Full name: Jennifer Ellen Chan

Date of Birth: September 16, 1958 (age 63)

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Known for: Actress and poker player

Family: Harry Chan (father), Patricia Chan (mother), Sam Simon (former husband), Phil Laak (partner), Meg Tilly (sister).

Jennifer Tilly is a world-class poker player and an Oscar Award-nominated American–Canadian actress.

Tilly was born and spent her childhood years in Los Angeles, California, and had her film debut in the 1983 television series ‘Oh Madeline,’ in which she played a minor role. She made her cinematic debut in 1984’s ‘No Small Affair,’ and she has remained relentless since then, frequently appearing in numerous productions per year.

Her acting career got off to a great start for her. She was a regular on shows like ‘Hill Street Blues,’ ‘Cheers,’ and ‘Frasier’ towards the beginning of her career. This was more than a rookie actor could expect, despite the fact that she generally did tiny roles.

She made her long-awaited breakout in Woody Allen’s ‘Bullets over Broadway,’ earning her an Oscar Nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actress.’

Jennifer Tilly went on to star in a number of well-known films, including ‘Bound’ and ‘Liar Liar.’ She also appeared in a number of projects, including “Stuart Little,” “The Simpsons,” and “Family Guy.”

Early Life and Education

Jennifer Tilly
Young Jennifer Tilly

Jennifer Ellen Chan was born in Harbor City, Los Angeles. She is the first child of Harry Chan, a secondhand car dealer, and Patricia (née Tilly), a former broadway performer and Canadian educator. Her mother was of Irish and Finnish origin, and her father was of Chinese descent. She has two junior sisters, Meg and Rebecca, and an elder brother, Steve.

Tilly lived with her mother and stepfather, John Ward, in rural Texada Island, British Columbia, Canada, after her parents divorced when she was five years old. Ward was a vicious pedophile, according to her sister Meg. Jennifer’s sister Becky agreed, although she remained silent about the subject. Tilly’s mother divorced for the second time when she was 16 and relocated to Victoria, where she attended Belmont High School.

Tilly graduated from Stephens College in Missouri with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater.


Jennifer Tilly earned her big-screen debut in the 1984 picture ‘No Small Affair,’ after making her debut appearances in the shows ‘Boone’ and ‘Oh Madeline.’ She later had small roles in films such as ‘Inside Out,’ ‘Johnny Be Good,’ and ‘High Spirits.’

She spent the 1980s in projects that didn’t make use of her amazing acting abilities. She continued to work, though, with the hopes of landing greater opportunities in the future. She had believed that she had “sold herself out” to Hollywood’s flashy world and that she would be better suited doing theater in New York.

She did, however, make an appearance in ‘The Fabulous Baker Boys’ in 1989. In the film, she played the part of a struggling singer. Later, the filmmaker stated that he wrote the character with Jennifer in mind. This was a wonderful compliment, and it meant that the tiny gigs she had grown to detest were now bringing her attention.

Her career took off after her outstanding performance in ‘The Fabulous Baker Boys.’ She starred in Woody Allen’s satirical comedy–drama film ‘Bullets over Broadway,’ which became one of her most famous roles. Being a part of a film by the master director was a huge step forward in her career.

For her work as a terrible and unsuccessful actor in ‘Bullets over Broadway,’ she received a ‘Academy Award’ nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actress.’ However, Dianne Weist, who also happens to be her co-star in the same film, won the award.

Jennifer met better filmmakers soon after and signed with the Watchowskis for the 1996 picture ‘Bound,’ in which she portrayed a homosexual. Jennifer became a sexy, young actor who was given more roles by some of the biggest filmmakers of the time after the sexually charged picture was a smash at film festivals.

She was adamant about picking her roles carefully. ‘Liar Liar,’ starring Jim Carrey, was her first foray into comedy in 1997. Jennifer’s character, ‘Samantha Cole,’ became a popular figure after the film’s global recognition.

In 2000, she starred in ‘Dancing at Blue Iguana,’ in which she played a prostitute and a part-time seductress. The movie was a hit, and Jennifer’s performance was praised.

Jennifer Tilly
Jennifer Tilly in Child’s Play

She went on to star in a number of well-known films, including the ‘Child’s Play’ film series. She first featured in the franchise’s fourth installment and has since appeared in every following installment, including ‘Bride of Chucky,’ ‘Seed of Chucky,’ ‘Curse of Chucky,’ and the most recent sequel, “Cult of Chucky.”

While her film parts established her as a capable and accomplished actor, her television roles didn’t trail far behind in giving her with abundant opportunities to demonstrate her strong acting abilities. ‘Out of Practice,’ ‘Frasier,’ ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,’ and ‘Spun Out’ were among her most notable TV roles.

She’s no stranger to animated programs, having lent her voice to shows like ‘Family Guy,’ ‘Stuart Little,’ and ‘The Simpsons.’

For her appearances, Jennifer Tilly has garnered numerous honors and nominations. At the ‘San Diego Film Festival,’ she received the ‘Best Actress Award’ for her film ‘Intervention.’ In 1998, she earned another ‘Best Actress’ award at the ‘Fantafestival’ for ‘Bride of Chucky.’

Jennifer Tilly is a talented poker player who won a ‘World Series of Poker’ (WSOP) title in 2005 in Texas, defeating more than 600 competitors. In 2008, she announced her retirement from the game.

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Personal life

In early 1980s, Jennifer Tilly was romantically involved with filmmaker and producer Sam Simon. In 1984, the couple married and divorced in 1991.

Sam is most famous for one of the most successful and longest-running television shows of all time, ‘The Simpsons.’ Phil Laak, a well-known poker player, has been her boyfriend since 2004.