Birth Name: Jennifer Ellen Chan
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, United States
Date of Birth: September 16, 1958
*Finnish, Irish (mother)
Jennifer Tilly is an American/Canadian actress and poker player. She has starred in Bullets Over Broadway, Liar Liar, The Haunted Mansion, and the Chucky series, among many other films.
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. Her nephew is actor William Joseph Firth.
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.
Jennifer’s paternal grandfather was named Harry Chan. Harry was born in Guangdong, China.
Jennifer’s paternal grandmother was Enna/Emma/Eva Lum (the daughter of Bohim Lum and Gam Y. Lee). Enna was born in Taiwan, to Chinese parents.
Sources: The Independent – http://www.independent.co.uk