Lilyan Chauvin

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Lilyan Chauvin
Lilyan Zemoz

(1925-08-06)6 August 1925
Paris, France
Died26 June 2008(2008-06-26) (aged 82)
  • Actress
  • producer
  • director
Years active1950 – 2007
Spouse(s)Bernard J. Chauvin (div. 1953)

Lilyan Chauvin (/lɪliæn vɛn/;[stress?] née Zemoz; 6 August 1925 – 26 June 2008)[1] was a French-American actress, television host, director, writer, and acting teacher. A native of Paris, Chauvin began her career performing on French radio and onstage in England. She relocated to the United States in 1952 to pursue an acting career, and was initially cast in minor television parts before making her film debut in 1957.

Chauvin's career in American films spanned over 60 years, and largely consisted of supporting roles. Some of her credits include The Other Side of Midnight (1977), Private Benjamin (1980), the slasher film Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), Predator 2 (1990), and Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can (2002). She also had a prolific career in television, and guest-starred in such television series as The X-Files, Murder, She Wrote, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Friends, Magnum, P.I., Alias, Malcolm in the Middle, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., McCloud, Perry Mason, and Ugly Betty.[1]

In her later life, Chauvin taught acting and directing at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. She also served as the Vice President of Women in Film council. She died in Los Angeles in 2008 of complications resulting from congestive heart failure and breast cancer, the latter of which she battled for four decades.

Early life[edit]

Chauvin was born in Paris, Île-de-France, France,[2] to a French mother, Emilia Speltiens, and an Italian father, Pantion Pierre Zemoz.[3][4][note 1]

Chauvin began her career working in broadcasting in France. 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. She studied in Paris at the School of Cinema, and at the Jean-Louis Barrault School,[5] also in Paris.[1]


Early career and stage[edit]

Chauvin moved to New York City in 1952[6] and became a naturalized American 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.[1][6]

Chauvin's European stage and Actors Equity theatre credits include Macbeth, Medea, Silk Stockings, Camille, and Three for Today. She began landing roles in New York television productions including TV's prestigious Studio One. Soon after she traveled to Los Angeles and found work in film and television.[1]

Transition to film[edit]

Chauvin made her film acting debut in Letter from Cairo (1953), an episode of the long-running series Studio One. The following year she guest-starred in Crusader. Chauvin made her first motion picture appearance in Lost, Lonely and Vicious (1958) and later starred in Walk Like a Dragon (1960) and Bloodlust! (1961). She also appeared in the Elvis Presley films King Creole (1958) and Tickle Me (1965) and the Barbra Streisand film Funny Lady (1975). Other film credits include Yours, Mine and Ours (1968), The Mephisto Waltz (1971), The Other Side of Midnight (1977), Beyond Reason (1977), Private Benjamin (1980), Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984, as the sadistic Mother Superior), Born in East L.A. (1987), Bad Influence (1990), Predator 2 (1990), Angel Town (1990), Universal Soldier (1992), The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy (1998), Five Aces (1999), The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) and Catch Me If You Can (2002).

Chauvin was a series regular on Days of Our Lives, Mission Impossible, General Hospital and Falcon Crest. Other television credits include Adventures of Superman, Combat!, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Friends, ER, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Tyson, Malcolm in the Middle, Alias, CSI, Ugly Betty, The X-Files, and Murder She Wrote.[1]


In the industry, Chauvin's talents are respected equally as a director and actress. Her DGA directing credits include The Young and the Restless, But She Can Type, Celebration 75 and Windows of Heaven. Chauvin directed productions of Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, Effigies, Seacliffe California, In My Minds Eye, The Happy Time and The Deepest Hunger.[1]

Other ventures[edit]


In her later life, Chauvin became a prominent acting and directing coach in Los Angeles, teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California.[3] Many of her techniques have become instrumental teaching tools within 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.[1]

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.[7] 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.

