Meg Tilly

Meg Tilly at the 2013 Gracie Awards Gala, Beverly Hilton Hotel,

Tilly in 2013, photo by s_bukley/

Birth Name: Margaret Elizabeth Chan

Place of Birth: Long Beach, Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Birth: February 14, 1960

*father – Chinese
*mother – Finnish, English

Meg Tilly is a Canadian and American actress and writer. She is known for her roles in the films Tex, One Dark Night, Psycho II, The Big Chill, Impulse (1984), Agnes of God, Off Beat, Masquerade (1988), The Girl in a Swing, Valmont (1989), The Two Jakes, Leaving Normal, Body Snatchers (1993), Sleep with Me, Antibirth, and War Machine, on the shows Bomb Girls and Chucky, and in the made-for-tv movies In the Best Interest of the Child, Trick of the Eye, and Journey (1995). Her novels include Porcupine.

She is the sister of actress Jennifer Tilly (born Jennifer Ellen Chan). Her father, Harry Chan, a car salesman, was born in California, of Chinese descent. Her mother, Patricia Ann (Tilly), an Illinois-born teacher and actress, was of Finnish and English descent. Meg’s birth surname was Chan, but after her parents’ divorce, her name was changed to her mother’s maiden name Tilly. Meg was raised mostly in British Columbia, Canada, on rural Texada Island, and then in Langford, Victoria.

Meg is married to author Don Calame. She has a son, actor William Joseph Firth, with her former partner, actor Colin Firth; and two children with her former husband, producer Tim Zinnemann, whose own father was director Fred Zinnemann.

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.

It is not clear if Meg’s mother had Irish ancestry. She is also sometimes reported as having had First Nations/Indigenous Canadian roots. This is not accurate.

Meg’s paternal grandfather was named Harry Chan. Harry was born in Guangdong, China.

Meg’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.

Meg’s maternal grandfather was Ray Virgil Tilly (the son of Van Buren/Vanburen/Vanburin Tilly/Tilley and Elizabeth Tucker). Ray was born in Illinois.

Meg’s maternal grandmother was Ellen Anna Flinkman (the daughter of Jacob Flinkman and Josephine/Justina Adalina Maki). Ellen was born in Issaquah, King, Washington, to Finnish parents.

Sources: The Independent –

Meg’s father on the 1930 U.S. Census –
Meg’s father on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Meg’s maternal grandparents, Ray Virgil Tilly and Ellen Anna Flinkman, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Obituary record of Meg’s maternal grandfather, Ray Virgil Tilly –

Social Security record of Meg’s maternal grandmother, Ellen Anna (Flinkman) Tilly –

Washington death record of Meg’s maternal great-grandmother, Josephine/Justina Adalina (Maki) Flinkman –

3 Responses

  1. Pegzi says:

    How reliable is the first nations source?

  2. martin says:

    Worst picture ever.

  3. cwm85 says:

    Wow she favors her sister a lot. Tho her Chinese features are more pronounced than her sisters…

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