Friday, February 15, 2008

Out in Film: Lily Tomlin

Idol worship: Lily Tomlin, actress/comedian/producer/ writer.

- After making her television debut as a stand-up on The Merv Griffin Show, she joined the classic sketch comedy series Laugh-In, wherein she introduced to the general public such iconic characters as Ernestine the telephone operator ("One ringy-dingy ...") and little Edith Ann ("And that's the truth. [blows a raspberry]); she has also co-starred on such other TV series as Murphy Brown, Will and Grace and The West Wing.

- She would continue her act both on television (in a string of Emmy Award-winning television specials) and on a series of best-selling, Grammy Award-winning comedy albums.

- Expanding her range to include dramatic roles, she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as a gospel singing adulteress mother of a death mute in Robert Altman's Nashville, her film debut; she would return to work with Altman for three more movies: The Player, Short Cuts and A Prairie Home Companion.

- Other notable roles include the quick-witted Violet Newstead in 9 to 5, one-half of Steve Martin in All of Me, and Bette Midler's twin in Big Business; she also narrated the Peabody Award-winning documentary The Celluloid Closet. More recently, she infamously clashed with director David O. Russell on the set of I ♥ Huckabees.

- She starred on Broadway and won Tony Awards for both of her one-woman shows, Appearing Nightly and The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, both written by her partner Jane Wagner; Search would later be filmed as a movie and revived for a successful limited New York run.

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