Chauvin wrote Hollywood Scams & Survival Tactics, in which she shared many of her own experiences and survival tactics.[1]

She taught acting, multi-cam cinematography and directing for over 10 years at USC and taught acting/directing at UCLA for two years. Some of Chauvin's acting students were Raquel Welch, Suzanne Somers, Margie Haber, Carly Schroeder, Kin and Wil Shriner, Jennifer Runyon, Kevin Nealon and Rex Steven Sikes. She was a technical advisor and dialogue coach at MGM and worked as a dialogue supervisor/drama coach at Warner Brothers. For many years she ran the Women in Film Director's Workshop which drew large numbers of people from the various aspects of filmmaking.[1]

Still photography[edit]

Chauvin's work with stationary images included taking a photograph of author William Faulkner that was published in The Atlantic Monthly magazine and was to be used on dust jackets of Faulkner books.[5]


Twice nominated for Emmy Awards (for The Young and the Restless and Baa Baa Black Sheep),[citation needed] Chauvin won the 1991 Angel Award for Hollywood Structured, which was co-produced by Chauvin, Julie Johnson and Irene Lamothe. Chauvin appeared weekly as the host on this cable program with, among others, Jacqueline Bisset, Linda Gray, Morey Amsterdam, Danny Glover, Henry Mancini, Anne Francis, Carmen Zapata and others.[1]


Chauvin 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 was 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 the Board's Vice President.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Chauvin was married to Bernard Chauvin, whom she divorced in Florida in 1953.[6] She retained his surname for the remainder of her career.[6] In the 1960s, Chauvin was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she would battle intermittently for the following four decades.[1]


Chauvin died at her Studio City, Los Angeles home on 26 June 2008, aged 82.[3] Her death was attributed to complications from breast cancer and congestive heart disease.[3][2]



