Jennifer Tilly biography
Date of Birth: September 16, 1958
Birth Name: Jennifer Chan
"I want to have a full career, the full spectrum, and I think the best way to do that is to play off others a lot, to keep taking different types of challenging roles that are interesting to play." Jennifer Tilly
Raised in British Columbia, this California-born actress was part of a large family that includes her sister, actress Meg Tilly. As her family spent what little money they had on the ballet, theater and movies, Tilly grew to love and respect the acting art. After attending Belmont High School in Victoria, BC, she went on to study theater at Stephens College, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Soon after graduation, she moved to Los Angeles to seek her fortune. Her first few years were spent developing her art on the stage while paying the bills with odd jobs. "I love doing theater," Jennifer says, "because of the challenge of it. In theater, you're just out there, and it's up to you to perform to your best every night."
Tilly made her TV debut in the short-lived series Boone, and her film debut the following year in No Small Affair. Often cast as provocative sex-kitten, with her quiet, airy seductive voice, Tilly spent the next few years in similar roles before she broke the mold, giving a charming, warm but brief performance as an auditioning singer/waitress in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989). Following more strong performances in Made in America (1993) and THE GETAWAY (1994), she finally stepped into the spotlight performing in Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway (1994). The film cast Tilly as Olive, the chorine girlfriend of a Mafioso determined to be taken seriously as a dramatic actor. Her performance brought rave reviews and earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.
Throughout the years, Tilly has continued to balance a film career with television and theater. On the small screen she has starred in Key West, and Heads, for which she earned a Gemini Award nomination for Best Actress. She has also worked on the series Shaping Up, and has had recurring roles on Hill Street Blues, The Garry Shandling Show, and appearances on Moonlighting, Cheers, and Dream On. She also voices the character Bonnie Swanson on the popular animated series Family Guy. In 2012, her voice once again made it to the big screen with the re-release Monsters, Inc. 3D—she provided the voice for Celia in the original 2001 film.
Jennifer won a Theatre World Award for her work on One Shoe Off and has performed in such stage productions as Boy's Life, Tartuffe, and Baby With the Bathwater. She even won a Dramalogue award for her work in Vanities.
Formerly married to producer/writer/director Sam Simon from 1984 to 1991, the now single Tilly lives alone with her cat in Los Angeles.
Jennifer Tilly Filmography