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Lily Tomlin Appreciation Thread

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#1 of 16 Malcolm R

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Posted July 08 2004 - 09:51 AM

I recently watched Big Business again (one of my favorite 80's comedies, I just love it) and got to thinking about how much Ms. Tomlin has made me laugh over the years. I think she's one of the most talented comic performers of our time.

From her characters such as Ernestine, to her movie roles in All of Me, 9 to 5, Big Business, and even The Beverly Hillbillies among others, to her successful one-woman show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, she just never fails to bring such joy and energy to her performance, be it delivering a line or hitting her mark just perfectly in a physical bit. Then her recent stint on The West Wing shows that she can perform drama just as well.

Not to mention she's just such a nice person, as well. My highlight of a trip to Seattle a few years ago was to see her performance of In Search of.... We didn't have tickets, so some friends and I were waiting outside in the stand-by line. While we were waiting, Ms. Tomlin came out and spent a good 15-20 minutes visiting with all of us. It was a wonderful gesture and something she certainly didn't have to do. She was very gracious and kind, spending a few moments with everyone in line and expressing her gratitude that we were waiting without any guarantee that we'd even get in to see the show (my group did Posted Image ). And those of us that arrived early to stand in line got a treat that other ticket-holders who arrived just before showtime missed out on. Posted Image

She is one very multi-talented individual and just an all-around good person. I feel she's very underrated and overlooked in Hollywood.

Any other admirers of Ms. Tomlin here?
The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.

#2 of 16 Henry Gale

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Posted July 08 2004 - 12:11 PM

Lily Tomlin is Trisha Rawlings
John Travolta is Strip Harrison

Moment By Moment (1978)

Posted Image

I love her too, Malcolm.....all the way back to Ernestine!

"I was born to ramble, born to rove
Some men are searchin for the Holy Grail
But there ain't nothin sweeter 
Than riden' the rails."
-Tom Waits-

#3 of 16 Mike Brogan

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Posted July 09 2004 - 01:19 AM

Check out Altman's "Nashville" to see her in a great dramatic role. She was even nominated for an Academy Award.

And more recently she was funny in "Flirting With Disaster" with Ben Stiller and Alan Alda.

I'm excited to see her playing Mrs. Reilly in "Confederacy of Dunces" even if Will Ferrel (who I like) is terribly miscast as Ignatius J. Reilly.

#4 of 16 Malcolm R

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Posted July 09 2004 - 08:15 AM

Hmmm, guess there's not much appreciation for Ms. Tomlin. How sad. Posted Image

I'm mostly familiar with her work from the 80's on, so I'll have to seek out some of her earlier works.
The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.

#5 of 16 Gary Seven

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Posted July 09 2004 - 10:53 AM

Well, I guess I'm the old fart here as I always associate her with Laugh-In.

One, ringy dingy....

#6 of 16 Bob Graz

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Posted July 09 2004 - 01:57 PM

Not the only one, "is this the party to whom I am speaking" she was great on laugh-in.

#7 of 16 Rob Tomlin

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Posted July 09 2004 - 02:27 PM

I love her. And not just because she is my Mom!


just kiddin'

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#8 of 16 Jason_Els



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Posted July 10 2004 - 08:05 AM

Lily Tomlin is one of the few performers I welcome in any movie. She can play straight or comedy though she's best at doing comedy. I love 9 to 5 and her character, Violet Newstead, has the funniest of all the fantasy scenes. It's a great movie made better by her performance. I last saw her in Tea with Mussolini and she was excellent. It's sad that there are so few roles for older actresses unless they're character comediennes but Tomlin seems able to switch from one genre to the other and gets the roles. I'm glad she does. Tomlin is one of the few actors who influence my decision to see a movie or not.
For beauty is only a step removed from a burning terror we barely sustain, and we worship it for the graceful sublimity with which it disdains to consume us. - Rainer Maria Rilke

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#9 of 16 Holden Pike

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Posted July 10 2004 - 03:12 PM

I adore Lily.

I just saw her give a live performance here in Portland last month - doing a freeform compilation of classic bits from all phases of her career, anecdotes and some new material (her phone conversation between Ernestine and G.W. Bush quite literally brought tears to my eyes). She's still graceful and dynamic on stage. I just plain adore the woman.

