Jennifer Tilly

Jennifer Tilly

Jennifer Tilly's statuesque figure and breathless falsetto often obscured her 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 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."


Guest Appearances