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Jennifer Tilly
Jennifer Tilly @ New York Comic Con 2021, by Chris Roth (3) - cropped.jpg
Tilly at the 2021 New York Comic Con
Jennifer Ellen Chan

(1958-09-16) September 16, 1958 (age 64)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater Stephens College
  • Actress
  • poker player
Years active 1983–present
(m. 1984; div. 1991)
Partner(s) Phil Laak
Relatives Meg Tilly (sister)

Jennifer Tilly (born Jennifer Ellen Chan; September 16, 1958) is an American–Canadian actress and poker player. Known for her distinctive voice and comedic timing, she has been nominated for an Academy Award, two MTV Movie Awards and three Saturn Awards.

Tilly had her breakthrough playing Olive Neal in the black comedy film Bullets Over Broadway (1994), which earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She subsequently earned Saturn Award and MTV Award nominations for her performance in the neo-noir thriller Bound (1996). She rose to widespread recognition for playing Tiffany Valentine in the slasher film franchise Child's Play (1998–present), which established her as an icon in popular culture and a scream queen. Since 1999, Tilly has voiced Bonnie Swanson on the animated comedy series Family Guy.

Tilly's other film appearances include Let It Ride (1989), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), Made in America (1993), The Getaway (1994), Edie & Pen (1996), House Arrest (1996), Liar Liar (1997), Music from Another Room (1998), Stuart Little (1999), Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000), The Cat's Meow (2001), Monsters, Inc. (2001), The Haunted Mansion (2003), Home on the Range (2004), and Tideland (2005). Her stage credits include the Broadway revivals of The Women (2001) and Don't Dress for Dinner (2012). She was the recipient of a Theatre World Award in 1993 for her performance in the Off-Broadway play One Shoe Off.

Tilly is a World Series of Poker Ladies' Event bracelet winner, the first celebrity to win a World Series tournament. In 2005, she won the third World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament. She was nominated for PokerListing's Spirit of Poker Living Legend Award in 2014, and as of 2019, her live tournament winnings exceeded $1 million.

Early life

Tilly was born Jennifer Ellen Chan in Harbor City, Los Angeles. She is the first daughter of Harry Chan, a used car salesman, and Patricia (née Tilly), a Canadian schoolteacher and former stage actress. Her father was of Chinese descent and her mother was of Irish and Finnish ancestry. She has an older brother, Steve, and two younger sisters, Meg and Rebecca.

Following her parents' divorce when she was five, Tilly was raised by her mother and stepfather, John Ward, on rural Texada Island in British Columbia. According to her sister Meg, Ward was a sadistic pedophile. Her sister Becky agreed but Jennifer did not comment on the issue. Her mother divorced again when Tilly was 16. The family then moved to Langford, a suburb of Victoria, British Columbia, where Tilly attended Belmont Secondary School.

Tilly holds a bachelor's degree in theater from Stephens College in Missouri.

Acting career

In 1983, Tilly had small roles and had a recurring guest role on Hill Street Blues as Gina Srignoli, a mobster's widow who becomes romantically involved with detective Henry Goldblume. She played Frasier Crane's seductive-but-ditzy date Candi Pearson on an episode of the fourth season of Cheers and appeared as a similar character on the eleventh season of Frasier.

She appeared as Garry's girlfriend on It's Garry Shandling's Show, which aired on Showtime. She was also cast as a high-end prostitute on the short-lived comedy Key West, alongside Fisher Stevens. In 1989, she had a prominent role in the comedy Let It Ride, starring Richard Dreyfuss. Tilly's breakthrough film role was short but memorable appearance as a waitress who fails miserably when auditioning to be a singer in The Fabulous Baker Boys, a role that was written specially for her by Steve Kloves. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Olive Neal, a hopelessly bad actress in Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway but she lost to her co-star Dianne Wiest. In 1994, she also had a small role in The Getaway with Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger.

Tilly at the 2007 World Poker Tour

Tilly starred in Bound (1996), directed by The Wachowskis, which portrays a lesbian relationship her character has with Gina Gershon. She played Samantha Cole in the Jim Carrey comedy Liar Liar (1997). In Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000), she played a stripper and part-time dominatrix. She portrayed gossip columnist Louella Parsons in the Peter Bogdanovich historical drama The Cat's Meow (2001).

