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Jennifer Tilly's statuesque figure and breathless falsetto often obscured the fact that she was a gifted talent in both comedic and dramatic fare, as evidenced by her Oscar-nominated turn in "Bullets Over Broadway" (1994) and memorable appearances in films like "Bound" (1996) and "Bride of Chucky" (1998). Born Jennifer Ellen Chan on September 16, 1958 in Harbor City, Los Angeles, she and her siblings - which included sister and fellow actress Meg Tilly - hailed from an ethnically diverse background, with a Chinese father and a mother with Irish, Finnish and First Nations heritage. Tilly's parents split when she was five years of age, and her mother relocated the children to Texada Island, the largest of the Northern Gulf Islands off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Tilly later attended Belmont High School in Victoria, BC, before heading to Missouri to earn a theater degree from Stephens College. Her screen-acting career began on television, where she established her talent for both comedies and dramatic fare like "Hill Street Blues" (NBC, 1981-1987), where she won notices as a mobster's widow who became romantically involved with Joe Spano's detective. Tilly soon settled into steady work as a character actress, playing an array of ditzy bombshells on series like "It's Garry Shandling's Show" (Showtime, 1986-1990) and features like "Johnny Be Good" (1988) and "Let It Ride" (1989). But a turn as a hopelessly tone-deaf singer in "The Fabulous Baker Boys" (1989) alerted critics and viewers to her comic gifts, which she followed with an Oscar-nominated turn as a gangster's moll with acting aspirations in Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway." Two years later, Tilly found a solid showcase for her dramatic talents in the Wachowskis' neo-noir "Bound," for which she again played a gangster's paramour, albeit one with plans to steal her boyfriend's fortune with the help of an ex-con (Gina Gershon) with whom she has become romantically involved. By the mid-1990s, Tilly was working steadily across a wide variety of projects, from mainstream comedies like "Liar Liar" (1997) and indie fare like Albert Brooks' "The Muse" (1999) and Peter Bogdanovich's "The Cat's Meow" (2001). Her unique voice also helped her move successfully into animation projects like "Family Guy" (Fox, 1999- ) and "Monsters, Inc." (2001), though her most memorable turn in this capacity was as Tiffany Valentine who, like her boyfriend, serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), has her soul transferred to a malevolent doll in Ronny Yu's "Bride of Chucky." Tilly would reprise the role in three sequels, including 2017's "Cult of Chucky," and would maintain a steady presence in features and on television into the new millennium while also honing a new and wildly successful second career on the professional poker circuit, where she captured sizable windfalls on the World Poker Tour and other professional competitions. She would briefly retire from poker in the mid-2000s to refocus on acting, which included a starring role in the 2001 Broadway revival of "The Women."
An actress who always attracts audiences' attention, Jennifer Tilly is by turns funny, sexy, compassionate, compelling and often all at once. She burst onto the scene playing the tone deaf Monica Moran in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), opposite brothers Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges. She has been playing unforgettable characters ever since. She earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the hopelessly untalented Olive Neal in Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway (1994). She followed that up with a memorable turn as Jim Carrey's gold-digging client in the blockbuster Liar Liar (1997). A sultry performance as Violet, opposite Gina Gershon, helped make Lana Wachowski's and Lilly Wachowski's Bound (1996) a breakout indie success at the Sundance Film Festival and then in theatres. It also expanded Jennifer's already significant gay and lesbian following. Jennifer Tilly was born Jennifer Ellen Chan in Harbor City, Los Angeles, to Harry Chan, a used car salesman, who was of Chinese origin, and Patricia (née Tilly), a schoolteacher and stage actress. Her sister is actress Meg Tilly. They were raised on rural Texada Island, British Columbia, by her mother and stepfather, John Ward. Over the years, Jennifer has worked with some of the world's best directors, including Terry Gilliam (Tideland (2005)), Neil Jordan (High Spirits (1988)), Joe Pytka (Let It Ride (1989)), Roger Donaldson (The Getaway (1994)), Ronny Yu (Bride of Chucky (1998)), Woody Allen (Bullets Over Broadway (1994)), Jerry Shatzberg (No Small Affair (1984)), Rob Minkoff (Stuart Little (1999) and The Haunted Mansion (2003)), Peter Bogdanovich (The Cat's Meow (2001)), in which she played Louella Parsons, Richard Benjamin (Made in America (1993)), Alphonso Arau (The Magnificent Ambersons (2002)), Oliver Stone (The Doors (1991)), Albert Brooks (The Muse (1999)) and Michael Radford (Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000)). Other