WCW: Jane Seymour


Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg really did choose her screen name of Jane Seymour because it was the name of one of King Henry VIII’s wives, and who could blame her? From her early days as a Bond girl in Live and Let Die (1973) to becoming the “queen of the miniseries in the ’80s, Seymour definitely found her niche in historical costume. She has her own bit of history too. Despite being born in the U.K. and even owning a 14th-century manor house outside Bath for many years, she’s a Polish Jew by heritage and a naturalized American citizen as of 2005. I know she was my woman crush growing up, as I watched so many of these historical miniseries, what about you?


Karoline in The Strauss Family (1972)

Jane Seymour, The Strauss Family (1972)

She’s the sister on the far left.


Emma Callon / Emma Fogarty in The Onedin Line (1972-1973)

Jane Seymour, The Onedin Line (1972-1973)

Something by the BBC about a shipping line in 1860s Liverpool. Love the pink & black combo!


Agatha / Prima in Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)

Jane Seymour, Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)

The costumes don’t look half-bad, but that’s some big bouffants for the 1810s.


Bella Wilfer in Our Mutual Friend (1976)

Jane Seymour, Our Mutual Friend (1976)

The Beeb gettin’ all Dickens up in there.


Ethne Eustace in The Four Feathers (1978)

Jane Seymour, The Four Feathers (1978)

Can I just say SHE IS SO PRETTY?!?


Elise McKenna in Somewhere in Time (1980)

Jane Seymour, Somewhere in Time (1980)

The time-traveling romance to beat all time-traveling romances.


Kate Trask / Cathy Ames in East of Eden (1981)

Jane Seymour, East of Eden (1981)

Here’s that sweeping epic you asked for.


Marguerite St. Just in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)

Jane Seymour, The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)

A rare remake that I find equally enjoyable to the original.


Maria Gianelli / Elena Korvin in The Phantom of the Opera (1983)

Jane Seymour, The Phantom of the Opera (1983)

I dislike most versions of Phantom that aren’t a horror story, but this is just a cool photo.


Mary Yellan in Jamaica Inn (1983)

Jane Seymour, Jamaica Inn (1983)

I will give Jane Seymour a pass from snarking about leaving her hair down because her hair is GORGEOUS & I’ve envied it since forever.


Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises (1984)

Jane Seymour, The Sun Also Rises (1984)

She can also do short-hair looks, as needed.


Fashion Aid (1985) With Freddie Mercury

Jane Seymour, Fashion-Aid (1985) with Freddie Mercury

For the finale at a charity fashion show, Jane Seymour wore this wedding gown & plucked Freddie Mercury out of the audience, gave him a kiss, & the two left the stage as ‘bride & groom’ with flowers in their wake. *swoon*


Hillary Burnham in Crossings (1986)

Jane Seymour, Crossings (1986)

That’s some ’40s by way of ’80s Dynasty realness right there.


Wallis Simpson in The Woman He Loved (1988)

Jane Seymour, The Woman He Loved (1988)

With her Scarlet Pimpernel costar Anthony Andrews as Edward.


Emma in Jack the Ripper (1988)

Jane Seymour, Jack the Ripper (1988)

Nice bustle!


Marie Antoinette in La Révolution Française (1989)

Jane Seymour, La Révolution Française (1989)

An excellent queen in a beautiful production.


Natalie Henry in War and Remembrance (1988-1989)

Jane Seymour, War and Remembrance (1988-1989)

She plays an American Jew caught in Europe during WWII.


Fräulein Rottenmeier in Heidi (1993)

Jane Seymour, Heidi (1993)

I know nothing about her role, but I like the outfit!


Dr. Michaela “Mike” Quinn in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993-1998)

Jane Seymour, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993-1998)

There is some stuff to snark about this show & I wasn’t a huge fan, but I enjoyed the independent woman storyline. And hey, she does mostly keep her beautiful hair pinned up when she’s doing doctor stuff.


Fanny Kemble Butler in Enslavement: The True Story of Fanny Kemble (2000)

Jane Seymour, Enslavement: The True Story of Fanny Kemble (2000)

Something Civil War-ish, haven’t seen it.


Mrs. Wattlesbrook in Austenland (2013)

Jane Seymour, Austenland (2013)

OMG, how do we not have a review of this movie yet? *adds to list*



What’s your favorite historical costume movie or TV role of Jane Seymour’s?

31 Responses

  1. Sam Marchiony

    I was actually reading a paper about Fanny Kemble for my term paper on race in The Tempest… it’s kind of grotesque. Fanny Kemble was a British actress who married a Georgia plantation owner and used his slaves to act out white savior fantasies for herself.

      • Nzie

        Yikes. Never heard about that. My understanding is that she married someone who inherited a plantation but they lived up north most of the time, and her memoir of living there was an anti-slavery hit during the Civil War. She had divorced him by that time and made a living for herself through writing and readings of Shakespeare, etc., going on tour in America and the UK. I saw a play about her and it was quite interesting (not sure if problematic things were ignored or unknown to playwright—and it was a long time ago so I don’t remember it well enough to say much beyond that I enjoyed it). My guess is that her journal probably reflected standards of the time, which often included flat depictions of enslaved persons as victims only. Do you have more details about her fantasy stuff, Sam?

        • Sam Marchiony

          It’s a journal article called “From Miranda to Prospero: the Works of Fanny Kemble,” by Alison Booth, you can find it on JStor.
          My initial phrasing was kind of harsh, I think Kemble had the right idea but did the absolute worst possible thing in the name of “helping,” because she made it all about her. The idea is that she was trying to recreate the dynamics of The Tempest, but it was okay because she was nice to the slaves!

