Actress, Producer, and Cancer Survivor
Award-winning actress Jill Eikenberry is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Ann Kelsey on NBC’s long-running hit series L.A. Law. In addition to appearing in numerous television movies and feature films, Eikenberry has earned four Emmy nominations, two Golden Globe nominations and a Golden Globe Award.
Upon graduating from Barnard College in New York and Yale Drama School in Connecticut, Eikenberry embarked on an extensive theater career on and off Broadway, including roles in “Beggars Opera,” “All Over Town” directed by Dustin Hoffman, Wendy Wasserstein’s “Uncommon Women,” in which she also appeared opposite Meryl Streep in the PBS TV version, Tennessee Williams’ “The Eccentricities of a Nightingale,” “Watch on the Rhine,” and “Onward Victoria.” For her performances in Lanford Wilson’s “Lemon Sky” and in Richard Greenberg’s “Life Under Water,” she was recognized with Obie Awards.
Eikenberry made her feature film debut in 1976 in Between the Lanes opposite John Heard and Jeff Goldblum. She then starred in Rich Kids with John Lithgow; Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, Hide in Plain Sight, with James Caan; Arthur, where she played Dudley Moore’s jilted fiancée, and again opposite John Lithgow in The Manhattan Project.
Having conquered theater and film, Eikenberry turned to television, starring first in ABC’s Swansong, then in CBS’ Orphan Train and later, to many other popular programs including Hill Street Blues. Most recently she completed an independent feature film entitled Manna from Heaven, and has guest-starred on television series’ such as Strong Medicine, Judging Amy, and performed on stage in “The Vagina Monologues.”
After adding breast cancer survivor to her extensive resume, Eikenberry co-produced a one hour documentary for NBC entitled Destined to Live, which focused on the emotional aspects of breast cancer, from diagnosis to recovery. She battled the disease in 1986 and became compelled to convey the importance of informing other women that they were not alone in their fight and could recover to lead full, normal lives. Eikenberry is dedicated to telling her powerful story with humor and hope, always stressing breast cancer education, early detection research, and treatment. Destined to Live was honored with a Humanitas Award.
Jill Eikenberry and her husband, Michael Tucker, were enjoying the early years of retirement in their dream house, a beautiful 350-year-old stone farmhouse in the central Italian province of Umbria, when life reared its ugly head. Jill’s stepfather, Ralph, passed away, and she and Michael must leave the respite of the Italian countryside and travel westward to console Lora, Jill’s mother, and help her plan her future. However, after Ralph’s death, Lora began a rapid decline into dementia, and thus begins Family Meals; a poignant yet imminently relatable presentation that explores the impact and handling of a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. Eikenberry shares the intimate story of her family’s response to this unexpected tragedy and how it strengthened their loose ties to a cohesive unit, handling adversity together with compassion, practicality, and most of all, love.
Destined To Live: From Diagnosis to Recovery
In this unique, empowering presentation, Eikenberry recounts her extraordinary journey of battling breast cancer – from the initial signs of concern to the final stage of recovery and life reclamation. At turns stirring, humorous, heartrending, introspective, and defiant, Eikenberry offers bold testimony of how she overcame her fear, got involved with the decision-making process, and developed a positive approach to life and the grueling cancer treatment regime. Inspiring, entertaining and informative, Eikenberry provides powerful personal anecdotes and practical steps that comfort, provoke and transform audiences and those they love.