This is a beta version of NNDB
Search: for

Lily Tomlin

Lily TomlinAKA Mary Jean Tomlin

Born: 1-Sep-1939
Birthplace: Detroit, MI

Gender: Female
Religion: Baptist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Lesbian [1]
Occupation: Actor, Comic
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Laugh-In

Lily Tomlin is a comedian and actress. She first shot to fame in 1970 when she joined the cast of the slapstick sketch show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Her most well-known characters include Ernestine (the "One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy..." telephone operator) and Edith Ann (the precocious child).

Her movies include Robert Altman's Nashville and Short Cuts, Nine to Five with Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton, All of Me with Steve Martin, Big Business with Bette Midler, Flirting with Disaster with Ben Stiller, and I Heart Huckabees with Dustin Hoffman. She also narrated and executive produced The Celluloid Closet, the 1995 documentary on how homosexuality has been portrayed in Hollywood films. On TV, Tomlin played Candice Bergen's boss on the last two seasons on Murphy Brown, the voice of Ms. Frizzle on The Magic School Bus, and Martin Sheen's secretary on The West Wing (after Mrs. Landingham died).

Tomlin's 1986 one-woman show, The Search for Signs of Inteligent (sic) Life in the Universe, was a long-running critical success. It won Tomlin a Tony, and was made into a film in 1991. On at least several occasions during its Broadway run, Tomlin donned disguises and chatted incognito with the crowds on the sidewalk lined up to get in. Like most of Tomlin's comedy act since the early 1970s, it was written by her long-time writer and lover, Jane Wagner. Wagner also wrote Tomlin's films Moment by Moment and The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and contributed to several of Tomlin's TV specials.

Her 1973 CBS-TV special, Lily, included a controversial sketch in which Tomlin and Richard Pryor answered a race-related questionnaire. The show ended with Tomlin and Pryor kissing, a startling black-and-white moment on national TV in 1973. Despite high ratings, the special was never rerun.

Tomlin studied under Charles Nelson Reilly, who, when he was not playing a prancing goofball on TV, was also a well-respected acting coach.

[1] "I never officially came out in any kind of really public way. I just always lived very simply and openly, but the press has never made a big fuss about me or said anything to me... In some ways I don't even identify myself in any kind of limited way. I don't want to. I wish none of us had to. I wish we were just people."

Father: Guy Tomlin (factory worker; d. 1973)
Mother: Lillie Mae Ford (nurse's aide)
Brother: Richard Tomlin
Wife: Jane Wagner (writer, co-habitating since the early 1970s, m. 31-Dec-2013)

    High School: Cass Technical High School, Detroit, MI (1957)
    University: Wayne State University (dropped out)

    Amnesty International
    EMILY's List
    Gore 2000
    Hillary Clinton for President
    John Kerry for President
    Obama for America
    Grammy 1972 for This Is A Recording (comedy album)
    Tony 1977 (lifetime achievement)
    Tony 1986 for The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
    Emmy 1974 for Lily (variety special)
    Emmy 1976 for The Lily Tomlin Special (variety special)
    Emmy 1978 for The Paul Simon Special (variety special)
    Emmy 1981 for Lily: Sold Out (variety program)
    Kentucky Colonel
    Risk Factors: Marijuana

    Desperate Housewives Roberta Simmons (2008-)
    The West Wing Deborah Fiderer (2002-06)
    Murphy Brown Kay Carter Shepley (1996-98)
    The Magic School Bus Ms. Valerie Frizzle (1994-97)
    Laugh-In (1969-73)

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (8-Dec-2018) [VOICE]
    Jane Fonda in Five Acts (20-Jan-2018) · Herself
    Grandma (30-Jan-2015)
    Altman (1-Aug-2014) · Herself
    Admission (22-Mar-2013)
    Carol Channing: Larger Than Life (20-Jan-2012) · Herself
    Vito (14-Oct-2011) · Herself
    The Pink Panther 2 (6-Feb-2009) · Mrs. Berenger
    The Walker (13-Feb-2007) · Abigail Delorean
    The Ant Bully (28-Jul-2006) · Mommo [VOICE]
    A Prairie Home Companion (12-Feb-2006)
    I Heart Huckabees (10-Sep-2004) · Vivian
    Orange County (7-Jan-2002)
    The Kid (25-Jun-2000)
    Tea with Mussolini (26-Mar-1999) · Georgie
    Get Bruce (24-Jan-1999) · Herself
    Krippendorf's Tribe (27-Feb-1998) · Ruth Allen
    Getting Away with Murder (12-Apr-1996)
    Flirting with Disaster (22-Mar-1996) · Mary Schlichting
    Blue in the Face (15-Sep-1995) · Waffle Eater
    The Celluloid Closet (13-Sep-1995) · Narrator
    The Beverly Hillbillies (15-Oct-1993) · Miss Hathaway
    Short Cuts (1-Oct-1993)
    And the Band Played On (11-Sep-1993)
    Luck, Trust & Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country (1993) · Herself
    The Player (3-Apr-1992) · Herself
    Shadows and Fog (30-Mar-1992) · Prostitute
    The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (8-Sep-1991)
    Big Business (10-Jun-1988) · Rose Shelton
    Lily Tomlin (6-Sep-1986) · Herself
    All of Me (21-Sep-1984)
    The Incredible Shrinking Woman (30-Jan-1981) · Pat Kramer
    Nine to Five (19-Dec-1980) · Violet Newstead
    Moment by Moment (22-Dec-1978) · Trisha
    The Late Show (10-Feb-1977)
    Nashville (11-Jun-1975)

Official Website:

Create a map starting with Lily Tomlin
Requires Flash 7+ and Javascript.

Do you know something we don't?
Submit a correction or make a comment about this profile

Copyright ©2019 Soylent Communications