Year Title Role Notes
1957 Ten Thousand Bedrooms Reporter Uncredited
1957 Silk Stockings Sonia Uncredited
1957 Tip on a Dead Jockey Dolores Uncredited
1957 Les Girls Dancer Uncredited
1958 King Creole Catherine Uncredited
1958 The Perfect Furlough French Nurse
1958 Lost, Lonely and Vicious Tanya Pernaud
1959 The Man Who Understood Women Uncredited
1959 The Wreck of the Mary Deare Nun Uncredited
1960 Walk Like a Dragon Mme. Lili Raide
1960 North to Alaska Jenny Lamont Uncredited
1961 Bloodlust! Sandra Balleau
1961 Back Street Paris Airport Employee
1962 The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse French Prisoner Uncredited
1962 Two Weeks in Another Town Bar Girl Uncredited
1965 Tickle Me Ronnie
1968 Yours, Mine and Ours French Actress on TV Screen
1971 The Mephisto Waltz Woman Writer
1971 Machismo: 40 Graves for 40 Guns Kate
1975 Funny Lady Mademoiselle
1975 Medical Story Mrs. Goodman Television film
1976 Victory at Entebbe French Nun Television film
1977 The Other Side of Midnight Mrs. Page
1978 Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women Louise Television film
1978 Child of Glass Madame Dumaine Television film
1979 Portrait of a Stripper Yvette Television film
1980 Private Benjamin Mrs. Trémont
1982 The Junkman French Reporter
1984 Silent Night, Deadly Night Mother Superior
1985 Beyond Reason Nurse Johnson
1987 Born in East L.A. German Woman
1987 Right to Die Raylen Television film
1989 Listen to Me French Professor
1989 Death Doll Madame Zerba Voice
1990 Angel Town French Teacher
1990 Bad Influence Art Gallery Patron
1990 Predator 2 Irene Edwards
1991 For the Very First Time Sister Eugenia
1991 True Identity Police Station Woman
1992 Stormy Weather Mrs. Comden Television film
1992 Universal Soldier Mrs. John Devreux
1992 Round Trip to Heaven Chaperone
1993 No Place to Hide Mother Superior
1994 Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings Miss Ossie
1994 The Discoverers French Astronomer Short film
1994 Attack of the 5 Ft. 2 Women Coach Television film
1995 Tyson Camille Ewald Television film
1996 The Rockford Files: Punishment and Crime Ilovna Koblets Television film
1998 The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy Mashwah Television film
1999 Five Aces Grandmother Kalliope
2000 Missing Pieces Old Woman Television film
2000 Stanley's Gig Grace
2000 Skeleton Woman Bone Gatherer
2001 The Man Who Wasn't There Medium
2002 Duty Dating Dr. Hartley
2002 Catch Me If You Can Mrs. Lavalier
2004 Illusion Infinity Nurse
2004 Calling Hedy Lamarr Herself Documentary film
2006 Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film Herself Documentary film
2007 The Kopper Kettle Old Woman Short film
2007 The Brass Teapot Old Woman Short film
2011 The Passing Rebecca Naibert Released posthumously, (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1950 Kraft Theatre Villager Episode: "Kelly"
1953 The Goldbergs Mignon Episode: "Simon's Maid and Butler"
1953 Studio One in Hollywood Episode: "Letter from Cairo"
1956 Crusader Hedda Danzig Episode: "Rookie Cop"
1956 The Adventures of Jim Bowie Liane Trudeau Episode: "The Swordsman"
1957 The Man Called X Episode: "Passport"
1957 Adventures of Superman Anna Constantine Episode: "Peril in Paris"
1957 The Court of Last Resort Margarite Velez Episode: "The George Zaccho Case"
1958 The Walter Winchell File Minna Episode: "Flight to Freedom: File #36"
1958 The Californians Suzy Episode: "The Man from Paris"
1958 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Sybil Delamont Episode: "The Return of the Hero"
1958 Panic! Episode: "Fingerprints"
1958 Harbor Command Anna Meyerling Episode: "Sanctuary"
1958 Maverick Sydney Sue 'Frenchy' Shipley Episode: "High Card Hangs"
1958 Pursuit Episode: "Ticket to Tangier"
1959 Dragnet Episode: "The Big Thirteen"
1959 One Step Beyond Francesca Episode: "The Return of Mitchell Campion"
1959 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Fanny Durbach Episode: "The Peter Tchaikovsky Story"
1960 Richard Diamond, Private Detective Clara Episode: "The Mouse"
1960 The Law and Mr. Jones Francoise Episode: "The Long Echo"
1961 Thriller Mrs. Barrister Episode: "Man in the Cage"
1961 Klondike Episode: "Sitka Madonna"
1961 The Case of the Dangerous Robin Woman Episode: "Amsterdam Lapidary"
1962 King of Diamonds Renee Dubois Episode: "Backlash"
1962 Adventures in Paradise Foridita Episode: "The Baby Sitters"
1962 G.E. True Mrs. Trouchout Episode: "The Wrong Nickel"
1964 Combat! Fauvette Episode: "The Short Day of Private Putnam"