films include: Saint Ralph (2004), Music from Another Room (1998), Shadow of the Wolf (1992), Bart Got a Room (2008), An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong (2009), P.J. Castellaneta's Relax... It's Just Sex (1998), The Wrong Guy (1997), Second Best (2004), Sister Mary Explains It All (2001), Bella Mafia (1997), Edie & Pen (1996), The Crew (2000), and many more. Jennifer has appeared on some of television's best series, including Cheers (1982), Remington Steele (1982), Moonlighting (1985), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000) and Frasier (1993). She was a recurring character on Hill Street Blues (1981), It's Garry Shandling's Show. (1986) and Out of Practice (2005), and a series regular on NBC's Shaping Up (1984) and Fox's Key West (1993). She is also in great demand as a voice-over artist. Her vocal characterizations include the snaky-haired Celia in Pixel's Monsters, Inc. (2001), the new age cow Grace in Disney's Home on the Range (2004), and the perpetually pregnant Bonnie Swanson on Family Guy (1999). Equally at home on stage as well as film, she has many theatre credits under her belt. She received a Theatre World Award for her performance in Second Stage's "One Shoe Off" performed at the Joseph Papp. Jennifer successfully cultivated another fan base with the revitalization of the "Child's Play" horror comedy franchise. For Ronny Yu's Bride of Chucky (1998), the filmmakers turned to Jennifer to create the character who would spark the series in a new direction. She met the challenge and established a new horror icon in Tiffany. In Rogue Pictures' Seed of Chucky (2004), written and directed by series creator Don Mancini, Jennifer again took the popular series to the next level; starring as Tiffany and as herself, the deadly doll's favorite actress, who soon becomes an unwitting hostess in more ways than one. Jennifer's pitch-perfect voiceover work as Tiffany is not the only instance of her being able to incarnate a character from the vocal chords out. Families know her distinctive cadences from the Disney hits Home on the Range (2004), directed by Will Finn and John Sanford; The Haunted Mansion (2003) (in which Jennifer acted from the neck up only), directed by Rob Minkoff; and the Pixar blockbuster Monsters, Inc. (2001) (voicing Mike's love interest Celia), directed by Pete Docter, David Silverman and Lee Unkrich. She began her acting career as a teenager, putting herself through the theater program at Stephens College in Missouri by winning writing competitions. She then headed to Los Angeles, California. While she continued to act on the stage (earning a Dramalogue Award for her performance in "Vanities"), movies and television immediately came calling for the actress with the unique voice and visage. In 2001, she starred in the Broadway revival of "The Women" with Cynthia Nixon and Kristen Johnson, which was later taped for, and broadcast on, PBS. In 2008, she appeared with Miranda Richardson in the critically acclaimed production of Wallace Shawn's play "Grasses of a Thousand Colors" at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Other plays include "Tartuffe" (LAAT) "Boy's Life" (LAAT) "Baby with the Bathwater" (LAPT) and others too numerous to mention. In 2005, Jennifer met her boyfriend, professional poker player Phil Laak (also known as the Unabomber). That summer at the World Series of Poker, she bested a field of 601 to take down the Ladies Event and win a coveted gold bracelet. She followed this up by winning the WPT Ladies Invitational, making her one of a small but elite group holding both a WSOP bracelet, and a WPT title. In summer 2010, she also won the Bellagio Cup 5k tournament. She writes a monthly column for Bluff magazine, and is a regular on the tournament circuit. Jennifer is a familiar face on many poker television shows, including "Poker Superstars", "Poker After Dark", "The Big Game", "The World Poker Open", "The Poker Lounge" and NBC's "Heads Up", to name a few. She is number 25 on the Women's All Time Money list, with career earnings in excess of six hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Upcoming films include 30 Beats (2012) with Justin Kirk and Paz de la Huerta, and The Secret Lives of Dorks (2013) starring opposite Jim Belushi. In December 2010, she received the Best Actress Award from the WIFT (Women in Film and Television) Foundation for her work in the Mary McGuckian films Intervention (2007) and Inconceivable (2008) slated for release in 2011. In addition, she has been a favored guest on a number of talk shows, from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) to The Arsenio Hall Show (1989) to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992). Those interview segments have encouraged viewers to expect the unexpected from her interplay with the host and the studio audience.
Jennifer Tilly (born Jennifer E. Chan September 16, 1958) is a Canadian-American actress and poker player. She is an Academy Award nominee, and a World Series of Poker Ladies' Event bracelet winner. She is the older sister of actress Meg Tilly.