Lilyan Chauvin, 82 - Actress, Writer, Drama Coach

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Bob Feigel

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Jul 1, 2008, 1:38:17 AM7/1/08
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Lilyan Chauvin

August 6, 1925 - June 26, 2008

Lilyan Chauvin; Actress, Host, DGA Director, WGA Writer, Former VP of
Women in Film, Author, Teacher and Private Coach passed away at her
Studio City home on Thursday, June 26, 2008 after a 40 year battle
with breast cancer complicated by recent congestive heart disease

Twice nominated for the “Emmy Award”, (The Young and the Restless" &
“Baa Baa Black Sheep”) her dedication to the arts won her recognition
to for Excellence in moral quality media. She won the 1991 “Angel
Award” for the program “Hollywood Structured”, where she appears
weekly as the host for Cable Television with some of the top names in
show business. She’s well known for her portrayal of various
characters in TV series, soap operas, miniseries and feature films.

A long time veteran of the European stage, French-American character
actress Lilyan Chauvin is conceivably one of America‘s favorite silver
screen stars. To Horror fans she might be best known as the sinister
Mother Superior in “Silent Night Deadly Night”, but to comedy fans
she’s more recently recognized for her appearances in “Ugly Betty” and
the long running television hit series “Frasier”. Chauvin is also
known for her roles in Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me if You Can”, the
Coen brothers’ “The Man Who Wasn’t There” and Stephan Hopkins’
“Predator 2” and she is also widely recognized for her role as Mrs.
Tremont in “Private Benjamin” and her role as Mrs. John Devreux in the
“Universal Soldier”. She held recurring roles on "Mission Impossible",
"General Hospital" and on "Falcon Crest" as Sister Jeannette.

Lilyan made her acting debut in "Letter from Cairo", a 1953 episode of
the decade running series, “Studio One” and the following year she
guest-starred in “Crusader”. She made her first credited motion
picture appearance in “Lost, Lonely and Vicious” in 1958 and two years
later starred in “Walk Like a Dragon”. In “Funny Lady”, Chauvin played
Mademoiselle with Barbara Streisand and other film credits also
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 played
Lil as a series regular on "Days of Our Lives" and also on "The Young
and Restless" during the 1990's and some of her more recent television
credits include “Friends”, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “ER”,
“Malcolm in the Middle”, “Alias”, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”,
“The X-Files” and “murder, She Wrote”. Chauvin’s earlier television
credits include the original “Adventures of Superman”, “Perry Mason”,
“Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “Dragnet” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”.
With hundreds of film and television credits to her name, Lilyan
Chauvin found herself to be one of the busiest character actresses in
Hollywood.

She was on the Women’s Steering Committee of the Directors Guild of
America and had 34 credits as a DGA Director. She’s 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 WIF’s Board Vice President.

Lilyan Chauvin was also one of Hollywood’s most prominent, sought
after, well known and respected acting and directing coaches in the
industry. Many of her original techniques became the platform for
successful educational programs and have been taught by world renowned
teachers including Margie Haber. As an author and educator she taught
internationally at seminars as a keynote speaker, lecturer and
adviser. Having a true heart for helping others she did everything she
could think of to educate and assist those who pursued careers in the
entertainment industry.

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.
The show’s star- studded guest list read like the Who’s Who in the
entertainment world. Celebrity guests included Jacqueline Bisset,
Henry Mancini, Danny Glover, Linda Gray, Anne Francis, Morey
Amsterdam, Al Burton, Roy Christopher, Nina Blanchard, Billy Barty,
Jeanne Cooper, Linda Purl, Betty Thomas, Joanna Lee, Barney
Rosenzweig, Mel Torme, Alexander Godunov and many more. The show stood
as the platform for this consummate actress and director in the
launching of both her successful video tape package, “Discover
Yourself Hollywood” and the book she penned, “Hollywood Scams &
Survival Tactics” where she shared a lifetime of survival experiences.
This culmination was a master course of works in the entertainment
industry; geared specifically to help young people avoid some of the
pitfalls, heartaches and heartbreaks of one of the world’s toughest
businesses. Chauvin also taught for over 10 years at USC and at UCLA
for two years. She produced educational videos and taught for many
years under L.C.J. Productions. She taught French to many actors
including Lauren Hutton & Richard Gere in American Gigilo, Jackie
Zeman & Tony Geary of General Hospital. For many years and continuing
until recently she ran the popular and long running Women in Film
Director's Workshop which drew countless names of prominent producers,
directors and actors alike.

Chauvin began her career working in broadcasting in France. Her
mother, Emilia Speltiens Zemoz was French and her father, Pantion
Pierre Zemoz an Italian provided Lilyan with just enough international
inspiration to view herself as a world citizen as she took her life
around the globe. 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.

Chauvin moved to New York on her 21st birthday and became a US
citizen. She 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.

Through her new relationships and connections she began landing roles
in New York television productions including TV’s prestigious Studio
One Playhouse. Soon after she traveled to Los Angeles where she
weathered the initial hard times at getting work and then began
working regularly in Hollywood film and television. She initially won
roles on films such as “Black Street”, “The Wreck of the Mary Deare”
and “Marathon Man” .

In the industry, Chauvin’s talents are respected equally as a director
and actress. Her Hollywood directing credits include theatrical
productions of “Last Summer at Bluefish Cove”, Effigies”, “Seacliffe
California”, “in My Minds Eye”, The Happy Time” and “The Deepest
Hunger”. She also helmed a musical called “Laughter and Love”.

Chauvin’s intense love of acting led her to help hundreds of others
create and expand their works as artists. Her directing expertise
together with her excitement about the directorial process and her
ability to impart that excitement and knowledge to others helped many
promising directors to fulfill that promise including Linda Gray, Iris
Dugow and Douglas Day Steward, just to name a few.
Lilyan Chauvin was a long time member and active supporter of the
Wilderness Society, Children's Hospital and the LA Camp Fund. She
established loving relationships with many types of animals and was an
animal and nature advocate for many years.

The beautiful, kind spirited, courageous and intelligent woman
credited her parents for teaching her to care, to love, to learn and
to pass it on. With her feet planted firmly on the ground Lilyan
Chauvin hoped for the best and made her dreams come true not only for
herself but for innumerable others. Chauvin’s life was a successful
journey - forever moving forward in spite of any challenge and
difficulty; an inspiration to all.

Lilyan was loved by many and will be missed by all. She touched the
lives of numerous people through her creative and inspirational work.
She was survived by family, friends and students.

--

"It's not that I'm afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens." - Woody Allen

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Wax-up and drop-in of Surfing's Golden Years: <http://www.surfwriter.net>
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