Travels from California, USA
Lily Tomlin's speaking fee falls
within range: $50,000 to $75,000
Lily Tomlin is an actress, writer, producer and one of America’s most well known comedians. She has appeared in countless films and TV shows, as well as theater and animation. She has won six Emmys, two Tonys, a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics’ Circle Award, a CableAce Award, a Grammy, two Peabody Awards and a Mark Twain Prize.
Growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Detroit, Tomlin says she wasn’t funny, but she “knew who was and lifted all their material right off the TV screen.” She studied comedians like Lucille Ball, Bea Lillie, Imogene Coca and Jean Carroll. At first, young Tomlin pursued a degree in medicine, but her elective courses in theater arts inspired her to become a performer. She began by appearing in local coffee houses, then moved to New York, where she performed at landmark clubs, like The Improvisation, Café Au Go Go and Upstairs Downstairs.
Some of Tomlin’s notable TV appearances include The Merv Girffin Show, Laugh-In, The Lily Tomlin Show, Murphy Brown, The Magic School Bus, The West Wing and more. Her film experience includes Nashville, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, All of Me, Big Business, The Beverly Hillbillies, Getting Away with Murder and Pink Panther II, among many others.
Most recently, Tomlin starred in the film Admission with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. She also produced and narrated the HBO documentary An Apology to Elephants, for which she received the Crystal Award from Women in Film. She is a regular contributor to WOWOWOW.com, an online community for women, and she is currently working on an educational game app for kids called City Adventures of Edith Ann.
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
This is a Recording
And That’s the Truth
Edith Ann’s Christmas
Just Say Noël,
The Celluloid Closet
Early Life. Tomlin was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of one of the city’s most affluent areas. Although she claims she wasn’t funny as a child, Tomlin admits she “knew who was and lifted all their material right off the TV screen.” Her favorites included Lucille Ball, Bea Lillie, Imogene Coca, and Jean Carroll, one of the first female stand-ups on The Ed Sullivan Show. After high school, Tomlin enrolled at Wayne State University to study medicine, but her elective courses in theater arts compelled her to leave college to become a performer in local coffee houses. She moved to New York in 1965, where she soon built a strong following with her appearances at landmark clubs such as The Improvisation, Cafe Au Go Go, and the Upstairs at the Downstairs, where she later opened for the legendary Mabel Mercer in the Downstairs Room.
Television. Tomlin made her television debut in 1966 on The Garry Moore Show and then made several memorable appearances on The Merv Griffin Show, which led to a move to California where she appeared as a regular on Music Scene. In December 1969, Tomlin joined the cast of the top-rated Laugh-In and immediately rose to national prominence with her characterizations of Ernestine, the irascible telephone operator, and Edith Ann, the devilish six year old. When Laugh-In left the air, Tomlin went on to co-write, with Jane Wagner, and star in six comedy television specials: The Lily Tomlin Show (1973), Lily (1973), Lily (1975), Lily Tomlin (1975), Lily: Sold Out (1981), and Lily for President? (1982), for which she won three Emmy Awards and a Writers Guild of America Award. Tomlin also starred in the HBO special about the AIDS epidemic, And the Band Played On (1993). She has guest starred on numerous television shows, such as Homicide, X-Files and Will and Grace, and played the boss on the popular CBS series, Murphy Brown. She is also heard as the voice of the science teacher Ms. Frizzle on the popular children’s animated series, The Magic School Bus, for which she was awarded an Emmy.
In 2002, Tomlin joined the cast of the hit NBC series, The West Wing, playing President Bartlett’s assistant, Debbie Fiderer–a role for which she received a 2003 Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series. Tomlin continued in the role of Debbie through2006, the final season of West Wing. In the past few years, Tomlin has made several guest appearances on Desperate Housewives, NCIS, Eastbound and Down, and guest starred in the acclaimed FX series, Damages, in the Emmy-nominated role of matriarch of a wealthy New York family accused of financial fraud. Last year, Tomlin co-starred with Reba McEntire on the ABC series, Malibu Country, and this year can be seen on the Showtime series, Web Therapy, as Lisa Kudrow’s narcissistic mother.
