Her Father's Eyes.
Biography | Interviews | ResumePictures


    While her mother was pregnant with her she said in People Magazine 9/80, "I'll never give up my career for any man, woman or child. I don't believe in selflessness." But the baby will be close by. "Anywhere we go, the kid comes, too," she declares. Lilly was born 1/22/81. A year later in Rolling Stone they wrote: Mary rushes over to the baby, hugs her, tells her how glad she is to see her. When Gloria, the housekeeper, takes the baby back upstairs, Mary's eyes follow her until she's disappeared. "I tell you' " Mary says, "nobody can harm a hair on her head. It is amazing how passionate you feel about children. I just loved her so from the moment I watched her come out of my body. Malcolm was right there beside me, helping me do it. He kept staring in my face and making the pain go away. It was a very beautiful experience, not in any sort of bullshit way...just simple and lovely. That was the most powerful thing that ever happened to me." Listen, I make on one film what my father worked a lifetime to earn. It's ridiculous, and I don't begin to make as much as a lot of other people do. There better be some justification for that and it better come from me, when there are actors all over New York and L.A. who are hungry just to get a day on a film. I cannot take it for granted, because it seems like only a breath away that I might not have it. Those are some of the things I'm going to try to teach Lilly."
    She attended
Oak Grove School in Ojai, CA from 1984 to 1996, then went to the Crossroads School Santa Monica, CA from 1996 to 1998 and finished her education in Wesleyan University Middletown, CT from 1998 to 2002 with a Bachelor's Degree in Film Studies.
    In 2001 her mom wrote: "Every mother has certain moments, little catch your breath flashes, that come to her about her children and then are there, held forever. One of mine occurred when my first child, Lilly, was one day old. I remember thinking, 'Oh my god! She is so powerful. She is so independent!' It instantly seemed a strange thing to think about a tiny newborn but I now know much more about her of course. I've developed an addiction to her infectious laugh. I am familiar with her fairness and her quiet confidence. I shake my head continually at the depth of our conversation and our ability to be ridiculously shallow over clothes an instant later. I'm proud that she's been a clerk in a store, worked the coffee counter in a bakery and was a busgirl in a restaurant. She breaks the stereotype of the "Hollywood Kid" and it thrilled me when the woman who ran the low-income daycare center where Lilly volunteered was visibly stunned when she realized that the beautiful, unassuming young woman who had worked for her for months was the child of celebrities. I am lost in love for her. She's a grace upon my life."
    Has a dog named Madge. She's said she never gets tired of hearing her dad's stories.
    In her first film she appeared with her father in brother, but it was a very small role in makeup. In 2001 she appeared alongside her mother in the book Hollywood Moms. It wasn't until 2005 that she got a big role, this time on Fox's TV series on the war in Iraq - Over There. Her brother Charlie says she is going to be huge. Time will tell.


My exclusive interview with Lilly McDowell from 5/08

From the pictures I've seen you look like the exact combination of your parents facial wise. Do you get that a lot?

Yeah, I do get that a lot. I have my dad's coloring, the fair English skin and of course the big blue eyes. But a lot of people say I look a lot like my mom in the face. I see it more in pictures of her when she's younger. I also have the McDowell nose, but a much smaller version, thank god.

Do strangers ever stop you and say you look like your mom or your dad not knowing who you are?

No, that's never happened.

Who do you think you look more like?

Well I really am a mix of both. Although my mom says I remind her of my dad's sister Gloria. I like that since she was one of my favorite people. My mom and I have the same figure, we're the exact same height, same size and everything which is great because I get to borrow her clothes.

Did you do any theater work or acting in school plays?

In 6th grade I was the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. I had the best costume.

Did you really decide to get into acting because that was all you knew? Your dad said it would be hard.

For the longest time I didn't want to get into acting and I pushed it away. All kids rebel against their parents and I was no different. I didn't want anything to do with it so I focused on my other interests like photography and fashion design. I majored in Film Studies in college and tried my hardest not to get into acting! But there was always something inside me, a feeling that I needed to try it. I thought at least if I tried it and didn't like it, I could put that feeling to rest. I was hoping that would happen but my sophomore year at Wesleyan I took an acting class and was hooked. It was a big decision for me because it is hard, but I knew what I was getting into. I've seen my parents go through the ups and downs of the business, so I have no illusions about it. You can't push away something you fall in love with and are so passionate about. You have to go with it and that's what I did.

When did you know your parents were famous?

I only knew my parents were famous when we left our town of Ojai. Nobody cared what they did for a living there, but if we went to say, Disneyland, all of a sudden people would be whispering and following us and wanting autographs.

Do you have any crazy paparazzi stories?

We spent a lot of summers in Tuscany and the fans in Italy are crazy for my dad. One guy came up to us at a restaurant and had a tattoo of my dad's face on his arm. I remember being so freaked out by that. Another time two women showed up at our house, I think they were prostitutes and I was only 8 years old. I remember being scared that they knew where we lived.

When you go for acting interviews are you recognized by name or do they think you are related to Roddy McDowall or Andie MacDowall or anything?

No, I've never been asked that. Sometimes they know who my parents are. Most of the time it's never brought up unless they know my mom or dad.

Have you done any acting in Britain or anything not known here in the US?

