Jennifer Tilly

by Lil Vacha on October 14, 2009

14th Annual Race to Erase MS Themed "Dance to Erase MS"

Birth Name: Jennifer Ellen Chan

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Birth: September 16, 1958

*Chinese (father)
*Finnish, Irish (mother)

Jennifer Tilly is an American/Canadian actress and poker player. She is the sister of actress Meg Tilly. Her father, Harry Chan, a car salesman, was of Chinese descent. Her mother, Patricia Ann Tilly, a Canadian teacher and actress, had Irish, Finnish, and possibly First Nations, ancestry. Her birth surname was Chan, but after her parents’ divorce, her name was changed to her mother’s maiden name, Tilly. Jennifer was raised mostly in British Columbia, Canada.

Jennifer’s sister Meg has said:

My mother was Irish/Finnish. Unfortunately, we were not raised to respect our Chinese history and tradition. My mother and father divorced in 1963, when I was three. My mother was quite bitter… We were told that we must never tell anyone that we were half Chinese, because if people knew they wouldn’t let their children play with us… for many years, I had my mother’s warnings echoing in my ears. I didn’t tell anyone. I was grown, but still, I was scared. Thought it would limit me, the roles I would be offered. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I started to tell the people closest to me. When they didn’t run in horror, I got braver and spoke of it more. What a relief it was to finally acknowledge all of me.

Source: The Independent –

Elizabeth Taylor's Jewelry Auction

Photos by

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Pegzi November 2, 2017 at 12:57 pm

Seriously someone delete my fucking account. I’m sick of this site.

madman September 25, 2017 at 6:31 am

Daughter of Patricia Ann Tilly, a teacher and former actress, and Harry Chan, a car salesman. Her mother is Canadian.

Is there a source for her mother’s ancestry?

follers September 25, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Yes. The Independent was already cited, too.

madman September 25, 2017 at 2:06 pm

That article didn’t mention Irish and Finnish.

madman November 3, 2017 at 3:12 am
Pegzi June 1, 2017 at 7:45 am

is her native ancestry documented/varified?

Pegzi May 17, 2017 at 2:19 am

She’s beautiful

phaedra April 14, 2016 at 11:54 pm

Doesn’t look Asian at all?

cwm85 August 2, 2016 at 2:49 pm

You definitely blind, she looks really Eurasian

neiltennant November 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm

i would agree with phaedra

she could easily pass for other ethnicities

Sigourney Weaver for example looks similar but has no asian

LucarioCooper September 12, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Kind of looks like Caitlyn Jenner. Kind of doesn’t.

xoxo August 26, 2015 at 11:55 pm

You can tell she’s mixed with Asian, but she looks a quarter Asian instead of half.

cwm85 September 12, 2015 at 7:48 pm

Looks half.

xoxo October 29, 2015 at 6:11 am

Not at all, she looks predominately white. A lot of people never knew she was part Asian until she outed herself.

cwm85 October 29, 2015 at 8:58 am

She clearly looks half Asian. Look at those eyes… people were blind and gave her a pass.

cwm85 July 27, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Her ethnicity has really been overlooked over the years. Actually good for her sense she would be probably type casted. She and Dwayne Johnson have been fortunate to be given a variety of roles despite their non European background. I recall seeing Liar, Liar and I thought then there was something different about her than the other whites in the film. There’s out she’s half Chinese.

WTF October 22, 2014 at 12:13 pm

I found out she was half Asian like a couple of years ago. She just looked white to me….

Grace December 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Correction. Jennifer Tilly is Canadian from British Columbia and she is part First Nations Canadian not Native American

andrew June 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm

My fav Finn

andrew June 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm

more, coz NA are Asian too

danielle April 2, 2012 at 1:37 am

I had no idea she had mixed heritage when she had very blonde/white hair but in this picture she does look mixed. She is very pretty.

me March 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm

She is a Eurasian who looks better with blonde hair.

smiley June 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm
me November 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm

No,with black hair she just a regular eurasian,with blonde hair is more difficult guess what’s her ethnicity,she looks more “exotic”

NANAN November 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm


aps August 29, 2011 at 11:18 am

Her mother is of Irish, Native-American and Finnish ancestry.

Mark August 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm


Jessica Garcia-De Rivera June 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Someone told me she was Mexican,Japanese, Spanish,Italian!
lol she was off to be honest Chinese/White make more sense.

centertex March 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm

She and her sister look it.

ash March 19, 2011 at 10:20 am

whoa shes half chinese???? wowww i could never tell

WTF October 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Ikr? I thought the same thing. She’s definitely white-passing. It’s strange how there’s this spectrum of Hapa people, some look straight up Asian and some look straight up white.

TheCoolGirl December 1, 2010 at 8:53 am

Wtf. Wow someone was definitely passing.

Also, when I first clicked this page, I thought that it was Leah Remini because of the photo.

Fuzzybear April 18, 2010 at 3:22 pm
Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 1:13 pm

i see alot of chinese in her i dnt see no white,i mean look at her eyes

Anonymous April 18, 2010 at 1:12 pm

i knew it!lol

ethnic January 8, 2010 at 2:14 am

She seems to have inherited more of her mother’s caucasian features.


clart kent January 6, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Chinese? This is suprising. I thought that maybe she was mixed with something, maybe spanish/italian. But chinese is suprising for sure.

Previous post:

Next post: