Attendees of all ages admiringly looked on in awe as she entered the foyer at the City of Malibu Art Gallery. Exuding her ageless, ethereal beauty, Malibuite Jane Seymour smiled broadly and shared vignettes about her storied career, her love of the sea and her works of art recently showcased at the gallery.
Aptly titled, “Expressions,” the exhibit featured her fine art open heart bronze sculptures—the signature symbol of her charity, Open Hearts Foundation—that warmly embraced the space, as well as her colorful watercolors and warm oil paintings that evoke the delicate sensitivity of impressionists Mary Cassatt and Claude Monet.
Seymour’s artwork captures simple scenes—one of a small child holding a red bucket on a beach, entranced by and enamored with ocean waves, another of a lady bedecked in a red gown and matching hat immersed in a garden, her flowing garments fluttering in the breeze. The pieces masterfully capture fleeting scenes, celebrating nature’s purity.
Seymour’s art gallery in Westlake Village, Coral Canyon Publishing & Gallery, is open to the public by appointment and displays her permanent oeuvre, as well as fascinating memorabilia and ephemera from her many movie and television roles.
There, one can appreciate Seymour’s introspection—her intricate floral images that explore the delicate anatomy of a flower—as well as her perspectives of everyday, fleeting occurrences that deftly delve beyond the patina seen in an initial glance. Not to be missed is her Circus Suite, a delightful series of original watercolors, celebrating the muscular ballet of trapeze artists, the colorful and daunting feats of a fire eater and the commanding authority of the ringmaster. A viewer feels drawn into the circus, mesmerized by its enchanting magic.
There is, as her fans know, a depth to Seymour that is as enchanting and intriguing as her many roles throughout the years. A tour of the gallery is delightful and includes a rare sight. When a viewer looks at one particular painting, she leans in and looks more closely, eyes wide and wondering, “Is that really Jane Seymour depicted in the Norvegienne Boat at Giverny? Is that really her on the famous bridge in the Claude Monet garden?”
Yes, confirms Susan Nagy Luks, Seymour’s longtime gallery director and curator, that is, indeed, her sitting in the famous boat.
“She was able to briefly sit in the boat and to paint in the garden and the lily pond,” shares Nagy Luks.
A multiple Emmy and Golden Globe-winning television and film star and recipient of the Officer of the British Empire (OBE), bestowed upon her by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace for her services to drama, Seymour is most known as the mysterious Solitaire starring alongside Roger Moore in the James Bond movie, “Live and Let Die” (1973); as the star of the 1990s American television series, “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and its telefilm sequels; and as a beguiling seductress in “Wedding Crashers.” Both on and off screen, she is a master of many skills, most notably her ability to constantly change in response to her life’s varied vicissitudes. Seymour has also received many accolades for live theater appearances.
In 1980, she played the role on stage of Constanze in Peter Shaffer’s play, “Amadeus,” which ran on Broadway for 1,181 performances and won five Tony Awards. That same year, returning to film, she played a young theater actress—Elise McKenna—in the period romance, “Somewhere in Time,” an experience that marked the start of her friendship with co-star Christopher Reeve. She’s even played Marie Antoinette in “La Revolution Française,” filmed in both French and English, and she is fluent in French.
Seymour’s path to fame started humbly. She and her sisters grew up in a loving, yet simple family in Middlesex, England. Her mother, Mieke, was a Dutch-born protestant and a Japanese concentration camp prisoner of war in Indonesia during WWII. Her father, John Benjamin Frankenberg, an obstetrician, was an English Jew whose family was from Poland.
Seymour has, in a phrase, charted her own path, deftly maneuvering past any obstacles and out-maneuvering twists of fate. For 5 decades, she has worked assiduously at all of her many, multifaceted endeavors. When young, she aspired to be a professional dancer and trained at the Arts Educational School in Tring, Hertfordshire, London. She dreamed of appearing in Russia’s renowned Kirov Ballet. However, she only appeared there once. Unfortunately, she sustained a serious knee injury in that performance. She had to adjust to the fact that a career in dancing was not in her future.
