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Born : Ann Jura Nauseda
January 29, 1950 (age 63)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Years active: 1960–2000
Spouse(s) : Andy Murcia (m. 1977)
Ann Jillian (born January 29, 1950) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Cassie Cranston on the 1980s sitcom It's a Living.
Ann Jillian was bornAnn Jura Nausedain Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1950, although some sources mistakenly cite 1951. She was born to Lithuanian immigrant parents and speaks Lithuanian fluently. Jillian was raised as a devout Roman Catholic.
She has been acting since 1960 when she played Little Bo Peep in the Disney film Babes In Toyland. Jillian appeared as Dainty June in theRosalind Russell-Natalie Wood1962 movie version of Gypsy. She had several television appearances in the 1960s and 1970s, notably becoming a regular on the 1960s sitcom Hazel (1965-66 season) and appearing in the 1963 Twilight Zone episode "Mute" (credited as "Ann Jilliann") as the mute telepathic Ilse Nielson. In 1983, Jillian was honored by theYoung Artist Foundationwith itsFormer Child Star "Lifetime Achievement" Award recognizing her achievements within the entertainment industry as achild actress.
Jillian moved on to voice roles, for Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and Sealab 2020 in the early 1970s, but — told she was too tall to play youthful roles of the day and too young to play a leading lady — there was no more work for her in Hollywood. She took a department store job and studied psychology, but heeded the advice of casting director Hoyt Bowers and Walt Disney who had told her, "whatever you do, keep working at your craft".
Jillian married Andy Murcia, a Chicago police sergeant, on 27 March 1978, and shortly thereafter Murcia retired to manage his wife's career.
Murcia later partnered with Joyce Selznick in management of Ann Jillian until Joyce died of breast cancer shortly after.
In the late 1970s she toured in musical comedies including Sammy Cahn's Words and Music. After appearing with Mickey Rooney in the play "Goodnight Ladies" in Chicago, the producers cast Ann Jillian to appear in the original company of Sugar Babies on Broadway with Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller in 1979.
She also starred in "I Love My Wife" at the Drury Lane Theatre in Chicago.
Jillian appeared in more than 25 films, mostly for TV. Though she had nearly two decades' worth of film and television credits already, she first came to national prominence in the 1980s series It's a Living, a sitcom that elevated Jillian to sex symbol status in 1980. She was last to be signed onto this series and received last place billing. The show aired for two seasons on ABC before being cancelled due to low ratings and was sold into syndication for the burgeoning cable TV market.
Toward the end of her time on the series for the ABC run, she portrayed Mae West in a 1982 made-for-TV film. The supporting cast included James Brolin, Piper Laurie and Roddy McDowall. Jillian was nominated for a lead actress Emmy and Golden Globe for her performance.
In 1983 she appeared in the John Hughes movie Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton and Teri Garr. The same year she appeared in the mini-series Malibu, starring Kim Novak, Eva Marie Saintand James Coburn. That fall she starred in her own sit-com, Jennifer Slept Here, in which she played a ghost in a variation on The Ghost & Mrs. Muir. By this timeIt's a Livinghad become a surprise success in syndication.
In Philadelphia, 1984 Jennifer Slept Here ended, enabling her to take a role in the miniseries Ellis Island, co-starring opposite Richard Burton, Faye Dunaway, Ben Vereenand Liam Neeson. Dunaway and Vereen were nominated for Golden Globes and Jillian and Burton were nominated for Emmys.
Bob Hope selected her to appear in six of his TV specials, including two entertaining U.S. troops stationed in Beirut (1984) and Saudi Arabia (1991).
She displayed her athletic abilities on threeBattle of the Network Stars specials and a Circus of the Stars special and appeared in the charity extravaganza Night of 100 Stars. She guest starred in TV specials for Don Rickles(1986) and David Copperfield (1987) and was on the dais atThe Dean Martin Celebrity Roast for Mr. T (1984).
In 1985 she played The Red Queen to Carol Channing's White Queenin an all-star television musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. The same year the producers of It's a Living made the relatively unheard-of decision to resume production of the series, by then a couple years off the air, for the USA cable network, and Jillian was contractually obligated to return to the series.
Family and later work
The following year she starred in the series Ann Jillian, which aired 13 episodes on NBC in the 1989-1990 season.
Jillian had a son, Andrew Joseph, in 1992. She has continued to act, with ten TV movie roles throughout the 1990s, though her TV and film credits have been sporadic since the late 1990s, as she decided to devote herself to raising her son and to promoting breast cancer issues.
Today, she mostly works as a motivational speaker and also performs as a singer in corporate and symphony "pops" circles. She is an occasional guest columnist for the website
TheColumnists.com. She resides with her family in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
Battle with cancer
Prior to resuming production on It's a Livingin 1985, Jillian (then 35) made headlines when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and she became a vocal advocate for cancer research and prevention. Leaving It's a Living after the 1985-1986 season, she focused on beating her cancer, with treatment including a double mastectomy. Her battle with the disease was chronicled in the top-rated 1988 made-for-TV film,The Ann Jillian Story, in which Jillian portrayed herself. Jillian received her third Emmy Award nomination, for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special, and won a 1989 Golden Globefor Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV.
Film and television
1960 Leave It to Beaver Little girl Episode: "Wally, the Businessman"
1960 Shirley Temple's Storybook Little girl Episode: "Madeline"
1961 Babes in Toyland Bo Peep
1962 Wagon Train Sandra Carlson Episode: "The Hobie Redman Story"
1962 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Porche Sylvester 2 episodes
1962 Gypsy 'Dainty' June
1963 Twilight Zone Ilse Nielsen Episode: "Mute"
1963–66 Hazel Millie 12 episodes
1964 My Three Sons Debbie Rogers Episode: "The Ballad of Lissa Stratmeyer"
1965 Insight Maria Goretti Episode: "The Killer"
1971 The Partridge Family Second Girl Episode: "Days of Acne and Roses"
1972 The New Scooby-Doo Movies Unknown 3 episodes
1974 Kojak Joanna Episode: "Die Before They Wake"
1980 The Love Boat Rena Ward 2 episodes
1980–86 It's a Living Cassie Cranston TV series; 49 episodes
1981 Fantasy Island Delphine McNab Episode: "Delphine/The Unkillable"
1982 Mae West Mae West Television movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1983 Mr. Mom Joan
1983–84 Jennifer Slept Here Jennifer Farrell 13 episodes
1984 Ellis Island Nellie Byfield Television movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1985 Alice in Wonderland Red Queen Television movie
1988 The Ann Jillian Story Herself Television movie
Won—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1989–90 Ann Jillian Ann McNeil 13 episodes
1996 Our Son, the Matchmaker Julie Longwell Television movie
1997 I'll Be Home for Christmas Sarah Television movie
1999 Touched by an Angel Liz Episode: "The Whole Nothing and Nothing But..."
2000 Walker, Texas Ranger Senator Angela Rhodes Episode: "Winds of Change