Lily Tomlin Biography

Lily Tomlin is an American actress, comedian and producer. This biography provides detailed information on her childhood, life, career, achievements and timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: September 1, 1939

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By Lily Tomlin Lesbians

Age: 80 Years, 80 Year Old Females

Sun Sign: Virgo

Also Known As: Mary Jean Tomlin

Born in: Detroit

Famous as: Comedienne & Actress

Height: 5'8" (173 cm), 5'8" Females


Spouse/Ex-: Jane Wagner

father: Guy Tomlin

mother: Lillie Mae

siblings: Richard Tomlin

City: Detroit, Michigan

U.S. State: Michigan

More Facts

education: Cass Technical High School, Wayne State University

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Mary Jean ‘Lily’ Tomlin is an American actress, writer, producer and comedian. She was born and brought up in Michigan in a middle class family. She was interested in art and theater from a very young age and started doing stand-up comedy in comedy clubs in Michigan and then later in New York. She got her first role in NBC’S the ‘Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, which made her famous because of the multiple regular roles and gags that she was offered in the sketch comedy. After the popularity of the show, Tomlin produced her own comedy videos, portraying characters from the ‘Laugh-In’. One of these videos won a Grammy. She started doing comedy motion pictures, starring opposite big Hollywood stars like: Steve Martin, Meryl Streep, etc. She has been quite famous on the Broadway as well; known as the only comedienne who ever did the solo comedy act. She is a winner of many awards including primetime Emmys, Tony, Woman in Film Crystal Award, Grammy Award, etc. She is in a long-term relationship with writer/producer Jane Wagner. She is a lesbian and is very open about her sexual orientation in the media.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • In 1969, after Tomlin appeared on ABC Television’s Music Scene as a hostess, she became a part of NBC’s already established comedy show called ‘Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In’. In it she appeared as various regular characters.
  • In 1971, Tomlin came out with her first comedy video called ‘This Is A Recording’ on Polydor Records. It was based on one of her characters from ‘Laugh-In’, ‘Ernestine’. It became the highest-charting album by a female comedian.
  • In 1972, she released her second comedy album ‘And That’s The Truth’ which was based on ‘Edith Ann’s’ character from ‘Laugh-In’. She won a Grammy nomination for the Best Comedy Recording for it.
  • From 1975-1984, Tomlin bagged various comic roles in movies like: ‘Nashville’ which was directed by Robert Altman, ‘Nine to Five’ which was a working women’s vindictive comedy and ‘All of Me’ opposite Steve Martin.
  • In 1985, Tomlin did one-woman Broadway show called ‘The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe’, which was written and directed by Jane Wagner. She won a Tony award for it and it was later turned into a motion picture.
  • In 1989, she did another motion picture called ‘Big Business’, a comedy movie in which she starred opposite Better Midler. Tomlin and Midler played the role of twin sisters who were switched at the time of their birth.
  • From 1994-1997, she was a part of the animated television series called ‘The Magic School’. She gave her voice to the character in the series called ‘Ms. Fizzler’. Around same time, she appeared in ‘Murphy Brown’.
  • From 2005-2006, she appeared in a returning role in the popular sitcom ‘Will & Grace’ in which she played the character of ‘Magot’. Around same time, she frequently appeared on ‘The West Wing’ for 4 years.
  • From 2008-2009, Tomlin did a recurring role in the famous television series ‘Desperate Housewives’. Her character was called ‘Roberta’. She also appeared on one of ‘The Simpsons’ episodes called the ‘The Last of the Red Hat Mamas.’
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  • In 2012, Tomlin made a guest appearance on HBO series called the ‘Eastbound and Down’. Also, she acted in a TV series ‘Malibu Country’, starring opposite Reba McEntire as her mother ‘Lillie Mae’.
Awards & Achievements
  • Tomlin has received many prestigious awards like: 4 primetime Emmys, a special Tony Award for her Broadway show, another Tony for the Best Actress category, Women in Film Crystal Award, Mark Twain Prize and a Grammy Award.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • In 1971, Tomlin got hooked up with writer/producer Jane Wagner. They met after Tomlin invited Wagner to work with her on a comedy album. She has always been quite open about her sexual orientation.
  • Tomlin is an avid supporter of the feminist and gay movements and was involved in a movie called ‘Modern Scream’ which was a gay-friendly movie.
  • She was inducted in the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998.
  • Tomlin is a supporter of women’s health and received a Fenway Health’s Dr. Susan M. Love Award.

Lily Tomlin Movies

1. Nashville (1975)

  (Comedy, Drama, Music)

2. The Muppets Go to the Movies (1981)

  (Comedy, Family)

3. Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers (1972)

  (Comedy, Musical, Drama)

4. The Celluloid Closet (1995)

  (Documentary, History)

5. Short Cuts (1993)

  (Drama, Comedy)

6. The Player (1992)

  (Drama, Thriller, Crime, Comedy)

7. The Late Show (1977)

  (Comedy, Thriller, Mystery)

8. All of Me (1984)

  (Romance, Fantasy, Comedy)


Golden Globe Awards
1994 Short Cuts (1993) Winner
Primetime Emmy Awards
2013 Outstanding Voice-Over Performance An Apology to Elephants (2013)
1981 Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program Lily: Sold Out (1981)
1978 Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Special The Paul Simon Special (1977)
1976 Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Special The Lily Tomlin Special (1975)
1974 Best Writing in Comedy-Variety, Variety or Music Lily (1973)
1974 Outstanding Comedy-Variety, Variety or Music Special Lily (1973)
Grammy Awards
1972 Best Comedy Recording Winner

See the events in life of Lily Tomlin in Chronological Order

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