A look at the career of Jennifer Tilly

Born Jennifer Ellen Chan on September 16, 1958, in Harbor City, Los Angeles, Canadian-American Jennifer Tilly commenced her acting career in the 1980s. Her breakthrough role was as a singing waitress in The Fabulous Baker Boys, which she starred in after receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. Jennifer is related to actress Meg Tilly, and both left the very rural Texada Island to pursue a life and career in the ever-appealing Hollywood.

In 1983, Jennifer kicked off her television acting career with a few small, recurring roles on TV shows such as Hill Street Blues. She also made several other appearances on Frasier, Cheers, Moonlighting, Remington Steele, and Key West in the 1980s before taking on Broadway. Nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Olive Neal in Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway, Jennifer began acting on stage, winning a Theater World Award for her performance in the off-Broadway’s One Shoe Off. One of her most memorable performances was the role of Violet in the cult classic Bound, in which she portrayed a sultry girlfriend of a criminal opposite Gina Gershon.

Famous for her distinctively breathless voice, Jennifer Tilly has a plethora of ditzy bombshell roles under her belt. Appearing in over 20 films, Jennifer’s natural flair for comedic timing led to the development of a cult following among mainstream and indie movie fans alike. Starring as a gold-digging client in Liar Liar, Jennifer managed to keep pace with the legendary Jim Carrey, which cemented her status as one of Hollywood’s go-to comedy actresses. Bride of Chucky filmmakers turned to Tilly when they needed help to push the franchise in a new direction. This turned out to be a smart choice, as her pitch-perfect voice-over work as Tiffany along with cameos as herself meant that the popular series was taken to the next level and a new legion of fans was born.

Her unique sounding expressions would go on to land her many other voice-over roles, most notably her popular characterization of Celia in Monsters, Inc. She also voiced a happy bovine in Home on the Range and a mouse named Camille Stout in Stuart Little, to great success. Jennifer also appeared in the series Hey Arnold! and as Madame Lota in The Haunted Mansion. Her most recent film projects included roles in Unity and Cult of Chucky in addition to small roles on many shows including the Simpsons.

Jennifer has taken a step back from acting in the last few years and is now a familiar face on the professional poker circuit. In 2005, she beat 600 other players to win a World Series of Poker bracelet in the Ladies No-Limit Texas Hold’em event, announcing that she was more interested in pursuing poker as a career than acting. She continues to play professionally and regularly attends international poker events to compete against players from as far away as Russia.

One thought on “A look at the career of Jennifer Tilly

  1. I think she’s underrated as an actress. She manages to do well with whatever limitations she has while proving that she doesn’t really need Hollywood with her poker skills.

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