"I like someone who embraces life; who wants to be on a long journey, but has no particular plan or destination in mind. An adventurous man, open to the concept of living life in the moment." Jill Hennessy (on her ideal man).
Canadian actress Jill Hennessy is widely popular while playing A.D.A. Claire Kincaid (1993-1996), an idealistic, outspoken feminist and agnostic who became increasingly disillusioned with her job on the popular NBC court drama "Law & Order," and as the young, attractive crime-solving medical examiner Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh (2001-Present) on the long-running crime/drama series "Crossing Jordan." On the big screen, she could be seen in Dead Ringers (1988), I Shot Andy Warhol (1996), A Smile Like Yours (1997), Most Wanted (1997), Komodo (1999), Row Your Boat (2000), The Acting Class (2000), Pipe Dream (2002) and Dead Broke (2005). She will star in the upcoming films Oranges, Wild Hogs, and Walk Two Moons.
The 5' 8" tall slender, dark-haired beauty with an intelligent demeanor and an attractive alto voice who has Irish, Italian, Swedish, French and Ukrainian ancestry was voted one of the Fun and Fearless Females by Cosmopolitan Magazine (2002). Since 2000, she has been married to Paolo Mastropietro, a former bartender and occasional actor, and has one son.
Childhood and Family:
On November 25, 1968, Jill Hennessy was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She has an identical twin sister, Jacqueline (an actress, journalist and TV show host in Canada; Jill and Jacqueline played twin prostitutes in Dead Ringers (1988)), who was born three minutes after her. She also has one younger brother, John Jr. Jill’s parents, John Paul Sr. (a meat salesman and a sales & marketing executive in Canada) and Maxine (a cook and a secretary in Montreal) divorced after her mother left the family when she was 13 years old. Her grandmother, Eleanor Hennessy, subsequently moved up from Phoenix, AZ to help raise the girls.
Jill graduated from Grand River Collegiate Institute in Kitchener, Ontario. Having Irish, Italian, Swedish, French and Ukrainian ancestry, Jill speaks Italian, French, Spanish and German.
On October 1, 2000, Jill married Paolo Mastropietro, a former bartender and occasional actor. Along with her husband, Jill opened a tavern called Hennessy's Tavern in Northvale, New Jersey in 1999, which serves comfort food.
During her spare time on set, Jill enjoys practicing her acoustic guitar skills. She also loves riding motorcycles with her husband. The couple had a second marriage ceremony in January 2001, which took place at New York City Hall with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani officiating. They welcomed their first child together, son Marco Mastropietro, on September 17, 2003.
The Acting Class
"I'm a laid back, guitar-playing chick!" Jill Hennessy.
Beginning her career as a model at age 15, Jill Hennessy relocated to the Big Apple after graduating from Ontario's Grand River Collegiate. In the new destination, she managed to make a living by busking (playing the guitar and singing for money) in the New York City. She sometimes makes appearances at music events as a guest guitarist where she usually performs barefoot.
In 1988, Jill landed her first role alongside her identical sister Jacqueline as twin prostitutes in director David Cronenberg's acclaimed psychological horror film based loosely on the lives of identical twin gynecologists Stewart and Cyril Marcus, Dead Ringers (starring Jeremy Irons and Geneviève Bujold). Afterward, she worked mostly on the small screen, playing recurring roles in the syndicated TV series “Friday the 13th: The Series” and HBO mystery anthology series “The Hitchhiker.” She also made her Broadway debut as the Puerto Rican wife of the singer in "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" in 1990.
Jill became widely popular on television while portraying A.D.A. Claire Kincaid (1993-1996), an idealistic, outspoken feminist and agnostic who became increasingly disillusioned with her job on the popular NBC police procedural and legal drama "Law & Order." During her "Law & Order," stint, she was cast as a reporter in Canadian director Mary Harron's directorial debut, the independent film based on the true story of radical feminist writer Valerie Solanas and her relationship with pop artist Andy Warhol, I Shot Andy Warhol (1996; starring Lili Taylor and Jared Harris).
"I'm closing a chapter. It's bittersweet, but I'm psyched. Am I going to be begging for quarters in Central Park or doing what I've always wanted to do--feature films? Going into the unknown, that's my motif in life. I follow what my gut tells me to do." Jill Hennessy (on leaving "Law & Order").
After departing "Law & Order" in 1996, Jill went to support Greg Kinnear and Lauren Holly in Keith Samples' romantic comedy movie A Smile Like Yours (1997), as an architect tries to allure a construction worker, and appeared in David Hogan's action/thriller Most Wanted (1997; starring Keenen Ivory Wayans), as an eyewitness to a political murder. She subsequently starred as Kevin Zegers' young psychiatrist Victoria in Michael Lantieri's thriller/sci-fi film Komodo (1999) and as William Forsythe’s girlfriend Patti in writer-director Sollace Mitchell's romantic crime drama Row Your Boat (2000; also starring Jon Bon Jovi and Bai Ling).
Jill also showed her writing and directing talent in her all-star comedy about an exceptionally dysfunctional acting class, The Acting Class in 2000. The next year, she returned to the small screen to play the lead role of Jackie Kennedy in miniseries Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot. She also landed another TV series regular role, as the title role of the young, attractive crime-solving medical examiner Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh on the long-running crime/drama series "Crossing Jordan." The show, premiered in 2001 on NBC, had its Season 6 premiere on Sunday January 14, 2007.
"Remove the anger, and Jill is Jordan. She's not precious but down-to-earth and bawdy. Jill can run with the big dogs." "Crossing Jordan" co-star Miguel Ferrer.
During her long stint in the successful series, Jill joined an impressive cast for John Walsh's New York romantic satire Pipe Dream (2002; with Martin Donovan and Mary-Louise Parker), supported Vera Farmiga and Steve Buscemi in writer-director Peter Mattei's romantic drama comedy set at the height of the Nasdaq boom, Love in the Time of Money (2002), and shared the screen with Paul Sorvino and John Glover in writer-director Edward Vilga's crime drama film Dead Broke (2005). She also had a recurring role on NBC dramedy series “Las Vegas."
Jill just wrapped writer-director Joseph Merhi's drama film Oranges (with Tom Sizemore, Tom Arnold and Heather Locklear) and Walt Becker's biker comedy movie starring John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy, Wild Hogs. Besides busy filming "Crossing Jordan," Jill is also busy completing director Philippa Langdale's adaptation of Sharon Creech's acclaimed thriller novel, Walk Two Moons.
"I get paranoid when I know I'm going to be playing the same character for three years. I don't want to lose my acting muscles." Jill Hennessy.
- Satellite: Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television, Nuremberg, 2001