Jill Hennessy

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Jill Hennessy
Jillian Noel Hennessy

(1968-11-25) November 25, 1968 (age 54)
Occupation(s)Actress, singer
Years active1988–present
Paolo Mastropietro
(m. 2000)

Jillian Noel Hennessy (born November 25, 1968) is a Canadian actress and singer. She is most known for her roles on the American television series Law & Order, on which she played prosecutor Claire Kincaid for three seasons, and Crossing Jordan, on which she played the lead character, Jordan Cavanaugh, for six seasons. She has also acted in films such as RoboCop 3 and Most Wanted, and the independent films Chutney Popcorn and The Acting Class, the latter of which she also wrote and co-directed.

Early life[edit]

Hennessy was born in Edmonton, Alberta. Her father, John Hennessy, was a meat salesman and sales/marketing executive, a job that required considerable travel and resulted in frequent moves for the family. Her mother, Maxine, a secretary, left the family in 1982, leaving her daughter to be partially raised by her paternal grandmother, Eleanor, in Kitchener, Ontario.[1] She has a younger brother, John Paul "J.P." Hennessy, Jr., and an identical twin sister, Jacqueline, who is a magazine writer and TV show host in Canada. Hennessy has Irish, French, Swedish and Italian ancestry on her father's side, and mostly Ukrainian Roma, as well as Austrian, ancestry on her mother's.[2] She attended Stanley Park Senior Public School and graduated from Grand River Collegiate Institute, both in Kitchener, Ontario,[3] and used to busk in the Toronto subway.[4]


Hennessy in 2008

Hennessy and her sister made their acting debut playing twin call girls in 1988's Dead Ringers. She was short listed for the role of Dana Scully on The X-Files according to Gillian Anderson, the actress who eventually got the role.[5]

She appeared on Broadway in the musical Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story in 1990.

In 1993, she appeared as Dr. Marie Lazarus in RoboCop 3.

Hennesey's big network breakthrough came in 1993, when Dick Wolf signed Hennessy as assistant district attorney Claire Kincaid in the hit NBC crime drama Law & Order. She played the role for three seasons, leaving the show in 1996.

In 1999, she appeared as Lisa in Chutney Popcorn. In 2000, Hennessy wrote, produced, and jointly directed (with Elizabeth Holder) an independent film mockumentary titled The Acting Class, which looked at the trials and tribulations of a dysfunctional acting class. The film co-starred her identical twin sister Jacqueline, and included cameo appearances from a number of Hennessy's former Law & Order co-stars. She also starred in the film Nuremberg, as Elsie Douglas.

In 2001, she portrayed Jackie Kennedy in the film Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot. That same year she appeared in a small role as Commander Annette Mulcahy in the Steven Seagal action film Exit Wounds, a car crash victim similar than the one in Law & Order. She received particular praise from critic Owen Gleiberman who said "With the right role, Hennessy might just be a movie star."[6] In 2003, she made a cameo appearance in the film Abby Singer. From 2001 to 2007, she starred on the TV show Crossing Jordan as title character Jordan Cavanaugh. She also played the wife of Tim Allen's character in the 2007 film Wild Hogs. On June 9, 2007, she received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

During sessions in Austin, Texas, Hennessy recorded the album Ghost in My Head,[7] which was released in June 2009. She performed as a guest of the Indigo Girls on a November 2009 show of Mountain Stage[8] and was the focus of a show for herself later that same month.[9] She performed on the Village Stage of the 2010 edition of Lilith Fair.[10]

Hennessy performing in 2015

Hennessy starred in the independent crime thriller Small Town Murder Songs in 2010. She also appeared as a veterinarian in the HBO series Luck, while serving as an endorser of Zaxby's "Zalads" in a pair of television commercials during 2012.

In 2015, Hennessy appeared in several episodes of Madam Secretary.[11][12] In October of that year, her second album, I Do, was released.[4]

In 2018, she appeared on the Michael Weatherly series Bull as the mother of the deceased hacker character Cable McCrory.[13] Also in 2018, she began the role of Senator Huntington on the series Yellowstone.

Personal life[edit]

Hennessy is multilingual, speaking English, Italian, French, Spanish and German. Hennessy plays the guitar and sings, and enjoys riding motorcycles with her husband, Paolo Mastropietro, whom she married in 2000. They had a second marriage ceremony in January 2001, which took place at New York City Hall with Mayor Rudy Giuliani officiating. Their son Marco was born in 2003, and a second son, Gianni, was born in 2007.

