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News / Life / Entertainment

Jane Seymour looks back at stellar career

By Neal Justin, Star Tribune
Published: June 8, 2024, 5:52am

When producers tapped Jane Seymour to play a seductress in 2005’s “Wedding Crashers,” they believed they were reviving the career of a bombshell from yesteryear.

“The people who hired me said, ‘Oh, you did that Bond film,’” the 73-year-old actor said recently in a Zoom call from her home in Malibu, Calif. “I told them, ‘Yes, I’ve done some other things since then.’ It literally went way over their heads. How curious that they thought I was a discovery.”

Seymour, who is currently starring in the third season of “Harry Wild “on Acorn TV, had good reason to feel slighted — she’s more than made her mark in a career that’s spanned TV, film and theater. She reflected on some of her most memorable work.

  • “Live and Let Die” (1973): Seymour was a relative unknown in the United States, but had a following in England thanks to the BBC series “The Onedin Line.” “Live and Let Die” was Roger Moore’s first crack at playing James Bond. “They were looking for a virgin and there weren’t any around in the ‘70s. I was about as close as you could get. I specialized in playing virgins all the way through my mid-40s. I was thrilled I got a lead in a film, but I later realized that being a Bond girl meant everyone assumed that I literally had no brain and no acting chops, that I was destined to make more movies where I was walking three paces behind a man with a gun.”
  • “Amadeus” (1980): Agents were skeptical that anyone would hire Seymour to do theater, especially something as challenging as the Broadway debut of Peter Shaffer’s play starring Ian McKellen and Tim Curry. “I had to pay my own way to the auditions for two plays. One was called ‘Frankenstein.’ I got hired on the spot. My agent said, ‘Omigod! You just got the biggest show in the history of Broadway!’ I said, ‘Really? But I want to try out tomorrow for ‘Amadeus.’ After the second read, the director, Peter Hall, came up on stage and said, ‘You’re a dangerous actress. You make choices nobody with training would make. But you do them with such conviction that it’s interesting. I want to work with you.’ That’s the biggest compliment. I decided to take ‘Amadeus’ even if we closed on opening night. And of course, we did not close.”
  • “Somewhere in Time” (1980): The time-travel romance wasn’t an initial success, but sparks flew between Seymour and co-star Christopher Reeve. “We fell in love while we were making it but we kept it secret until very recently. I could write a whole other movie about what our lives were like making it and it would be as romantic and tragic as the film. The reviews were disastrous. Chris felt his career was over. ”
  • “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” (1993-98): CBS has aired two “Quinn” movies since the Western drama was canceled but no one has fully revived the series, despite Seymour’s valiant efforts. “We came up with some really good ideas, pitched them. The answer we got was: “We’re not interested because it’s too dusty.’ Excuse me? That doesn’t make sense.”
  • “Harry Wild” (2022-present): Like Seymour, literary professor Wild isn’t ready to retire, especially when there are so many mysteries to solve. “Women in particular seem to love her. She’s independent, doesn’t need a man, goes down to the pub and possibly drinks too much red wine. She definitely gets into circumstances that no woman in her 70s should be getting herself into.”
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