Attended and graduated from Belmont High School in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Older sister of actress Meg Tilly. She also has an older brother named Steve Tilly, and a younger sister named Rebecca Tilly.
Received her Bachelor's degree in Theatre from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.
Has one cat named Corky.
She has won a Theater World Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her work in Tina Howe's play, "One Shoe Off", at The Joseph Papp Theater. She also received a Dramalogue Award for her work in the play "Vanities". She won a Gemini Award for Best Actress for her role in Showtime's made-for-TV film Heads (1994), and a nomination for a Cable ACE Award for her work on It's Garry Shandling's Show. (1986).
Is an avid lover of fashion and has 400 pairs of shoes.
Lenny von Dohlen, who co-starred with Jennifer in Bird of Prey (1995) and her sister Meg Tilly in Leaving Normal (1992), said, "They have a fountain of emotion that keeps coming, even after someone yells cut, but the fountain comes from different bodies of water." He adds, "Meg is an ocean, Jennifer is a rushing river.".
In high school, everyone called Jennifer, Meg, and their younger sister Becky the Three Musketeers.
Ranked #23 in Celebrity Sleuth magazine's 25 Sexiest Women of 1995.
She has played a ditzy, sexy love interest for Kelsey Grammer's character Frasier Crane when he was trying to get over other women on Cheers (1982) and again on Frasier (1993) (though she was not playing the same character).
Her father was of Chinese descent and her mother's ancestry was Irish, Finnish, and First Nations. Jennifer was raised mostly in British Columbia, Canada.
In 2005, she won the Ladies-Only No Limit Texas Hold 'Em event at the World Series of Poker, becoming the first celebrity to win an open (as opposed to celebrity-only) WSOP tournament and earn a World Series bracelet. She beat out exactly 600 other women to take the championship.
Initially involved in Los Angeles Equity waiver theater, she was a one-time member for several years with Lonny Chapman's Group Repertory Theatre.
Followed up her World Series of Poker win with a victory in the World Poker Tour (2003) Ladies Night, to be broadcast during the fourth season of WPT.
Her real-life boyfriend is professional poker player Phil Laak (aka "The Unabomber"). They met at a charitable invitational poker tournament.
Formerly engaged to actor Lou Diamond Phillips.
Ex-sister-in-law of John Calley and Tim Zinnemann. Sister-in-law of Don Calame.
Her younger sister, Rebecca Tilly, is a post-impressionist painter.
Wore the exact same wig in Bullets Over Broadway (1994) and Return to Babylon (2013).