1939-09-01

LILY TOMLIN, American actress and comedian was born on this date; Though Tomlin has now long-since confirmed that she is a Lesbian, in the press, it was, for many years, an open secret among many, including the Gay press. Before she officially “came out”, she was known for her involvement in feminist and Gay-friendly film productions, and would often refer to her girlfriend (now wife) Jane Wagner. On her 1975 album Modern Scream she mocked straight actors who make a point of distancing themselves from their Gay characters; answering the pseudo-interview question, How did it feel to play a heterosexual? she replied, “I’ve seen these women all my life, I know how they walk, I know how they talk … .”

Her narration of the documentary The Celluloid Closet in 1995 was also largely considered a nod to the open secret of her orientation.

Tomlin has received numerous awards, including: six Emmys; a Tony for her one woman Broadway show, Appearing Nitely; a second Tony as Best Actress, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for her one woman performance in Jane Wagner’s The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe; a CableACE Award for Executive Producing the film adaptation of The Search…; a Grammy Award for her comedy album, This is a Recording as well as nominations for her subsequent albums Modern Scream, And That’s the Truth, and On Stage; and two Peabody Awards — the first for the ABC television special, Edith Ann’s Christmas: Just Say Noël and the second for narrating and executive producing the HBO film, The Celluloid Closet. Tomlin was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2003 she was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Tomlin now appears in the Netflix series Grace and Frankie with Jane Fonda. As Grace and Frankie, respectively, Fonda and Tomlin play women in their 70s whose husbands, Robert and Sol (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston), have left them to marry each other. Grace and Frankie start out as rivals, but eventually become roommates, besties and business partners. The third season, now streaming, shows them selling vibrators designed for older women.