Lily Tomlin

Actor / Comedian

Born: 1 September 1939
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
Best known as:


Ernestine and Edith Ann from Laugh-In

Name at birth: Mary Jean Tomlin

Lily Tomlin is an award-winning star of stage and screen, known especially for comedic performances going back to her days on TV's Laugh-In in the early 1970s. She grew up in Detroit, but went to New York in 1965 to be a performer. Tomlin became a regular cast member of the comedy sketch show Laugh-In in late 1969, and soon became one of the most popular players, thanks to recurring characters such as Ernestine the telephone operator and Edith Ann, a sagacious five year-old. Tomlin left the show in 1973, having released two successful comedy records of her own, the Grammy-winning This Is A Recording (1971) and the Grammy-nominated And That's The Truth (1972, as Edith Ann). She's had a stellar career, one that includes an Oscar nomination for her performance in Robert Altman's Nashville (1975), as well as hit films such as The Late Show (1977),  Nine to Five (1980, with Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton) and Flirting With Disaster (1996, starring Ben Stiller). She's won Emmys for writing TV specials in 1974, 1976, 1978 and 1981, and been a regular cast member on Murphy Brown (1996-98), The West Wing (2002-06), Damages (2010, the third season) and Desperate Housewives (2008-09). Her one-woman Broadway show in 1977, Appearing Nitely, earned a special Tony award, and she won another Tony for her performance in The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, a 1985 one-woman show co-written with her longtime life and writing partner, Jane Wagner. A frequent stage performer who pops up in small TV and film roles, Tomlin is also a 2003 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Extra credit:

Lily Tomlin was the voice of Ms. Frizzle on the animated show The Magic School Bus from 1994-97; she was nominated four times for a Daytime Emmy and won once (1995).

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