I just met with a director in London about a project I might do over there with my dad. It's a wonderful script that I really hope pans out, but you never know. I would love to work in Europe and to be doing something with my dad, my god it would be incredible. Hopefully more opportunities to work in Europe will come my way.

I think 2103 the Deadly Quake is a cult classic. Charlie says his stuff was mostly all cut out, was yours too?

A cult classic, really? I don't know anyone who's ever heard of it! Yes, I believe everything was cut out. It was fun though.

Do you have any fun stories about doing the film?

The only thing I remember was wearing ratty clothes and sweeping the floor over and over.

What was it like doing the book Hollywood Moms?

It was really fun to be a part of that book. I just happened to be home from college when my mom asked if I wanted to do it and of course I said yes. I love that photo, it's not everyday you have a professional photo taken of you and your mom. It's a wonderful thing to have.

How was it filming Over There?

I had the best time filming Over There! I was so sad when the show was cancelled. The best part was being directed by Jesse Bochco (my step-sister's boyfriend). He is family to me, so it made it extra fun.

I watched Bye Bye Benjamin 3 times and couldn't find you!

I can't find me either! I'm kidding. All Charlie did was record my voice answering the phone to use in the background of the office. I don't know why he credited me.

Are you going to tell Charlie to give you a more prominent role next time?


When and where did you record your part for O Lucky Malcolm and what was that experience like?

I filmed it last year (07) I guess, in a hotel room here in LA with Jan Harlan. I was really nervous. It's kinda scary having to talk about one of your parents like that.

Was that your idea to be shown fixing your hair in the film?

No that was Jan's idea.

You said you never get tired of your dad's stories. What is your favorite?

There's so many, it's hard to pick.

Was that an in joke that your character was Kelley on Curb Your Enthusiasm?

No, my name was going to be "Lilly", but then Larry was bringing her the flower "Lily" and they thought that would be too confusing, so they switched it to Kelley.

What do you think of your brother Charlie's singing on his myspace page?

Um, genius?

Do you have the McDowell temper and stories you'd care to share?

I would say I have a mild version of the McDowell temper. It's been known to come out on occasion, but I'm nowhere near as bad as my dad or brother. My dad is the worst, although he has gotten much better as he's gotten older, especially now that he has young kids. Any stories...well, we're no longer welcome at The Rose Café. All because they didn't have oatmeal.

If your mom got a role where they had a scene with her much younger would that be something you'd like to play?

Oh, in a heartbeat. The problem is, it's hard for people to believe that we're mother and daughter right away because of our different coloring. She's dark hair dark eyes, I'm light hair light eyes, so it doesn't come across right away that we could be related. It's more in our mannerisms, the way we talk, our posture - the subtle things that very much makes us mother and daughter.

Do you have a wish list of actors you'd like to work with?

Any one of the numerous actors in my family would be pretty great and maybe James McAvoy. I'm very much in awe of him at the moment.

Did you ever see your dad in one of his plays?

Yes, when we were little my brother and I saw him in Another Time in NYC. It was a really small theatre and right in the middle of my dad's big speech, my brother and I got tickled about something and couldn't stop laughing. We were trying so hard to stop but we couldn't hold it in and after the play my dad was furious! I still feel bad about it to this day.

You said your dad told you not to watch A Clockwork Orange until you were older, so how old were you when you first saw it?

I was 18 and a freshman at Wesleyan when I first saw it. The Film Department had arranged to show a screening of it and to have my dad give a Q&A afterwards. So I sat next to him as we watched it on the big screen. I remember being completely blown away by the film. I'm glad I waited to see it because I was old enough to appreciate it as an amazing piece of art, instead of being freaked out that it was my dad.

Was there any warning given about his nude scenes in advance?

No warning. Thanks dad.

Have you ever seen Caligula?

Yes. After seeing Clockwork I decided to brush up on my parents' careers so I watched some of their movies.

What is your favorite film with your dad?

Well, I owe my life to Time After Time, so that's my favorite.

What's it like for you watching Time After Time?

It's amazing to watch it and think wow, that's when they were falling in love. It's very special.

Are you able to watch your parents films as a fan or is it hard to not just see them as your parents instead of acting?

No, I watch them as their characters but with a big smile on my face.

What's it like knowing there are people who feel your dad is sexy?


What are your thoughts about all that is going on in the media with these young famous women getting into trouble so often? Is it a real problem or something manufactured by the tabloids following them 24/7?

I think it's a mix of both. It's sad to see these young girls be so destructive. But I would hate to have people chasing me all the time, can you imagine? It's enough to make anyone crazy!


Title Role Year
2103: Deadly Wake Kitchen worker 1997
The Manchurian Candidate Shaw's Aide 2004
Becker Patient #613 2005
Over There - 5 episodes Krista 2005
Bye Bye Benjamin Coleman Secretary (Voice) 2006
O Lucky Malcolm Herself 2006
Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Ida Funkhouser Roadside Memorial Kelley 2007
Knocked Up Vegas Woman 2007
Made of Honor Lingerie Sales Girl 2008
Squeeges Webisodes Lilly 2008
Celebrity Adoption Lindy 2008


Lilly & Mary from Hollywood Moms 2001
Exclusive - Paul w/Malcolm - AFI 06 graduation (Lilly in BG)

Malcolm, Charlie & Lilly 9/07

©2006-08 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net