          • Nzie

            Thanks for the reference, Sam! Yes… good intentions/views aren’t enough…

      • Sam Marchiony

        This is from Alison Booth’s readings of Kemble’s own journals; as Kemble was an actress who’d risen to prominence playing Miranda in The Tempest, she was basically recreating the narrative of the “noble savage” by creating a circle of black people that she wanted to adore her and look up to her as a teacher and mother figure.

  2. Susan Pola Staples

    I have a couple of favourite Jane Seymour roles. First in a tie are The Scarlet Pimpernel and Somewhere in Time. I would love to see Marie Antoinette. But although not a huge Wallis Simpson fan (I have clothes envy and other issues) but her Duchess of Windsor is sympathetic and her Natalie Henry is gut reaching since it is so close to her home. I believe she lost several relatives in the Holocaust.

    Dr Quinn I watched religiously when it aired.

  3. thestoryenthusiast

    She really is absolutely beautiful. I can’t believe there are so many of her films/series I’ve never seen. The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of my favorite movies as is Somewhere in Time.

  4. Kate D

    Love her. The Scarlet Pimpernel forever. I love both versions, both embodiments of Sir Percy make me laugh!

  5. Mr Elton

    My teenage crush! No, seriously. My top three, nay four, are Scarlet Pimpernel, Somewhere in Time, French Revolution, War and Remembrance.

  6. Lynn A Anderson

    Yes! But PLEASE CORRECT the picture you show for “Somewhere in Time”! That was NOT from the movie – that was from another film! (And I just forwarded your blog to her – so she WILL see it!)

  7. Mary

    I remember The Strauss Family! My older sister was very into it, and I loved the costumes. I’d also love to see The Four Feathers again.

  8. Frannie Germeshausen

    Gosh, but she looks beautiful in everything. And, yes, I saw most of those, and remember her performances in most of them as well because she’s really good. Great pick!

  9. Emily

    Adore adore ADORE Jane Seymour. Watched a lot of Somewhere In Time as a kid because my parents loved the movie (who can blame them) and we were avid Dr. Quinn fans.

  10. Donnalee

    She has always been lovely, but it seems like she became the face I knew as hers in 1980, and the other photos before then do not always click with me as being her face.

  11. Saraquill

    I know her best as Dr. Quinn. It has a soft place in my heart along with American Girl, PBS and Oregon Trail in feeding my youthful historical geekery.

    On a different note, is that Four Feathers picture touched up? It looks it fell in the uncanny valley.

  12. Kaite Fink

    I remember watching Dr. Quinn and loving it before I really knew or cared about snarking inaccuracy in costuming. And I’m from Michigan, so Somewhere in Time is pretty much a given for watching for us! She’s beautiful and elegant! Love her!

  13. Hannah Peterson

    I have long brown hair, and when I was wearing pseudo-Victorian costume for something at work, with my hair down, (gasp, I know), one of my coworkers said I looked like Dr. Quinn. It made me so happy.

  14. Nzie

    She is one of the most perfectly beautiful women. I have not seen many of these films, but I like her quite a bit… was tickled to see her in a royalty Christmas romance for Hallmark. :-) Now I’ve got some more movies to watch!

  15. egizzius

    I loved her as Marie Antoinette, a very convincing portrait of the queen very well played by J.S. Of course I loved totally her long hair!

  16. Charity

    Seen about half of these. I always thought she was the most stunning Bond girl. Loved “Dr. Quinn” back in the day. Still marathon episodes from time to time. :)

  17. Sharon

    Some nice photos of Jane’s earlier work but a few things here:

    Jane did not choose her name after one Henry VIII’s wives! She and her team did not even realize it was the same name as his third wife until later! They just knew it had sounded familiar but did not put two and two together back then!

    Jane is not really a Polish Jew by heritage and does not even practice a particular religion..

    Jane’s father was Polish and Jewish but according to Jane, he did not practice when she was growing up and in the Jewish religion, it’s the mother’s religion that counts. Even Jane has joked about that. In one interview I saw, Jane said it used to upset her mother when articles would say Jane was Jewish. Jane said her mother vehemently denied that Jane was Jewish. Jane did say she had Jewish relatives and loved the food! Well, what’s not to love? ;)

    The photo from “Somewhere in Time” was NOT from SIT! It was from Jane’s marriage to husband #2 and she borrowed the clothes from “The Four Feathers” movie that she was filming.

  18. Jilly

    Not a frock flick, but perhaps the most cringey costume of the bunch: the first thing I saw Jane in was The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, a movie (TV movie?) from the 70s that somehow played late at night at least once a year when I was growing up. Jane played the main character, an intrepid reporter who tries out for the team in order to uncover some inside dirt, being the wacky cynical feminist she is. All she finds is some true sisterhood, except for one dirtbag boyfriend, and she decides not to exploit the poor girlfriend and have one final dance of glory on the field. So 70s! Such bad dancing! But I still watched it as a kid, probably due mostly to Jane Seymour.

  19. Ev

    Ah! Yay! Dr. Quinn of course! I will always love it. I own most of seasons on DVD. This was before I got into costume, but hey, just forget about HA and have a good time. 😊 I also loved Somewhere in Time.

  20. Elise

    I’ll always have a soft spot for Jane because I was named after her Somewhere in Time character. That, and all of those Dr Quinn reruns!

  21. Jose

    What an Irony Her first 2 period pieces were prominent roles to Anne Stallybrass who played oops Jane Seymour in 6 wives of Jerk VIII (1970)

  22. James Flagler

    My favorite Jane Seymour role/movie…”the Haunting Passion”