Jill Eikenberry
Eikenberry in 1989
Jill Susan Eikenberry

(1947-01-21) January 21, 1947 (age 75)[1]
EducationColumbia University
Yale University (MFA)
Years active1970–present
(m. 1973)

Jill Susan Eikenberry (born January 21, 1947) is an American film, stage, and television actress. She is known for her role as lawyer Ann Kelsey on the NBC drama L.A. Law (1986–94),[2] for which she is a five-time Emmy Award and four-time Golden Globe Award nominee, winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series in 1989. She received an Obie Award in 1986 for the Off-Broadway plays Lemon Sky and Life Under Water, and was nominated for a 2011 Drama Desk Award for the Off-Broadway musical The Kid. Her film appearances include Hide in Plain Sight (1980), Arthur (1981) and The Manhattan Project (1986).

Life and career

Eikenberry was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and was raised in Madison, Wisconsin and St. Joseph and Kansas City, Missouri. She began studies in anthropology at Barnard College of Columbia University but in her second year she auditioned for and was accepted into the Yale School of Drama.

She met Michael Tucker at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., where they appeared together in The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail (1970) and Moonchildren (1971), the latter of which transferred to Broadway in 1972. She married Tucker in 1973 and they settled in New York City. She has a son, Max, and a stepdaughter, actress Allison Tucker (by Michael's first marriage).

Her first role in film was a minor role in the television movie, They've Killed President Lincoln (1971). Among her early feature films was Between the Lines (1977), directed by Joan Micklin Silver. She and Michael Tucker had small roles in Lina Wertmüller's 1978 success A Night Full of Rain, and she also appeared in An Unmarried Woman starring Jill Clayburgh the same year.

Throughout the 1970s, Eikenberry's main focus was on theater. She made her Broadway debut in 1974 in All Over Town, and later appeared Off-Broadway in Uncommon Women and Others, which was later filmed for American public television.[3] She also starred in the musical Onward Victoria (1980), which closed on opening night.

The 1980s saw a number of television films to her credit, and a major film success, Dudley Moore's star vehicle Arthur (1981). In 1986, she and Michael Tucker scored a major success by each securing major parts in the successful television series L.A. Law. They were given the roles by producer Steven Bochco, who had been impressed by the pair when he used them for two episodes on his earlier hit Hill Street Blues. For her performance, Eikenberry received five Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, and four Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, winning in 1989.[4][5] Jill and Michael moved to Hollywood at this time, and it was in this period that Jill discovered she had breast cancer, which was successfully treated over the next two years.

The event was significant in her life. In 1989, she co-produced a documentary for NBC television called Destined to Live, which featured interviews with cancer survivors like herself, including Nancy Reagan. She remains an activist for breast cancer research and early detection.

Eikenberry continued to appear in television movies over the next decade, while continuing her role on L.A. Law. With the financial success accruing from their L.A. Law work, Jill and Michael produced a number of television movies as vehicles in which they appeared together. They include Assault and Matrimony (1987), The Secret Life of Archie's Wife (1990), A Town Torn Apart (1992) and Gone in a Heartbeat (1996).

Since L.A. Law's run ended in 1994, her film and television appearances have been sporadic. One of her more recent roles was in the comedy Manna from Heaven (2003), in which she appeared with Cloris Leachman and Shirley Jones.

She has sung on stage and in films, and in recent years, she and her husband have written a number of songs. They currently reside in New York and Umbria.[2]

After meeting artist Emile Norman, Eikenberry and Tucker purchased land from him to become his neighbors in Big Sur, California. Becoming friends with him, they produced a 2008 PBS documentary, Emile Norman: By His Own Design.[6]

Eikenberry guest starred on Numb3rs in 2008, Law & Order in 2009 and Body of Proof (Episode: "Broken Home") in 2011. She played mothers on lead characters in films Suburban Girl (2007), Something Borrowed (2011) and Young Adult (2011). In March, 2015 Eikenberry co-starred with Tucker in The M Spot, a play written by Tucker and presented at the New Jersey Repertory Company.

