Twice up for the "Emmy Award" nomination, "The Young and the Restless" (1989-1990) and “Baa Baa Black Sheep” (1977), her dedication to the arts won her recognition to for Excellence in moral quality media. As Producer & Director, she won the 1991 “Angel Award” for the program “Hollywood Structured”, Co-produced with Julie Johnson and Irene Lamothe where Lilyan appeared weekly as the host for cable television with some of the top names in show business including Jacqueline Bisset, Linda Gray, Morey Amsterdam, Danny Glover, Henry Mancini, Anne Francis, Carmen Zapata and many more. Chauvin is also well known for her portrayal of various characters in TV series, soap operas, miniseries and feature films.
A long time veteran of the European stage, French-American character actress Lilyan Chauvin is conceivably one of America‘s favorite silver screen stars. To Horror fans she might be best known as the sinister Mother Superior in “Silent Night Deadly Night I & II”, but to comedy fans she’s more recently recognized for her appearances in “Ugly Betty” and the long running television hit series “Frasier”. Chauvin is also known for her roles in Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me if You Can”, the Coen brothers’ “The Man Who Wasn’t There”, Stephan Hopkins’ “Predator 2” and she is also widely recognized for her role as Mrs. Tremont in “Private Benjamin” and her role as Mrs. John Devreux in the “Universal Soldier”.
Lilyan made her film acting debut in "Letter from Cairo", a 1953 episode of the decade running series, “Studio One” and the following year she guest-starred in “Crusader”. Lilyan starred in her first motion picture appearance in “Lost, Lonely and Vicious” in 1958 and later starred in “Walk Like a Dragon”. In “Funny Lady”, Chauvin played Mademoiselle with Barbara Streisand and other film credits also include “Yours Mine and Ours”, "No Place to Hide", Tickle Me”, “Born in East LA”, “Sublime”, “Round Trip to Heaven”, “Duty Dating”, “Skeleton Woman”, "Beyond Reason” and “Bad Influence”. Chauvin was a series regular on "Days of Our Lives" and "The Young and Restless". She held recurring roles on "Mission Impossible", "General Hospital" and on "Falcon Crest" as Sister Jeannette. Some of Chauvin's more recent television credits include “Friends”, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “ER”, “Malcolm in the Middle”, “Alias”, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, “The X-Files” and “Murder She Wrote”. Chauvin’s earlier television credits include the original “Adventures of Superman”, “Perry Mason”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “Dragnet” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”. With hundreds of film and television credits to her name, Lilyan Chauvin found herself to be one of the busiest character actresses in Hollywood.
She was on the Women’s Steering Committee of the Directors Guild of America and had over 35 credits as a DGA Director since 1979. She’s a member of Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild of America, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artist and Equity. Committed to furthering women’s causes, especially in the industry, Chauvin was a 39 year member of Women in Film. She served on the organization’s Board five times, twice as WIF’s Board Vice President.
Lilyan Chauvin was also one of Hollywood’s most prominent, sought after and respected acting and directing coaches in the industry. Many of her techniques have become instrumental teaching tools within in the industry and have provided inspiration to many other successful educators. As an author and educator she taught internationally at seminars as a keynote speaker, lecturer and adviser. Having a true heart for helping others she did everything she could think of to educate and assist those who pursued careers in the entertainment industry.
As the creator and show runner she co-produced and hosted the television series “Hollywood Structured”, a comprehensive guide to show business careers, Chauvin explored new facets of the industry each week through interviews with top professionals. The 64 episodes covered acting, directing, make up, documentary filmmaking, producing, music, comedy, cinematography, stunt coordinating, modeling, publicity, writing, dancing, sports announcing, production design, entertainment law, agency, casting, union, special effects and more. The show’s star- studded guest list read like the Who’s Who in the entertainment world. Celebrity guests included Jacqueline Bisset, Henry Mancini, Danny Glover, Linda Gray, Anne Francis, Morey Amsterdam, Al Burton, Roy Christopher, Nina Blanchard, Billy Barty, Jeanne Cooper, Linda Purl, Betty Thomas, Joanna Lee, Barney Rosenzweig, Mel Torme, Alexander Godunov and many more. The show stood as the platform for this consummate actress and director in the launching of both her successful video tape package, “Discover Yourself Hollywood” and the book she penned, “Hollywood Scams & Survival Tactics” where she shared a lifetime of survival experiences. This culmination was a master course of works in the entertainment industry; geared specifically to help young people avoid some of the pitfalls, heartaches and heartbreaks of one of the world’s toughest businesses.
Chauvin also taught Acting for Situation Comedy & Soaps, Multi- Cam Cinematography, & Directing for over 10 years at USC and taught Directing and Acting at UCLA for two years. She also produced educational videos as L.C.J. Productions and taught for many years as well known LCA Video Workshop. Some of Lilyan's former acting students include Raquel Welch, Suzanne Somers, Margie Haber, Carly Schroeder, Kin Shriner, Kevin Nealon and Will Shriner. She was a Technical Advisor/Dialogue Coach at MGM and worked as a Dialogue Supervisor & Drama coach at Warner Brothers. Chauvin taught French to many actors including Lauren Hutton & Richard Gere in American Gigilo and to Jackie Zeman & Tony Geary of General Hospital. Chauvin taught Directing to many successful figures in the industry including Linda Gray, (Dallas). For many years and continuing until recently she ran the popular and long running Women in Film Director's Workshop which drew countless names of prominent producers, directors and actors alike.
Chauvin began her career working in broadcasting in France. Her mother, Emilia Speltiens Zemoz was French and her father, Pantion Pierre Zemoz an Italian provided Lilyan with just enough international inspiration to view herself as a world citizen as she took her life around the globe. While under contract to a French radio station she had her heart set on becoming a lawyer; however her earnings soon exceeded that of her parents and she gave serious consideration to making show business her way of life. While residing in Europe she studied at the School of Cinema, Paris France and Jean Louis Barrault, Paris, France.
Chauvin moved to New York on her 21st birthday and became a US citizen. She studied with Uta Hagen and at the Actors Studio in New York. Chauvin also attended the Berlitz school of Languages and took in American movies every day to improve her English. Already proficient in Spanish, German, Italian and Russian, she soon became one of the school’s top teachers and they sent her out to coach actors in the accents they needed for various roles.
Chauvin’s intense love of acting led her to help hundreds of others create and expand their works as artists. Her directing expertise together with her excitement about the directorial process and her ability to impart that excitement and knowledge to others helped many promising directors to fulfill that promise including Linda Gray, Iris Dugow and Douglas Day Steward, just to name a few.
The beautiful, kind spirited, courageous and intelligent woman credited her parents for teaching her "to care, to love, to learn and to pass it on". With her feet planted firmly on the ground Lilyan Chauvin hoped for the best and made her dreams come true not only for herself but for innumerable others. Chauvin’s life was a successful journey; forever moving forward in spite of any challenge and difficulty. She was an inspiration to all.
Lilyan was loved by many and will be missed by all. She touched the lives of numerous people through her creative and inspirational work. She is survived by family, friends and students.
August 6, 1925 - June 26, 2008