In popular culture[edit]

The Minneapolis-based band Mollycuddle wrote the song "The Ballad of Jill Hennessy" in honor of the actress.[14] Hennessy was reportedly very pleased and offered to perform with the band on rhythm guitar.[15]


Year Title Role Notes
1988 Dead Ringers Mimsy
1993 RoboCop 3 Dr. Marie Lazarus
1993 Trip nach Tunis Kathryn Darby
1994 The Paper Deanne White
1996 I Shot Andy Warhol Laura
1996 Kiss & Tell Interrogator Angela Pierce
1997 A Smile Like Yours Lindsay Hamilton
1997 Most Wanted Dr. Victoria Constantini
1998 Weekend Getaway Lily Short film
1998 Dead Broke Kate
1999 The Florentine Brenda
1999 Row Your Boat Patti
1999 Two Ninas Mike, The Bartender
1999 Chutney Popcorn Lisa
1999 Molly Susan Brookes
1999 Komodo Dr. Victoria Juno
2000 The Acting Class Amanda Smythe / Jill / Anonymous
2000 Autumn in New York Lynn McCale
2001 Exit Wounds Commander Annette Mulcahy
2002 Pipe Dream Marina Peck
2007 Wild Hogs Kelly Madsen
2007 Game of Life Brenda
2008 Lymelife Brenda Bartlett
2010 Small Town Murder Songs Rita
2011 Roadie Nikki Stevens
2012 Dawn Rider Alice
2013 If I Had Wings Sandy Taylor
2017 Don't Sleep Cindy Bradford
2019 Crypto Robin Whiting
2019 Standing Up, Falling Down Vanessa
2022 The Road to Galena Teresa Baird
Year Title Role Notes
1987 Not My Department Twin Makeup Artist Episode: "Let's Make Gold"
1988 War of the Worlds Patty Episode: "Goliath Is My Name"
1989 The Hitchhiker Marla Episode: "Striptease"
1989 The Hitchhiker Elisabeth Episode: "Pawns"
1989–1990 Friday the 13th: The Series Various 4 episodes
1990 C.B.C.'s Magic Hour Hooker Episode: "The Prom"
1990 War of the Worlds Scott Episode: "Max"
1990 Counterstrike Lex Episode: "The Dealbreaker"
1992 Flying Blind Lauren Benjamin Episode: "Crazy for You... and You"
1993–1996 Law & Order Assistant District Attorney Claire Kincaid 68 episodes
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (1995–97)
1996 Homicide: Life on the Street Assistant District Attorney Claire Kincaid Episode: "For God and Country"
2000 Nuremberg Elsie Douglas Television movie
Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
2001 Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot Jackie Kennedy Television movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2001–2007 Crossing Jordan Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh 115 episodes
Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
2004–2006 Las Vegas Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh 3 episodes
2011–2012 Luck Jo 9 episodes
2012 Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town Agnes Leacock Television movie
Nominated—Canadian Screen Award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film
2013 Jo Sister Karyn 8 episodes
2014 The Good Wife Rayna Hecht 2 episodes
2015 Madam Secretary Jane Fellows 15 episodes
2017 Shots Fired Alicia Carr 10 episodes
2017 The Blacklist Margot Rochet Episode: "The Harem"
2018 Crawford Cynthia 12 episodes
2018 Yellowstone Senator Huntington Episode: "Daybreak"
2018 Bull Ellen 2 episodes
2019–2022 City on a Hill Jenny Rohr 26 episodes


  1. ^ "Jill Hennessy Biography - Yahoo! Movies".
  2. ^ "Jill Hennessy chat". The Baltimore Sun.
  3. ^ Michelle Tauber (December 3, 2001). "Jill of All Trades". People. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "FNM Exclusive: Actress and Musician Jill Hennessy 'Used to Play Guitar in the Street For Money'". Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  5. ^ Shwiff, Kathy (October 13, 2013). "Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny Revisit the Origins of 'The X-Files'".
  6. ^ Owen Gleiberman. "Exit Wounds". Entertainment Weekly.
  7. ^ "Jill Hennessy.com".
  8. ^ "Indigo Girls On Mountain Stage". NPR. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  9. ^ "Jill Hennessy On Mountain Stage". NPR. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  10. ^ Gil Kaufman (December 10, 2009). "Lilith Fair To Feature Mary J. Blige, Colbie Caillat, Jill Scott, More". MTV. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  11. ^ Petski, Denise (July 20, 2015). "Jill Hennessy Joins CBS' 'Madam Secretary'". Deadline.
  12. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (July 20, 2015). "Jill Hennessy Boards CBS' 'Madam Secretary'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  13. ^ "Bull season 3 spoilers: Jill Hennessy signs on for significant role". July 25, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  14. ^ The Ballad of Jill Hennessy Archived June 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine audio
  15. ^ Pop of Futures Past Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Jon Dolan, Minneapolis/St. Paul CityPages, February 3, 1999

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