On this day: Happy 83rd Birthday, Lily Tomlin

lily tomlin
Lily Tomlin and wife Jane Wagner. Image: Lily Tomlin Instagram

Lily Tomlin entered this world on September 1, 1939. It’s been a better place ever since. Happy 83rd Birthday, Lily Tomlin.

The actor and comedian began performing stand-up in the 1960s. She also performed off-Broadway and in touring reviews. Critics praised her performances from the beginning. (See clipping below.)

By the end of the sixties, Lily was on television, joining the cast of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In in 1969. In 1975, she made her first movie, her performance in Robert Altman’s Nashville earning her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Then, in 1980, Lily Tomlin starred in one of the funniest movies of all time, 9 to 5 with Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton.

The Netflix series Grace and Frankie starring Lily and Jane debuted in 2015.

lily tomlin
Detroit Free Press, Mon, Nov 9, 1964

Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner

Lily Tomlin met her future wife Jane Wagner in 1971 when she contacted the writer to collaborate on her first comedy album. The pair married in 2013 after 42 years together.

“I certainly never called a press conference or anything like that. [Back in the 1970s,] people didn’t write about it. Even if they knew, they would [refer to Jane as] ‘Lily’s collaborator’, things like that.

“Some journalists are just motivated by their own sense of what they want to say or what they feel comfortable saying or writing about. In ’77, I was on the cover of Time. The same week I had a big story in Newsweek. In one of the magazines it says I live alone, and the other magazine said I live with Jane Wagner.

“Unless you were so really adamantly out, and had made some declaration at some press conference, people back then didn’t write about your relationship. In ’75 I was making the Modern Scream album and Jane and I were in the studio. My publicist called me and said, ‘Time will give you the cover if you’ll come out’.

“I was more offended than anything that they thought we’d make a deal. But that was ’75—it would have been a hard thing to do at that time.”

Happy Birthday, Lily Tomlin.

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