Among the most popular names on television during her 80’s heyday, Ann Jillian is talking about getting into performing again now that her son is in college. The former child actress (“Babes in Toyland,” “Gypsy!”) who went on to series fame – and also memorably starred as herself in a TV film about her victorious battle against breast cancer – is fully aware, “I’m older. I’ve changed physically. It would be different. But I would love to go back and do a little work in front of the camera.”
She has continued to be active in the fight against breast cancer, and to use her own experiences as a motivational speaker. “Ever since 1985, I’ve been saying ‘Accept, adapt and move on.’ I have that view of life. That’s basically the way I’ve handled everything.”
Jillian recently made the publicity rounds on behalf of “Gypsy’s” rerelease as a remastered Blu-ray item from Warner Archive Collection. She started making that film on her 12th birthday, playing Dainty June, sister of Natalie Wood’s Gypsy Rose Lee.
“Rosalind Russell was the ultimate professional. She was helpful and warm. Natalie Wood was very sisterly,” she recalls, speaking of the way things were on the set. In true little sister fashion she remembers watching in awe as Wood put on makeup “with her pinkie in the air, and it was great.”