She gained additional popularity around that time for her portrayal of serial killer Tiffany Valentine in several of the Child's Play horror movie series. The character was first introduced in the fourth installment of the franchise, Bride of Chucky (1998), and subsequently appeared in Seed of Chucky (2004), Curse of Chucky (2013), Cult of Chucky (2017), and the television series Chucky (2021). In Seed of Chucky, she plays a dual role, providing the voice for Tiffany and also playing an exaggerated version of herself. The performance earned her nominations for the Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Actress and the MTV Movie Award for Best Scared-As-Shit Performance. She reprises the role in every subsequent appearance.

In 2001, she starred as Crystal Allen in the Broadway revival of The Women. In 2002 she played Fanny Minafer in the made-for-TV remake of Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons.

She is a semi-regular cast member on Family Guy, voicing the Griffin family's neighbor, Bonnie Swanson. She has also done voice-over work for the films Monsters, Inc., Stuart Little and Home on the Range, as well as the children's series Hey Arnold!. In Disney's The Haunted Mansion, she portrays Madame Leota (a head in a crystal ball). She has been active in the theatre, winning a Theater World Award for her performance in the off-Broadway play One Shoe Off.

She had a starring role on the sitcom Out of Practice, which starred Henry Winkler and Stockard Channing. The series was cancelled in May 2006. About this time, Tilly started dividing her time between her film career and professional poker. By the end of 2008, she returned to her film and television career. In 2009, Tilly made her Chinese film debut in the Christina Yao film Empire of Silver playing Mrs. Landdeck.

In 2012, she returned to Broadway in Don't Dress for Dinner, garnering an Audience Choice Award nomination for her portrayal of mistress Suzanne. In 2013, she starred in the Wallace Shawn/Andre Gregory collaboration Grasses of a Thousand Colors which premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2009 and then moved to the Joseph Papp Theater in 2013. She regularly appeared in the comedy revue Celebrity Autobiography.

Poker career

Jennifer Tilly
Jennifer Tilly2005.jpg
Tilly after her win at the 2005 World Series of Poker $1,000 Ladies Only Event – No Limit Hold'em
Nickname(s) The Unabombshell, J Tilla the Killa
Residence Los Angeles, California
World Series of Poker
Bracelet(s) 1
Money finish(es) 20
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
World Poker Tour
Title(s) None
Final table(s) None
Money finish(es) 6
Information accurate as of 28 October 2021.

Jennifer Tilly's father was a gambler and a poker player, and gave her the video game World Series of Poker. She subsequently was taught the real game by her boyfriend when she moved to Hollywood.

On June 27, 2005, Tilly won a World Series of Poker bracelet (and $158,625) in the Ladies' No-Limit Texas hold 'em event, beating 600 other players. She followed up this accomplishment on September 1, 2005, by winning the third World Poker Tour Ladies Invitational Tournament held at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, a suburb of Los Angeles. Tilly has appeared in the GSN Poker Royale series. Tilly played in the Celebrity Poker Showdown which aired June 14, 2006, on Bravo. She came in third place after being beaten by Bravo's online poker champion Ida Siconolfi. She also participated in the Poker After Dark show.

When playing poker on television, Tilly often wears low-cut tops with push-up bras that expose considerable cleavage in order to "look cute", but noted that "if people are really playing poker, they don't care. Nothing looks better to them than a pair of aces. They're not looking at your pair. They're looking at their pair." Tilly appears in the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions 2007 Edition video game, along with her boyfriend Phil Laak, which was released in 2007 by Activision.

In a television interview in 2005, Tilly stated that at that point in her career she was more interested in pursuing poker than acting. By December 2008, Tilly announced her retirement from poker as a career. In her monthly column in Bluff Magazine, she said: "I love poker but greatness in poker is an elusive dream. There are too many variants. Trying to find validation in poker is like trying to find a virgin in a whorehouse. I'm not giving up poker entirely – gambling is an addiction after all. I'm just going to treat it more like a hobby and less like a career."

In January 2010, she resumed her poker career. She was nominated for PokerListing's Spirit of Poker Living Legend Award in 2014, and as of July 2019, her live tournament winnings exceeded $1 million.

Personal life

Tilly was married to Sam Simon, developer and producer of The Simpsons, from 1984 until 1991. As of 2018, Tilly receives 30 percent of net proceeds that Simon’s estate receives from Fox. She has been in a relationship with professional poker player Phil Laak since 2004.



Year Title Role Notes
1984 No Small Affair Mona
1985 Moving Violations Amy Hopkins
1986 Inside Out Amy
1987 He's My Girl Lisa
1988 Remote Control Allegra James
Johnny Be Good Connie Hisler
Rented Lips Mona Lisa
High Spirits Miranda
1989 Far from Home Amy
Let It Ride Vicki
The Fabulous Baker Boys Blanche "Monica" Moran
1991 The Doors Okie Girl Uncredited
Scorchers Talbot
1992 Shadow of the Wolf Igiyook
1993 Made in America Stacy
1994 The Getaway Fran Carvey
Double Cross Melissa
Bullets Over Broadway Olive Neal Nominated for Academy Award
1995 Embrace of the Vampire Marika
Bird of Prey Kily Griffith
Man with a Gun Rena Rushton / Kathy Payne
The Pompatus of Love Tarzaan
1996 Edie & Pen Edie Piper
Bound Violet
American Strays Patty Mae
House Arrest Cindy Figler
1997 Liar Liar Samantha Cole
The Wrong Guy Lynn Holden
1998 Music from Another Room Nina
Relax...It's Just Sex Tara Ricotto
Hoods Mary Crippa
Bride of Chucky Tiffany Valentine
1999 The Muse Herself
Bartok the Magnificent Piloff (voice) Direct-to-video
Goosed Charlene
Do Not Disturb Cathryn
Stuart Little Mrs. Camille Stout (voice)
Play It to the Bone Ringside Fan
2000 Cord (also released as Hide and Seek) Helen
Bruno Dolores
The Crew Ferris "aka Maureen" Lowenstein
Dancing at the Blue Iguana Jo
2001 Dirt Hooker
Fast Sofa Ginger Quail
The Cat's Meow Louella Parsons
Ball in the House Dot
Monsters, Inc. Celia Mae (voice)
2003 Hollywood North Gillian Stevens
Jericho Mansions Donna Cherry
The Haunted Mansion Madame Leota
Happy End Edna
2004 Second Best Carole
Perfect Opposites Elyse Steinberg
Home on the Range Grace (voice)
El Padrino Sebeva
Saint Ralph Nurse Alice
Love on the Side Alma Kerns
Seed of Chucky Tiffany Valentine (voice) / Herself
2005 Lil' Pimp Miss De La Croix (voice)
The Civilization of Maxwell Bright Dr. O'Shannon
Bailey's Billion$ Dolores Pennington
Tideland Queen Gunhilda
2006 The Poker Movie Herself
2007 Intervention Jane
2008 Deal Karen "Razor" Jones
The Caretaker Miss Perry
Bart Got a Room Melinda
Inconceivable Salome "Sally" Marsh
2009 An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong Mrs. Rundell
Empire of Silver Mrs. Landdeck
Made in Romania Herself
2010 The Making of Plus One Amber
2012 30 Beats Erika
2013 Amelia's 25th Miss Celie
Curse of Chucky Tiffany Valentine Cameo, direct-to-video
Return to Babylon Clara Bow
The Secret Lives of Dorks Ms. Stewart
2015 Unity Herself Documentary
Rebel With a Cause, the Sam Simon Story Herself Documentary
2016 A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits Divine Direct-to-video
2017 Cult of Chucky Tiffany Valentine Direct-to-video
Ray Meets Helen Ginger
2019 7 Days to Vegas Jennifer
2020 Poker Queens Herself Documentary
2021 High Holiday Stephanie Cooksey