So, as she would so many more times in life, the undaunted Seymour pivoted. Born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg in Wimbledon, when she was 17, the star assumed the name of Jane Seymour, also the name of King Henry VIII’s third wife who, like the actress, stands out amongst her colleagues for her bright personality and ingenuity.
Seymour is generally known for her long, brown hair. However, when one looks closely, they’ll see that her left eye is emerald green, but her right eye is brown, a condition known as heterochromia. She once told a journalist that English filmmakers found that presentation to be “off-putting,” and that early in her film career she was fired because her eyes were different colors.
Although that rejection was difficult to accept, remaining positive and moving forward as she always does, Seymour kept both eyes on the ball. She later commented, “That taught me that when life deals major blows and you think they’re impossible to overcome, like the loss of someone, a death or dealing with a medical issue, out of it, comes a gift.” One of the several books she’s penned, appropriately entitled, Remarkable Changes, shares one of the primary mottos describing Seymour’s outlook on life: “Through remarkable changes, life inevitably becomes remarkable.”
That approach to change has carried Seymour through the ebbs and tides of vying for and winning roles in movies and television shows, through four marriages, divorces and her devoted mothering of her four children, including twin boys she had later in life, in addition to two stepchildren whom she considers her own. In addition to being an attentive, loving mother—and now, a doting grandmother to three children—Seymour is a serial entrepreneur. She is well known for her wearable art clothing line and is a self-described “scarf-aholic” and “textile-aholic,” creating gorgeous scarves through her company JS Designs depicting stunning, brilliant colors that her fans lovingly collect, as well as for her home collection line, and a production company. She is a prominent spokesperson for Crepe Erase, one of the leading Guthy-Renker brands in the skincare space.
Always sanguine, often when facing very difficult circumstances, Seymour is intuitive, imaginative and innovative. “In life, when stuff happens, the instinct is to close off your heart,” Seymour says in one of her books discussing her Open Hearts Jewelry Collection. “By leaving your heart open, it leaves room for someone else to come in.”
In Remarkable Changes, she discusses the true value of life transitions, from marriage and divorce to career changes to milestones in the lives of one’s parents and children. She posits that whether we initiate the change in our life, or it is thrust upon us by circumstances beyond our control, we should stop “dealing” with change, but instead actively incorporate it into our lives by employing the hard-won wisdom gained through such experiences.
An avid traveler, Seymour often posts messages such as “reveling in the serenity of Iceland’s pristine beauty, where the blue skies meet the crystal clear embrace of nature’s reflection—let’s spread some positivity!” Whether zip lining in Costa Rica or immersing herself in rugged Ireland, Seymour is, at heart, an adventurer, curious about what life will offer next.
Sporting a beautiful swimsuit and sans makeup, the ever-youthful Seymour recently posted, “The warmth of summer’s arrival is like a gentle breeze whispering hope into our souls, reminding us that amidst life’s uncertainties, there’s always room for joy.”
She’s also very philanthropic. Her charity, Open Hearts Foundation, encourages the next generation to volunteer and also awards grants to emerging and growing nonprofit organizations that support populations that have, like Seymour, faced adversity.
Her advice to others? “Love yourself unconditionally, let go of judgment toward yourself and others and shine brightly—you will inevitably inspire others to do the same.”
For her part, Seymour is always reviewing scripts and assuming new roles. Seymour stars as Dublin-based retired literature professor Harriet "Harry" Wild who stumbles into a second act as a private investigator solving crimes with her literary expertise and young, streetwise sidekick much to the consternation of her son, a detective in the Dublin police. The series, which is filmed on location in Ireland and airs in numerous countries around the world, returns for its second season on Acorn TV in the fall of 2023. Look for her in 2024 in Netflix’s rom com, “Irish Wish,” where she plays Lindsey Lohan’s mother in the film.
“It’s a love letter to Ireland,” Producer Michael Damian says. “It’s a ‘be careful what you wish for’ story. Sometimes, you may not get what you want, but you get what you need.”
And, with her heart always, always open, Seymour continues to embrace change.