Oh yeah, and she leaked some DVD info that night! Toward the end of the evening she fields questions from the audience, and somebody asked her when The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe would make it to DVD. She said she and Jane (Wagner) are working on it, and have been for some time. The delay is that they have quite literally hundreds of performances archived, as well as all sorts of supplemental material, and it's simply taking a very long time to package it all together. So, I have no idea who has the rights to it or what company might release it, but at least Lily herself is working whenever she can to make it a deluxe package when it finally does materialize.

My favorite big screen performance will probably always be in Altman's Nashville, with her work in Short Cuts right behind it. She's just amazing in both flicks, heartbreaking really. And I also love her flighty dame to Art Carney's aged gumshoe in Robert Benton's The Late Show. Her role in Flirting with Disaster makes that whole movie for me. And of course All of Me and 9 to 5, but I reckon those are common favorites (as well they should be, they're still wonderful).

I had never been able to get into "The West Wing" (even though I can practically recite every single line from "Sports Night" by heart), but when I saw Lily was added to the cast a couple seasons ago, I started watching. She's got a terrific character.

Anywho, you are most definitely NOT all alone in your adoration for Ms. Tomlin.
"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to film is more film...."
- Frank Capra

#10 of 16 nobajoba



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Posted August 11 2012 - 04:47 AM

Malcolm, thank you for starting this thread. I LOVE Lily Tomlin. I have been a fan since I was a tot watching her do "ringy-dingies" on Laugh In. She is extremely underated as a talent and living legend. She has 3 of the Big 4 in the awards dept! She has a Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards and was nominated for the Oscar. Oh so close!!! My reason's for loving Lily are, in my book, obvious. She has talent, pure and simple. She doesn't rely on costumes or gimmick's. Sure on Laugh In she and the cast were dressed in wacky outfits and wigs. But Tomlin went to to show she didn't need them to make us fall in love with her characters. She did, and still does, live stage shows bringing all of her colorful cast to life with NO props or costumes. She uses just her voice and body and physical movements to bring the stage alive with everyone from Madame Lupe, the oldest living beauty expert, to Lucille the rubber freak, to a little girl named Edith Ann and an former telephone operator with a major attitude that now works for the health insurance industry denying claims to everyone calling in. Like you, I have had the great honor of meeting Ms Tomlin and she is indeed gracious, friendly, down to earth and accessible to her fans. Yet another reason to admire her in an age of less talented younger celebs who act like the visiting Queen who is not to be bothered. Anyway, I don't know if anyone will even be reading this but I just to had to reply after finding this forum and the HTF site.

#11 of 16 bryan4999


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Posted August 11 2012 - 05:04 AM

Lily has some fun comedy albums, several of which are available on CD. Love her Minnesota Home duet with Meryl Streep in the movie Prairie Home Companion. I also enjoyed her guest appearances on Will & Grace as Will's boss, Margot. The episode called "Partners" where she has a dinner party with Buck Henry as her wimpy husband is a riot. She is one of those performers who has been a part of my life for so long I feel like she is a friend.

#12 of 16 Jim*Tod


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Posted August 11 2012 - 05:29 AM

I was lucky enough to see her do SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE in DC many years ago. She was also incredibly gracious and very funny when she received an honorary degree here at University of Richmond a few years back. I agree her work with Robert Altman was her best. Most recently she was incredible in the 3rd season of DAMAGES. Glad to hear they are putting together a definitive version of SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE. The film version that came out about two decades ago really did not do the piece justice. Lily is number one in my book. And that's the truth.

#13 of 16 Steve Tannehill

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Posted August 11 2012 - 06:59 AM

Hey, Todd, welcome to HTF! I'm a fan of Lily, and like Jim, I saw her do The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe live on stage. I'm interested in hearing more about this new version that is coming out.

#14 of 16 nobajoba



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Posted August 11 2012 - 12:01 PM

Thank you Steve. I love the site and the forums....seems like a great place to get info from fellow fans. I'm also glad I was able to bring some life to this thread : )

#15 of 16 Steve Tannehill

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Posted August 12 2012 - 08:51 AM

Spotify just paid for itself this month. I just found her comedy albums to stream. You can't even get them at Amazon.

#16 of 16 JeremyR


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Posted August 14 2012 - 04:53 PM

You are most certainly not alone in your adoration of Lily Tomlin. I have Big Business in my collection, and must watch it again. She is without a doubt not only one of my favorite female actors, but one of my favorite actors period. Though I'm not certain I could put her quite in the same category as the incomparable Carol Burnett or Lucille Ball, she occupies a space much closer to them than most other comediennes.

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