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Oh Madeline Laurie Episode: "Madeline Acts Forward at the Retreat"
1983 Boone Sonia Episode: "Words and Music"
1984 Shaping Up Shannon Winters 4 episodes
1984–1985 Hill Street Blues Gina Srignoli 6 episodes
1985 Remington Steele Eva Wilson / Blitzen Episode: "Dancer, Prancer, Donner and Steele"
1986 Stir Crazy Karen Episode: "Basic Straining"
1986 Cheers Candi Pearson Episode: "Second Time Around"
1987 It's Garry Shandling's Show Angelica Episodes: "It's Garry and Angelica's Show: Part 1 & 2"
1989 Moonlighting Nurse Saundra Episode: "Plastic Fantastic Lovers"
1992 Dream On Ryan Episode: "What Women Want"
1993 At Home with the Webbers Miranda Webber Television film
1993 Key West Savannah Sumner 13 episodes
1994 Heads Tina Abbot Television film
1997 Gun Phyllis Episode: "All the President's Women"
1997 Bella Mafia Moyra Luciano Television film
1999–present Family Guy Bonnie Swanson (voice) Recurring role
2000 Hey Arnold! Lola (voice) Episode: "Suspended/Ernie in Love"
2000–2003 Scruff Tricks (voice) Main role
2001 Sister Mary Explains It All Philomena Rostovich Television film
2001 The Kid Waitress (voice) Television film
2002 The Magnificent Ambersons Fanny Minafer Television film
2002 Stage on Screen: The Women Crystal Allen Television film
2004 Frasier Kim Episode: "Miss Right Now"
2005–2006 Out of Practice Crystal 14 episodes
2006 The Initiation of Sarah Dr. Eugenia Hunter Television film
2009 The Cleveland Show Bonnie Swanson (voice) Pilot episode
2010 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Terpsie Pratt Episode: "Take My Life, Please!"
2011 Drop Dead Diva Ginny Episode: "Dream Big"
2011–2014 Modern Family Darlene 2 episodes
2012 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself – Guest Judge Episode: "Frenemies"
2012 The Simpsons Herself (voice) Episode: "Gone Abie Gone"
2013–2014 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja Amanda Levay / The Sorcereress (voice) 2 episodes
2015 Spun Out Maggie Felgate Episode: "The Secret of My Ex-Wife's Success"
2018 SuperMansion Marjorie (voice) Episode: "A Prayer for Mister T: A SuperMansion Thanksgiving Special"
2020 JJ Villard's Fairy Tales Little Red Riding Hood (voice) Episode: "Little Red Riding Hood"
2020 The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Herself - Guest Episode: "Secrets Revealed"
2021 Calls Mother (voice) Episode: "The Beginning"
2021 Monsters at Work Celia Mae (voice) Main role
2021– Chucky Tiffany Valentine / Herself (voice) Recurring role
2022 Bee and PuppyCat: Lazy In Space Violet Guest
2022 Queer for Fear: The History of Queer Horror Herself Docuseries


Year Title Role Notes
2017 Kevin Pollak's Chat Show Herself/Guest Episode: "335"

Video games

Year Title Voice role
2014 Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff Bonnie Swanson

Awards and nominations

Acting awards

Year Awards Category Nominated work Result
1989 CableACE Award Best Actress in a Comedy Series It's Garry Shandling's Show Nominated
1993 Theatre World Award Outstanding Newcomer One Shoe Off Won
1994 Awards Circuit Community Award Best Cast Ensemble (shared with the cast) Bullets Over Broadway Nominated
1995 Academy Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
American Comedy Award Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
Gemini Award Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-series Heads Nominated
1997 Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Bound Nominated
Fantasporto Film Festival Best Actress Won
MTV Movie Award Best Kiss (shared with Gina Gershon) Nominated
1998 Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Supporting Actress - Comedy Liar Liar Nominated
1999 Saturn Award Best Actress Bride of Chucky Nominated
2000 Fantafestival Best Actress Won
2001 DVD Exclusive Award Best Actress in a DVD Premiere Movie Ball in the House Won
2004 Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Actress Seed of Chucky 3rd place
MTV Movie Award Best Frightened Performance Nominated
2006 GLAAD Media Award Golden Gate Award Herself Honoured
Asheville Film Festival Career Achievement Award Honoured
2007 San Diego Film Festival Best Actress Intervention Won
2008 Florida Film Festival Artistic Achievement Herself Honoured
2010 TheWIFTS Foundation International Visionary Award Barbara Tipple Award for Best Actress Intervention and Inconceivable Won
2015 Behind the Voice Actors Award Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Guest Role - Action/Drama Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja Nominated
2021 Garden State Film Festival Best Ensemble (Feature) (shared with the cast) 7 Days to Vegas Won
2022 Saturn Award Best Guest-Starring Performance: Network / Cable Series Chucky Won

In addition, she received Drama-Logue Awards for her work in the theater plays Vanities and One Shoe Off.

Poker awards

  • World Series of Poker Bracelet: In 2005, Tilly won the $1,000 Ladies' No Limit Hold'em; the prize was $158,335.
  • CardPlayer Best Celebrity Player of the Year, 2005
  • WPT Ladies Invitational Tournament, 2005 ($25,000)
  • WPT Bellagio Cup 5K, 2010 ($124,455)
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