1964 The Rogues Paris Announcer Episode: "The Personal Touch"
1965 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Sister Episode: "The Fliers"
1965 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Madame Claudile Episode: "The Hong Kong Shilling Affair"
1965 Perry Mason Frau Zimmer Episode: "The Case of the Fugitive Fraulein"
1966 Daniel Boone Madame Simon Episode: "When a King is the Pawn"
1967 Mission: Impossible Mrs. Beruch Episode: "Sweet Charity"
1969 The Outcasts Silent Woman Episode: "How Tall is Blood?"
1970 McCloud Housekeeper Episode: "Our Man in Paris"
1970 Matt Lincoln Michele Barton Episode: "Angie"
1970 To Rome with Love Mademoiselle Roget Episode: "Fly Away Home"
1971 McMillan & Wife Madame Jarnac Episode: "Once Upon a Dead Man"
1972 The F.B.I. Episode: "The Hunters"
1973 Mannix Johanna Episode: "Out of the Night"
1973 The Magician Anna Episode: "The Vanishing Lady"
1973 The Bob Newhart Show Olga Episode: "The Fit, Fat, and Forty One"
1977 Black Sheep Squadron Sister Dominique Episode: "Poor Little Lambs"
1977 Man from Atlantis French Scientist Episode: "Pilot"
1977 Police Story June Spenard Episode: "Ice Time"
1978 Flying High Miss Simmons Episode: "Flying High"
1979 Visions Greta Episode: "Ladies in Waiting"
1979 Fantasy Island Selena Episode: "Nobody's There"/"The Dancer"
1981 Lou Grant Magda Episode: "The Search"
1982 Darkroom Madame LeClerc Episode: "Guillotine"
1982 Magnum, P.I. Maria, the Sicilian Cook 2 episodes
1982 Hart to Hart Maid Episode: "The Hart of the Matter"
1982 Diff'rent Strokes Zenashkaya Rokova Episode: "On Your Toes"
1982 One Day at a Time Nurse Episode: "Last Time I Saw Paris"
1983 The Facts of Life Marie Episode: "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?"
1983 Ryan's Four Episode: "Pilot"
1984 Masquerade Woman in Post Office Episode: "The Defector"
1983–1984 Falcon Crest Sister Jeanette 3 episodes
1987 Nutcracker: Money, Madness & Murder Miniseries
1989–1991 Hollywood Structured Herself/Host 64 episodes
1990 The Young and the Restless Lil 4 episodes
1992 Baywatch Dr. Lester Episode: "Shark's Cove"
1993 Café Americain Madame Dussolier 5 episodes
1994 Murder, She Wrote Dispatcher Episode: "Amsterdam Kill"
1995 Earth 2 Katrina Episode: "The Greatest Love Story Never Told"
1996 The X-Files Golda Episode: "The Calusari"
1996 The Pretender Mrs. Nikkos, the Greek Lady Episode: "Pilot"
1997 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Vedek Yassim Episode: "Rocks and Shoals"
1997 Saved by the Bell: The New Class Old Woman Episode: "Foreign Affairs"
1998 Maggie Stancho's Wife Episode: "Cats"
1998 USA High Farm Lady Episode: "Excess's Ex"
1999 Friends Grandma Tribbiani Episode: "The One Where Ross Can't Flirt"
2000 Shasta McNasty Sister Mary Episode: "Leo is a Pain in My Ass"
2000 Frasier Mama Episode: "The Three Faces of Frasier"
2001 The Beast Anna Episode: "The Damage Done"
2002 Alias Signora Ventutti Episode: "The Prophecy"
2003 ER Nurse Edna Episode: "Dear Abby"
2005 Malcolm in the Middle Marica Episode: "Ida's Dance"
2006 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Mrs. Aloyna Ivanovna Episode: "Loco Motives"
2007 Ugly Betty Isabella Episode: "A Tree Grows in Guadalajara"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Phantasmagoria Ethel Voice
2002 Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix Additional voices Voice


  1. ^ An article published in The Times of Hammond, Indiana, on June 3, 1963, says of Chauvin, "Her father, Pierre, although French-born, had become an American citizen."


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Biography". Lilyan Chauvin Official site. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b Lentz, Harris M. III (2009). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2008: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. pp. 72–3. ISBN 978-0-786-43482-4.
  3. ^ a b c d "Lilyan Chauvin Obituary". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 December 2017 – via
  4. ^ "Dorchester Music Hall Opens June 11". The Times. Indiana, Hammond. 3 June 1963. p. 6. Retrieved 15 July 2017 – via open access
  5. ^ a b "New French Beauty Seen Hit on Studio 1". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. 30 August 1953. p. 26. Retrieved 15 July 2017 – via open access
  6. ^ a b c d "The Private Lives and Times] of Lilyan Chauvin". Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Lilyan Chauvin Passes Away". TrekToday. 3 July 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2017.

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