Ann Jillian was born Ann Jura Nauseda in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1950. She was born to Lithuanian immigrant parents and speaks Lithuanian fluently.
Jillian appeared in more than 25 films, mostly for TV. She first came to national prominence in the 1980s series It’s a Living, a sitcom that elevated Jillian to sex symbol status in 1980.
During her career, she received three Emmy Award nominations. Her battle with cancer was chronicled in the top-rated 1988 made-for-TV film, The Ann Jillian Story, in which she portrayed herself. She received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special, and won a 1989 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for TV.