Asian-American actor-writer of stage, film, and TV who gained national attention playing the quirky outspoken grandmother (several decades her senior) on the groundbreaking sitcom "All-American Girl" (ABC, 1994-95). Hill pulled off the illusion with the assistance of her doughy but expressive features, ample physique, and a flair for vocal and physical mannerisms. Her sassy asides were often the show's comic highlights.
The daughter of a native Japanese mother and a Finnish-American serviceman father, Hill experienced a lonely childhood growing up in rural South Dakota. Traveling to Japan as a teen, Hill attended the Sophia International University in Tokyo and worked part-time in radio and TV. Back in the states, she attended the American Conservatory Theater and became a busy voice-over performer and improviser in the California Bay Area. Hill became a West Coast stage fixture and performed her autobiographical one-woman show "Tokyo Bound" there before bringing it to the "Festival of New Voices" at New York's Public Theater.
Most of Hill's film and TV work has been in small character bits, often playing medical professionals and technicians. She appeared in several projects helmed by Wayne Wang ("Dim Sum: a little bit of heart" 1984; and the short "Dim Sum Take-Outs" 1988) and provided narration for two documentaries by Steven Okazarki ("Unfinished Business" 1985; "Troubled Paradise" 1992). Hill's TV guest spots include appearances on "Growing Pains," "Perfect Strangers" and "Beverly Hills, 90210."
Hill continues to work on stage and write. She has written scripts for "The Puzzle Place," a daily preschool series stressing multicultural values, that began airing on PBS in 1995. She also briefly returned to series TV in the short-lived Marie Osmond vehicle "Maybe This Time" (ABC, 1995). In 1997, Hill joined the cast of NBC's revamped sitcom "The Naked Truth" for its final season, playing a tabloid photographer, and the actress would continue to be a familiar fixture on the small screen, guesting on several series and enjoying recurring roles on "The Hughleys," "My Wife and Kids" and "That's So Raven." On the big-screen her comedic talents earned her scene-stealing supporting turns in films such as "Next Friday" (2000), "Max Keeble's Big Movie" (2001) and "Big Fat Liar" (2002), while she voiced Mrs. Hagasawa in Disney's animated hit "Lilo & Stitch" and nabbed other voice acting parts on TV's "King of the Hill" and "Jackie Chan Adventures." She had a major screen role as Mrs. Kwan, the nanny and rival to Mike Myers' Cat in Mrs. Kwan in the hyperactive "Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat."
Cast (Feature Film)
Sound (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Special)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Writer (TV Mini-Series)
Traveled to Japan at age 18 (date approximate)
Feature acting debut, "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart", directed by Wayne Wang
Narrated "Unfinished Business", a documentary directed by Steven Okazaki
TV acting debut, a guest shot on "The Tracey Ullman Show"
Appeared in "Dim Sum Take-Outs", a comedy short directed by Wang
First appearance in a major Hollywood movie, "Scrooged"
Acted in a recurring role on the ABC sitcom, "Perfect Strangers"
Narrated "Troubled Paradise", a PBS documentary directed by Okazaki about social and political problems facing Hawaii's indigenous population
Appeared (uncredited) in Wang's "The Joy Luck Club"
Became a writer for "The Puzzle Place", a daily, mulitcultural preschool series (aired on PBS from 1/95)
TV series debut as a regular, playing Grandma on the ABC sitcom "All-American Girl"
Cast as regular on the short-lived ABC sitcom "Maybe This Time"
Joined cast of the NBC sitcom "The Naked Truth"
Was featured in the East West Players production of "Follies"; played showgirl Hattie Walker who sings "Broadway Baby"
Appeared as Mrs Kwan in the film adaption of "Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat"