Lilyan Chauvin (August 6, 1925 – June 26, 2008) was an Emmy Award-nominated actress, television host, director, writer, former Vice President of Women in Film, author, teacher and private coach.

Her motion picture credits included Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) and Catch Me If You Can (2002). In the 1990s and 2000s, she guest-starred in shows including Friends, where she played Nonnie, Joey's grandmother.


Early life

Chauvin began her career working in broadcasting in France. Her mother was French and her father was Italian. 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, also in Paris.


Work on stage

Chauvin moved to New York City 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 European stage and 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 Playhouse. Soon thereafter she traveled to Los Angeles and found working in film and television.

Film and television

Lilyan 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. She appeared in the Barbra Streisand film Funny Lady. Other film credits 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, Mission Impossible, General Hospital and Falcon Crest. Other television credits include Friends as Nonnie, ER, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Malcolm in the Middle, Alias, CSI, The X-Filesand Murder She Wrote.


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.

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.

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

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, and Kevin Nealon. 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.

Honors & affiliations

Twice nominated for Emmy Awards (for The Young and the Restless and Baa Baa Black Sheep), 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.

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.


Lilyan Chauvin passed away at her Studio City home on Thursday, June 26, 2008, aged 82, following a long battle with breast cancer complicated by recent congestive heart disease.

External links

Lilyan Chauvin at the Internet Movie Database.

Lilyan Chauvin Home at

Lilyan Chauvin on YouTube at Hampshire West

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