, Russian dancer/actor Alexander Godunov, Swiss actor Vincent Perez and Turkish martial arts instructor Emin Boztepe.
Bisset is godmother to Angelina Jolie.