Ann Jillian is a three-time Emmy Nominee and Golden Globe award-winning actress, singer and motivational speaker. She is an accomplished performer in all areas of show business, having starred in motion pictures and television, nightclubs and the Broadway stage. Ann's interest in show business was fostered at age six by her Lithuanian-born mother when her family moved from her birthplace in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Los Angeles. After appearances on Art Linkletter's television shows, Ann obtained an agent. On her tenth birthday, she won the role of "Little Bo Peep" in Walt Disney's film classic "Babes in Toyland." Exactly one year later she played the memorable role of "Dainty June" in the film musical classic "Gypsy" with Natalie Wood, Rosalind Russell and Karl Malden. Ann obtained a scholarship to the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, which gave her a chance to study acting, music and dance with some of the finest teachers in the country. Ann received rave reviews for her Broadway debut in the original company of the hit musical "Sugar Babies" with Mickey Rooney in 1979. After "Sugar Babies," she headed straight from Broadway to Hollywood, a trip that has certainly proven to be worthwhile.
Ann has starred in over 25 television movies, films and mini-series such as: "The Care and Handling of Roses"; "My Son the Matchmaker" (which aired to critical acclaim and remained at number nine for a week in ratings); and "I'll be Home for Christmas" on CBS (which won the night in ratings and remained at number seven for a week). Other recent films include Warner Brother's "It's Him Or Us," a true story exposing domestic violence that was filmed on location in Utah, and "Heart of a Child" for NBC-TV, a true story about the first infant heart transplant. Some other TV movies Ann appeared in are "The Disappearance of Vonnie," a true story dealing with unique aspects of criminal law, and the romantic comedy "Fast Company." Currently in development at CBS-TV is a sequel to "My Son the Matchmaker." Ann's company, 9-J, is developing a two-hour movie of the week called "Pinned for Life," a true story about a mother who refused to let her son die. Ann has also co-written a script entitled "Keepers of the Light," a MOW pilot for a one-hour series.
In 1988, Ann won the "Best Actress" Golden Globe award for her role in the poignant NBC television film "The Ann Jillian Story." Award winning actor Tony Lo Bianco played Ann's husband in this autobiographical film. "The Ann Jillian Story" received critical acclaim as well as a tremendous viewing audience that made it the highest-rated two-hour film for the 1987-88 season. Most importantly, "The Ann Jillian Story" brought Ann's positive message about the hopeful side of breast cancer to millions of viewers.
Good Housekeeping magazine voted Ann Jillian one of the most admired women in the world. Ann's illustrious career also includes an Emmy nomination for her performance in "Ellis Island," a 1984 CBS mini-series starring the late Richard Burton. She also received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her starring role in "Mae West," a 1982 ABC-TV film in which Ann did all of her own singing. Ann lost both the Emmy and the Golden Globe to the late Ingrid Bergman that year, who won for her performance in "Golda." Ann considers it a personal career high for any actress to come in second to Ms. Bergman any day.
Some of Ann's additional TV films and mini-series include "Little White Lies," a romantic comedy filmed in Rome and directed by Anson Williams; "Original Sin," co-starring Charlton Heston; "Convicted: A Mother's Story," co-starring the late Kiel Martin; "Killer in the Mirror," co-starring Len Cariou; and the musical mini-series "Alice in Wonderland," co-starring Sammy Davis Jr., Kim Novak, and Eva Marie Saint.
Ann starred in the TV series "It's A Living," as "Cassie" the streetwise, wise-cracking waitress, and in "Jennifer Slept Here," as well as her own series, "Ann Jillian."
Her feature film credits include the hits "Mr. Mom" and classic musicals such as "Gypsy" and "Babes in Toyland." Her highly productive television career began when she was in her teens with co-starring roles in "Ben Casey," "Twilight Zone," and Walt Disney's "Wonderful World of Color;" she also played a semi-regular role on the hit series "Hazel," starring Shirley Booth.
Ann displays her three octave vocal styles on songs composed by the multi-talented Steve Allen on her CD "Ann Jillian, In the Middle of Love," released by AER Music Group. The Chicago Tribune raves that this CD is a "class act between singer and composer." Ann often takes her concert act to stages around the world. She sang with the L.A. Pops, Atlanta, Ohio, Oklahoma City, and the San Diego Symphony Orchestras. She made her third appearance with the award-winning Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Ann has performed on many concert stages in the U.S. and abroad; she was the first act to play the Hilton Hotel Casino down under in Queensland, Australia. She also has headlined regularly at Atlantic City's Trump Plaza & Claridge Hotels.
Ann was awarded the "San Francisco Cabaret Golden Award." She has frequently performed with Bob Hope (he says she's his favorite song and dance partner). During Christmas week in 1983 at a USO show with Bob Hope in Beirut, Ann sang the beloved song "Wind Beneath My Wings" to our troops for its national TV debut (she chose to sing this song long before it became a mega hit). She has performed on many of Bob's TV specials including his 80th in Paris and more recently his 90th birthday show.
Ann is a lifetime board member of the American Cancer Society and the St. Jude's Children's board. She is a volunteer performer for St. Vincent's Meals On Wheels (a program that delivers meals to the elderly). She also volunteers for babies with AIDS benefits, the USO, D.A.V. (Disabled American Veterans Hospital visiting program), MS, Y-ME Breast cancer support organization, and many other charities. Ann performs one of the most inspirational, motivational lecture programs on the lecture circuit today, titled "The Winner In You." It is filled with humor, music, and important life saving information about health, life, and the joys of motherhood.
Throughout her career, the talented Ann Jillian has avoided being placed into any one category. As an actress of great dramatic and comedic range, a singer and humanitarian, Ann continues to grow and make friends along the way.
With the birth of her first child in 1992, (Andrew Joseph H. Nauseda Murcia the 4th), Ann has become the first known celebrity to have survived breast cancer and gone on to give birth to a very normal little guy named "Andy Joe."
Recently, Ann proudly initiated & filmed a public service announcement on behalf of the State of New York to encourage taxpayers to donate some of their refund to fighting breast cancer by checking the new box on their state tax form. This is part of an ongoing statewide public service announcement campaign in the year 2000 & 2001 & 2002.
Ann resides in California with her husband, Andy, and their son, Andy Joe. In 1996
Ann's elderly parents moved into her home so she could take care of them. Ann has taken much time off from her acting work these past six years to devote herself to her family as much as possible. Sadly, her parents both passed away recently.
Ann's favorite role is that of being a mother. She often tells people that she believes giving birth to Andy Joe was the reason God allowed her to beat breast cancer. Ann has hosted numerous shows in the media and for various charitable organizations to focus public awareness on breast cancer issues and early detection. Since 1985, she has carried on a "one on one" correspondence with thousands of people who have contacted her regarding their own breast cancer. She is most gratified when she receives letters from those who believe she had a hand in helping them save their own life via early detection.
President Reagan presented Ann with the prestigious America Cancer Society's "Award of Courage" in an Oval Office ceremony, for her nationwide work to help others in the battle of cancer.
Ann recently guest starred on "Touched By An Angel" & "Walker, Texas Ranger," airing on CBS this 2000 & 2002 seasons.
In addition to her speaking engagements and music concerts, Ann has hopes of recording her favorite faith filled songs and to continue work on her writing projects.
Ann and her husband, Andy Murcia writes columns for a new web site designed exclusively for columnists. You can read their columns at www.thecolumnists.com