It was a pretty big shock when Famke Janssen turned up as Jean Grey in this year’s The Wolverine. We weren’t really surprised to see her reprising her popular character from the X-Men films. We were just surprised that Famke Janssen seems to have the same self-regenerating powers as her pal Logan. Famke sure didn’t look any older than when she first showed up as the seXy mutant in 2000’s X-Men.
That’s why we’re not too traumatized to celebrate Famke turning 48 years old today. She shouldn’t feel too bad, either. The former model has ended up with an amazing acting career. She was plenty popular in the fashion industry, and her 5’11” form took off after Famke flew in to America from working in her native Netherlands. She was even a Victoria’s Secret model way back in the ’80s.
Famke projects some pure intensity, and that translated into star power when she decided to try acting. Famke’s film debut was an impressive turn in a serious indie drama up against Jeff Goldblum. Then she got more fanciful with a 1992 role on Star Trek: The Next Generation–followed by good work in lesser productions. That included the baffling model-turned-vigilante movie Model By Day. Famke then landed a very splashy role as the lethally lovely assassin Xenia Onatopp when Pierce Brosnan revived the James Bond franchise with 1995’s GoldenEye.
After that, Famke was probably supposed to play more sexy killers in direct-to-video movies before marrying a millionaire. Instead, she made the classy horror film Lord of Illusions–featuring her in a sizzling sex scene–and some respected indie productions. Her next genre film was the sleeper (and critically-acclaimed) monster movie Deep Rising, where she played another tough gal. Woody Allen cast her in Celebrity, and Famke did more fine work in the sci-fi thriller The Faculty and the kitschy House on Haunted Hill.
Famke was 35 year old when she showed up in the first X-Men movie. Her presence helped establish that the comic-book movie was also for grown-ups. She’s worked steadily ever since, including a kinky stint on the F/X series Nip/Tuck. Her evil witch was the best thing about Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, and we’ve hunted down plenty of pics from Famke’s wickedly sexy career…