Jane Seymour Didn’t Realize Her Stage Name Was the Same as Henry VIII’s Wife

If Jane Seymour could have do anything differently, it would be to change her stage name.

During the latest episode of Getting Grilled with Curtis Stone, the actress, whose real name is Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg, shared how her stage name came to be.

“My agent said, ‘Your name is too long, too foreign, and too difficult to spell, so we want something English,’” the actress explained. “So I kept the initial J, and I thought plain ‘Jane.’ … Then somebody came up with the idea of ‘Seymour,’ and it sounded very English. Easy to remember.”

“It took us a little moment or two [to realize] that it was actually Henry VIII’s middle wife, the one that no one ever spoke about, until they started making all these movies about Henry the VIII!” she added.

Jane Seymour with Christopher Reeve while filming ‘Somewhere in Time.’.

Eddie Sanderson/Getty Images

Seymour, at the time, didn’t realize the historical connection to King Henry VIII’s second wife Jane Seymour, who became queen after the execution of Henry VIII’s first wife Anne Boleyn and died at age 28 two weeks after giving birth to Edward VI. Had the actress known, she would have picked a different stage name entirely.

“I would never have done it. But then, you know, if I was going to call myself Catherine of Aragon… No, I would never have done that or Anne Boleyn. But Jane Seymour… No one had ever heard of Jane Seymour.”

Plenty of people, of course, have heard of the 73-year-old actress since she rose to fame playing Bond Girl Solitaire in 1973’s Live and Let Die alongside the late Roger Moore. In the decades since, Seymour also starred with Christopher Reeve in the 1980 drama Somewhere in Time, appeared on Battlestar Galactica and starred on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman as the titular doctor for six seasons and two TV movies.

Seymour has received recognition for her work, including an Emmy Award in 1988 for outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or a special for her portrayal of Maria Callas in Onassis: The Richest Man in the World and a Golden Globe in 1996 for best performance by an actress in a television series for Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

John Zambetti and Jane Seymour at Roadside Attractions’ ‘Somewhere In Queens’ reception in Los Angeles, California in January 2024.

Stewart Cook/Getty

In addition to her successful, decades-long acting career, Seymour owns her own fashion brand Jane Seymour Designs and cofounded the Open Hearts Foundation charity, a nonprofit organization that supports emerging nonprofit charities through grants and volunteering programs.

Seymour also has six children — Kalen, 56, Jenni, 44, Katherine, 42, Sean, 38, John, 28, and Kristopher, 28 — whom she shares with exes David Flynn and James Keach.

“The kids know I would choose family over any role and over anything in my life,” Seymour told The Guardian in 2013. “I don’t know if I’m a great mum. I’m the best mum I know how to be. I think it’s all about listening to your children, communicating and caring enough to be involved in their life.”

While Seymour recently told PEOPLE she’s content with her boyfriend John Zambetti, she doesn’t necessarily see marriage in the future.  

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“All I know is that right now, I am very happy,” she added. “I’m happier than I remember being for as long as I can remember. My family’s happy, everyone’s happy, and I don’t want to mess with happy. So, for right now, where I’m at is really good.”

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