In 2022, Eikenberry returned to her Ann Kelsey role in the ABC revival pilot of L.A. Law.[7]



Year Title Role Notes
1977 Between the Lines Lynn
1978 A Night Full of Rain
1978 An Unmarried Woman Claire
1978 Rush It Merrill
1979 Butch and Sundance: The Early Days Mary Parker
1979 Rich Kids Juilliard Student
1980 Hide in Plain Sight Alisa Hacklin
1981 Arthur Susan Johnson
1986 The Manhattan Project Elizabeth Stephens
1994 On Hope Woman at Church Short film
2002 Manna from Heaven Dottie
2007 The Happiest Day of His Life Penny Somerset
2007 Suburban Girl Marlene Eisenberg
2011 Something Borrowed Bridget Thaler
2011 Young Adult Hedda Gary
2015 Keep in Touch Barbara
2017 Humor Me Jill Eikenberry
2018 In Reality Aunt Doreen
2022 Chantilly Bridge


Year Title Role Notes
1971 They've Killed President Lincoln! Anne Surratt TV film
1977 The Deadliest Season Carole Eskanazi TV film
1977 The Best of Families Sarah Lathrop TV miniseries
1979 Great Performances Kate Quin Episode: "Uncommon Women... and Others"
1979 Orphan Train Emma Symms TV film
1980 Swan Song Anna TV film
1982 Nurse Episode: "On the Line"
1983 Sessions Maggie TV film
1984 Hill Street Blues Sarah Fimpel Episodes: "Mayo, Hold the Pickle", "Watt a Way to Go"
1985 Kane & Abel Susan Lester TV miniseries
1986–1994 L.A. Law Ann Kelsey Main role (169 episodes)
1987 Assault and Matrimony Sylvia TV film
1987 Family Sins Kate Williams TV film
1988 Mickey's 60th Birthday Mia Loud TV film
1988 ABC Afterschool Special Clare Foster Episode: "A Family Again"
1988 A Stoning in Fulham County Susan TV film
1989 My Boyfriend's Back Deborah McGuire TV film
1989 Cast the First Stone Diane Martin TV film
1990 The Secret Life of Archie's Wife Bunny TV film
1991 An Inconvenient Woman Pauline Mendelson TV miniseries
1991 Living a Lie Joanne TV film
1992 A Town Torn Apart Ellen Kreiger TV film
1993 Chantilly Lace Val TV film
1993 Tracey Ullman Takes on New York Jessica Stern TV film
1994 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Merf / Michelle (voice) Episode: "Where Have All the Monsters Gone?"
1994 Parallel Lives Lula Sparks TV film
1994 Without Consent Michelle Mills TV film
1994 Rugged Gold Martha Martin TV film
1995 The Other Woman Tessa Bryan TV film
1995 Dare to Love Alicia Wells TV film
1996 My Very Best Friend Barbara Wilkins TV film
1996 Gone in a Heartbeat Jan Hale TV film
1999 Chicken Soup for the Soul Episode: "No Less a Starfish"
1999 Batman Beyond Carter's Mom (voice) Episode: "Hidden Agenda"
2000 Strong Medicine Councilwoman Evelyn Barrett Episode: "Do No Harm"
2000 Judging Amy Sheila Townsend Episode: "Waterworld"
2001 Stop at Nothing TV film
2002 Roughing It Livy Clemens TV film
2002 L.A. Law: The Movie Ann Kelsey TV film
2008 Numb3rs Susan Doran Episode: "Atomic No. 33"
2009 Law & Order Irene Matson Episode: "Anchors Away"
2011 Body of Proof Lillian Parkson Episode: "Broken Home"
2021 The Good Fight Sharon Booth Episode: "And the Firm Had Two Partners..."
2022 LA Law Ann Kelsey Pilot

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Production Result
1986 Obie Award Performance Lemon Sky and Life Under Water Nominated
1987 Primetime Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series L.A. Law Nominated
1988 Primetime Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series L.A. Law Nominated
1988 Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series – Drama L.A. Law Nominated
1989 Primetime Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series L.A. Law Nominated
1989 Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series – Drama L.A. Law Won
1990 Primetime Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series L.A. Law Nominated
1990 Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series – Drama L.A. Law Nominated
1991 Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series – Drama L.A. Law Nominated
1994 Primetime Emmy Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series L.A. Law Nominated
2011 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical The Kid Nominated


  1. ^ "Jill Eikenberry | Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos". AllMovie.
  2. ^ a b c Fowler, Susanne (August 5, 2008). "In Umbria, Living Among the Olive Trees". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Page Not Found". ((cite web)): Cite uses generic title (help)
  4. ^ "JILL EIKENBERRY". Television Academy.
  5. ^ "Jill Eikenberry". www.goldenglobes.com.
  6. ^ Valerie J. Nelson (Sep 27, 2009). "Emile Norman dies at 91; artist created mosaic window for Masonic temple in San Francisco". The Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ Petski, Denise (March 11, 2022). "'L.A. Law': Jill Eikenberry To Guest Star In ABC Revival Pilot, Reprising Her Ann Kelsey Role".