Stage. Tomlin made her Broadway debut in the 1977 play, Appearing Nitely, written and directed by Jane Wagner. Appearing Nitely included such favorites as Ernestine and Judith Beasley, the Calumet City housewife, and also introduced Trudy the bag lady, Crystal the hang-gliding quadriplegic, Rick the singles bar cruiser, Glenna as a child of the sixties, and Sister Boogie Woman, a 77-year-old blues revivalist. Appearing Nitely was later adapted as both an album and an HBO Special. Tomlin next appeared on Broadway in 1985 in a yearlong, SRO run of Jane Wagner’s critically acclaimed play, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. The Broadway success was followed by a coast-to-coast, 14-city tour that spanned four and a half years. Tomlin extended this extraordinary theatrical career with a cross-country, 29-city tour of The Search, a new production of The Search on Broadway, a record-breaking, six-month run of the production in San Francisco, and a six week run as part of the 2004 season at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles
Movies. On film, Tomlin made her debut as Linnea, a gospel singer and mother of two deaf children in Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975); her memorable performance was nominated for an Academy Award, and both the New York Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics voted Tomlin Best Supporting Actress. She next starred opposite Art Carney as a would-be actress living on the fringes of Hollywood in Robert Benton’s The Late Show (1977). She went on to star with John Travolta as a lonely housewife in Jane Wagner’s Moment By Moment (1978), and then teamed with Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton in the late Colin Higgins’ comedy, 9 to 5 (1980). She starred as the happy homemaker who became The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), written by Jane Wagner, and the eccentric rich woman whose soul invades Steve Martin’s body in Carl Reiner’s popular All of Me (1984). She then teamed with Bette Midler for Big Business (1988).
In the 90′s, Tomlin starred in the film adaptation of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life In the Universe (1991); appeared as part of an ensemble cast in Woody Allen’s Shadows and Fog (1992); starred opposite Tom Waits in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (1993); and portrayed Miss Jane Hathaway in the screen adaptation of the popular television series The Beverly Hillbillies (1993). Tomlin also played a cameo role in The Player (1992) and Blue in the Face (1995), starred in the Miramax film Flirting With Disaster (1996) and joined Jack Lemmon, Dan Akroyd and Bonnie Hunt in Getting Away with Murder (1996). Tomlin starred opposite Richard Dreyfuss and Jenna Elfman in Buena Vista’s Krippendorf’s Tribe (1998) and co-starred with Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Cher in the Franco Zeffirelli film Tea With Mussolini (1999). She then starred with Bruce Willis in Disney’s The Kid (2000) and appeared in a quirky cameo role in Orange County (2002). Tomlin co-starred with Dustin Hoffman in I Heart Huckabee’s, a David O. Russell comedy that explores the emotional idiosyncrasies of life (2004). She was seen in A Prairie Home Companion (2006), written by Garrison Keillor and directed by Robert Altman, in which she and Meryl Streep appear as a sister-singing act. Tomlin next appeared in Paul Schrader’s film, The Walker (2007), co-starring with Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Lauren Bacall. Tomlin then played a sensitivity-training expert assigned to instruct employees on social and political correctness with Steve Martin as Inspector Clousseau in Pink Panther II (2009). Recently, Tomlin starred in a new movie with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, Admission (2013). She also produced and narrated the HBO documentary, An Apology to Elephants, which premiered in April 2013. For her extensive work in film, Tomlin has received the Crystal Award from Women in Film.
Live Appearances. Tomlin continues to make appearances around the nation and, in 2006, took her classic characters to Australia for shows in Sydney and Melbourne. In November 2009, Tomlin debuted in Las Vegas at The MGM Grand Hotel in her new show entitled Not Playing with a Full Deck. She returned there for two engagements in 2010. In 2011, she returned to Australia for several concert appearances and participated in the Mardi Gras Festival.
Tomlin can be found on the popular website for women, www.WOWOWOW.com, and participates with other celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg, Candice Bergen, Liz Smith, Jane Wagner, Peggy Noonan, Marlo Thomas and Lesley Stahl to create an on-line community which is owned and run by women for women of all ages and origins.
Tomlin is currently working on new stage, radio, television and social media projects, including an educational game app for kids, City Adventures of Edith Ann, based on her beloved character, Edith Ann.
In this presentation at Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Tomlin begins by discussing her childhood in Detroit, saying, “I think I learned the politics in my own skin… I was constantly proselytized and propagandized by every political stripe in the building.” She states that it was hard for her “to be judgmental” about any of the diverse people she lived with growing up.
Tomlin says that after her upbringing she learned “that idealism was not a realistic goal, but I saw too that cynicism was just as foolish… so I put idealism and cynicism to the side.” She discusses how she first became involved with PDA, joking that after connecting so well with one of the organizers, she was surprised that the organizer lured her to the event by telling her “that they were doing a remake of Beverly Hillbillies.” She then describes her feelings after George W. Bush was elected President in 2000, and goes on to explain why she loves working with PDA.
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