The legendary actress, comedian, and activist for LGBTQ and other causes will be immortalized in the concrete forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre during the TCM Classic Film Festival later this year.
Lily Tomlin is not only a long-respected comedian, actress, and writer of stage and screen, but now she is, in a severely overdue move, the recipient of having her handprints preserved on the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard.
These days, Tomlin is best known for her role as Frankie Bergstein in the hit Netflix series Grace and Frankie, opposite her real-life friend Jane Fonda (who plays Grace Hanson). However, Tomlin’s career is much lengthier, beginning in the late 1960s with her breakout role on pioneering late 60s sketch show Rowan And Martin’s Laugh-In, where she created memorable characters like Ernestine the telephone operator and Edith Ann, the precocious little girl she portrayed by sitting in a giant chair. She later had many roles on the silver screen, starring in 9 to 5 in 1980 alongside Fonda and Dolly Parton. This film told the story of three women who rebelled against their misogynistic boss, and inspired generations of feminist activists.
One of her most popular roles, even if you did not know it was her until now, was as Ms. Frizzle in childhood classic The Magic School Bus, based on the book series. This series has recently returned to Netflix as The Magic School Bus Rides Again, this time featuring the iconic Frizzle leveled up to professor.
Tomlin and her wife, Jane Wagner, originally met in 1971 and have been collaborators ever since, including on Tomlin’s 1972 hit comedy album, And That’s the Truth. Though they never had an official coming out, they were married in 2013 after forty-two years together. Both have been longtime activists in the LGBTQ community and for other causes; Tomlin was even arrested in Washington D.C. late last year during one of Fonda’s weekly protests about climate change, Fire Drill Fridays (which remain ongoing).
The casting of Tomlin’s prints in the concrete walk outside the legendary Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard will take place during this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival. Turner Classic Movies recognized the long overdue need to recognize Tomlin last week in a press release.
“Lily Tomlin’s talent has endured for fifty years because she knows who she is,” said TCM primetime anchor Ben Mankiewicz, who is the host of the annual film festival. “She’s managed to play broadly drawn roles alongside more nuanced characters without a hint of falseness. Not long ago, Tomlin told The New York Times, ‘I wanted people to see the characters as human beings. And see themselves in them, too.’ The humanity she finds in the women she plays has enabled her to transition, seemingly with ease, from groundbreaking work on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In to four Emmy nominations for Grace and Frankie, where she co-stars alongside another seminal artist, Jane Fonda.”
Tomlin has received many awards and accolades during her career, and while it should not have taken so long for her to achieve this particular award, at least now we can finally immortalize her genius for generations to come.
Top Photo: Lily Tomlin in Grace And Frankie, via Netflix