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: Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Birth: February 14, 1960

*father – Chinese
*mother – Finnish, Irish

Meg Tilly is a Canadian and American actress and writer. She is known for her roles in the films The Big Chill, Psycho II, and Valmont.

She is the sister of actress Jennifer Tilly (born Jennifer Ellen Chan). 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. 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, as well as two children with her former husband, producer Tim Zinnemann (whose father was direcotr 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.

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.

Sources: The Independent –

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

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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