People Weekly '86
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Visiones Macabre '02
Meg Tilly - Young actress discovered by film director's wife and lands first movie role in six months flat... is this a classic Hollywood success story? Not quite - nothing about Meg Tilly is that conventional! Certain elements of the silver screen myth are missing; although a lot has happened in the last two years to the young actress featured in “Tex”, “Psycho II”, and “The Big Chill”, none of it was struggled for or even dreamed about. Meg’s dreams started off in quite a different direction.
One of six children (she has two sisters, three brothers), Meg was born in California and raised in Canada. She was almost a teen before she discovered ballet, which is late for a dancer to begin - but devotion and determination can make up for lost time. After high school, she headed for New York City - the Mecca for serious dance students. Meg solved the problem of where to study in a practical manner: She approached two girls - stance erect, feet turned out, dance bags in hands - and asked them where they took class! Meg’s training was cut short, however, by a serious back injury; though she would dance again, a dance career was ruled out.
Meg’s next move was no less adventurous than the one that had taken her to New York; One of her sisters had settled in Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, and Meg headed west to join her. With her sister’s aid, she began taking acting classes, had head shots taken, joined the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and began making the rounds. Were there years of waiting for the big break? Not exactly!
The cameras were ready to roll for “Tex”, starring Matt Dillon, but there was one female part unfilled - no one right for it had turned up. Then the wife of Tim Hunter, the director, happened upon Meg Tilly’s picture while leafing through the Academy Directory (a listing of all SAG members) and proposed her for the part. (P.S. She got it.) After “Tex” came two TV appearances; the costarring role opposite Tony Perkins in “Psycho II” and, more recently, “The Big Chill” which opened the prestigious “Who’s Who” of young American actors (among them, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, Mary Kay Place, and JoBeth Williams), and the filmmaking experience itself was a joy for Meg: “Lawrence Kasdan (the director) made sure from the start that everyone stuck together. They were all so talented - and so nice!” Besides her acting career, something else wonderful began with “Tex”: meg met her husband-to-be, producer Tim Zinnemann, and they were married in January 1983. (Is this a movie script?)
Twenty-three-year-old Meg’s life offscreen is a private one. With her totally natural appearance, she can still go places unrecognized - and she wants to keep it that way! (For those times when she wants to wear makeup off-camera, we helped her out: see pics below.) Meg’s clothing style is eclectic; she favors secondhand stores with period dresses. A slender five foot six and a half, she never weighs herself - “I can just tell by how my clothes fit.” She eats small, balanced meals and keeps in shape with warm-ups and routines that are all basically balletic. Meg dances as much as two to four hours a day, when her work schedule permits, and it’s obvious (pics at left) that all that ballet training has paid off!
For entertainment, meg and Tim go to the movies frequently. Meg’s parents didn’t allow her to watch TV, and they weren’t movie fans, so Tim is introducing her to classic films - “helping her to make up for lost time!” (His own cinematic roots go way back - famous director Fred Zinnemann is his father.) They spend as much time together as possible and join each other on location when they can arrange it. Sometimes it works out perfectly: Tim produced Meg’s soon-to-be-released film “Impulse” costarring Tim Matheson.
What’s next for Meg? “Good roles, I hope - I look forward to playing older parts, because they’re more dimensional than ingenues. I didn’t plan to act, but I’m glad I’m doing it - and I just want to keep getting better.” So far, so good! -- Marianne Mangan -