Lily Tomlin made history yesterday when it was announced that she would be the first openly gay performer to receive the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
Since its inception in 1962, the honor has been awarded to Hollywood legends such as Debbie Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman, Julie Andrews, Sidney Poitier, Angela Lansbury and Carol Burnett.
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris says the 76-year-old Tomlin is the perfect choice to join this cast of luminaries because she is “an extraordinary actress, as equally adept at narrative drama as in comedy roles.”
“She has an ability to create diverse and distinct characters that are at once familiar, eccentric and oh so honest–in a way that illuminates life’s hidden corners,’ Carteris adds.
“From Edith Ann to Frankie, her characters are wholly unique, and by exposing every nuance of human behavior, they widen our scope of understanding.”
Tomlin’s career began when she was cast in the NBC sketch comedy show Laugh-In in 1970. There, she created a number of memorable characters, including crowd-favorite Ernestine, a nosy and condescending telephone operator (pictured above).
From Laugh-In, she went on to make her mark in film (Nashville, 9 to 5, Prairie Home Companion and Grandma), on stage (The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe) and on TV in her current role as Frankie opposite Jane Fonda in Grace & Frankie.
Tomlin, who married her longtime partner Jane Wagner in 2013 after 45 years together, will be presented with the award at the 2016 ceremony in January 2017.
h/t: Gay Star News