janeseymourcolor1Back in June 2006, Jane Seymour, the British-born actor best known Stateside as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, was invited to play in the Northern Rock All-Star Cup, a celebrity golf tournament at The Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales, that pits a European team against an American one. Seymour, who grew up in Wimbledon, a London suburb, had just become a U.S. citizen, so she agreed to play for her new country. She compares playing golf to being on stage—”It’s your moment,” she says—and while she had played in corporate outings and Jane Seymour 9celebrity tournaments before, the Wales event promised to be her biggest golf stage yet. The previous year’s tournament, which featured Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones playing on opposing teams, had attracted thousands of spectators and international press cover­age. Seymour, a perfectionist, gives her all to everything she does, so in true fashion, she dedicated herself to improving her game before the August event. “I said to myself, ‘For the next two months, I will train for golf.”

As Seymour tells her story, she is sitting in the spacious bathroom of her Malibu, Calif., home while a hairstylist and makeup artist fuss over her for a photo shoot. At 56, even in a pink robe and curlers, she has glamor to spare. Fine-boned and elegant, with long auburn hair and an unreduced face (yes, those are wrinkles, a sight rarely seen in Hollywood), she has a mature, self-assured beauty that served her well as the lusty politician’s wife in Wedding Crashers, the 2005 hit film that convinced Hollywood she could do comedy. Seymour remains every inch the former ballerina who dreamed of dancing with Russia’s Kirov Ballet before a knee injury redirected her into acting. With her clipped, precise speech and brisk manner, she could be the dance mistress put­ting her class through its paces at the barre.

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Seymour and her husband, pro­ducer/director James Keach, are members of Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., home to two Jack Nicklaus layouts, one full-length course and one par 3. In 2006 the 18- hole course was closed for renovations, so every day for two months, Seymour played the par-3 course to prepare for the Wales tournament. Sometimes she had an instructor, but often she was alone.”There were two other people on the course: Bruce Jenner and Kenny G. The two obsessed golfers in our club and me. That course is so precise and small that you’re in all kinds of trouble if you don’t go straight. So I got really good at chipping and putting. And it paid off.”

The Northern Rock All-Star Cup was played in a Ryder Cup format: match play, best ball, and alternate shot. Each side had 11 celebrities, including British TV star Bruce Forsyth and model Jodie Kidd for Team Europe, and Kenny G, Meat Loaf, Alice Cooper and Seymour for Team USA. The Americans lost, but Seymour never gave up. On the final hole of the tour­nament, her partner, actor Aidan Quinn, hit the ball into a greenside bunker. It was her job to get out.

“There were huge crowds, it was the end of the day, the cameras were there, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, this is impossible.’ I got down in the sand and I couldn’t even see the flag. I chipped the ball up, and then all of a sudden everyone starts roaring and I jumped up and the ball rolled, slowly but surely, right into the hole. The entire place went crazy. It was one of the greatest days of my life.”

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Seymour has had a rich and varied life, but not every day has been as triumphant. Yet, like one of the indomitable heroines she’s known for, she approaches life’s challenges the same way she approaches golf: Accentuate the positive. In golf, Seymour rarely keeps score, preferring a system of her own invention.”When I hit a ball and it goes where I intended it to, I give myself a star. Because at least at the end of the day I can say that I had six shots that I felt really proud of.”

Seymour began life as Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenburg, the first of three daughters born to an English gynecologist and his Dutch wife. After her dance career was cut short at 17, she turned to act­ing. In 1973 she found fame playing Solitaire in Live and Let Die. While her cinematic career has been notable—Somewhere in Time, in which she starred opposite her good friend the late Christopher Reeve, has become a romantic classic—she is best known for her television work. Her made-for-TV films range from melodramas (Obsessed With a Married Woman) to prestigious miniseries (War and Remembrance and Onassis: The Richest Man in the World, for which her portrayal of Maria Callas earned her an Emmy). By the late ’80s, she’d been married three times and had two children, Katie and Sean, by her third husband, David Flynn, from whom she was later, divorced.

In 1990 she was on location in Scottsdale making Sunstroke for the USA Network. Her director, James Keach, a passionate golfer, invited her to play. “She did great,” Keach recalls, sitting at the kitchen table while waiting for their 11-year-old twins, John and Kris, to get ready for Little League. ‘And she was fun to look at standing over the ball.”

“I was very concerned about running into a snake,” Seymour says. “But every once in a while I’d get that ping, and that would make me feel, ‘Oh my gosh, I can do this, I want to do this.'”

In 1993 Seymour took the role that made her a household name: Michaela Quinn, the 19th-century pioneer doctor in Colorado who dispenses country medicine and feminist bromides in equal measure. She and Keach married that same year. At 43, Seymour began undergoing fertility treatments, and after two failed pregnancies, she gave birth to Kris and John in 1995. Three years later, when CBS canceled her series, she decided to do what many actresses of a certain age do (think ElizabethTaylor and Susan Lucci): lever­age her famous name into a business.

Seymour has always had a knack for design. In the 1960s, while still in high school, she started a small business embroidering see-through blouses for a London department store. In 2003 she launched the Jane Seymour Home Collection for Saks, Inc., and now owns the line through The Sommerset Group, her Birmingham, Alabama-based company. Her latest book, Making Yourself at Home, was pub­lished in April. This fall, the Jane Seymour Home Collection, her line of linens, pillows and candles sold on janeseyrnourhome.com, debuts in The Great Indoors, a Sears-owned chain.

Seymour and Keach’s other home is St. Catherine’s Court, a 1,000-year-old former monastery located on 15 acres near Bath, England.They have painstakingly restored and updated the home and rent it out most  of the year for $56,000 a week. NewYork Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez, whom Seymour and Keach met at a baseball game, has spent time there with his wife. “He asked me, ‘Where’s the gym?'” Seymour recalls. “I said, ‘You see that hill? That’s the gym.You run to the top and run down, avoiding the sheep.”

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Since her golf triumph in Wales, Seymour’s other interests have kept her off the course more than she likes. Painting has become another passion, “like a drug,” she says. “Every weekend I say ‘Will I paint or will I play golf?'” She displays her work in galler­ies around the U.S., and her paintings—primarily floral motifs and portraits—have sold for as high as $35,000. When not guest-starring on TV shows like How I Met Your Mother, she’s on the road promot­ing her book and her Home Collection and making appearances for Running Dry, a documentary about the global drinking-water crisis, which Seymour nar­rates.”I’d be a better golfer if I didn’t have a thousand things going on,” she admits. But knowing her, she’ll find a As a spokesperson for Eons.com, a new website for over-50 baby boomers, Seymour created a list of 25 goals she’d like to accomplish before turning 100. Number 4: “Break 90 in golf.”