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National News / Entertainment

Tuesday, 20 March, 2012 8:04 PM

Lily Tomlin, Jane Wagner receive 345th Golden Star in Palm Springs, CA

The Detroit-born actress and "Laugh-In" star was honored jointly with her partner and writer on Friday


Actress Lily Tomlin and Writer Jane Wagner address a large crowd at their Golden Star ceremony on March 16, 2012.


by Jason Rzucidlo



PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- Detroit native and actress Lily Tomlin and her partner/writer Jane Wagner jointly accepted a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. The ceremony took place on Friday, March 16 at 4:00 p.m. at 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive. Tomlin attended Wayne State University as a Pre-Med student then dropped out to pursue a career in acting. She rose to fame in the late 1960's on the NBC series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Wagner was born and raised in Morristown, Tenn. and made her writing debut with the highly acclaimed CBS teleplay entitled J.T.

"You've all been there so long in the hot sun and we're so grateful," Tomlin said on Friday, when the temperature was about 84 degrees. "Let me just say thank you for having us. There have been so many great people who have been honored here on the Walk of Stars. It's impossible to name them all. We're honored to be here, to receive this star. Jane is as proud as I am to receive this accolade. We're sharing it and that's what's really delightful to us. I get credit for everything. People think I should be a U.N. Ambassador and I don't know what else. They think I'm so smart. The brainy stuff really comes from her."

The Motor City-born actress played the characters of Ernestine, a telephone operator, and Edith Ann, a devilish 6-year-old, on the NBC series. In addition, she made her Broadway debut on Appearing Nitely in 1977.

"She's willing to forgo that kind of acknowledgement just so she can sleep late," The Laugh-In star added. "Jane and I have been a couple for over 40 years. Our 41st anniversary is March 31. For those of you who are die-hard freak fans, if you look on an old album of Modern Scream, you'll see scratched into where they used to have the soft gel and you can send a message. We wrote down that date, March 31, 1971. That just for you to know and to cause a rush on the sales of that album. She's better if I say just ordinary stuff and then she chimes in."

Wagner received two Peabody Awards--the first for the CBS television special, J.T., and the second for the ABC television special, Edith Ann’s Christmas: Just Say Noël.

"Oh my gosh, they're out there in the sun," Wagner said after looking at the crowd. "We wrote this thing that sounded too formal. It didn't sound friendly enough. I felt coming to Palm Springs, I knew we were going to get something beautiful and I'm glad we got this star. I still don't know how we're going to step on that. Are there two stars? Anyway, I'm not going to worry about it. Step over it. I knew we were going to get something great because these days, you go any place and you don't know if you're going to get a vaginal probe. We felt safe here. I rarely get included in these honors."

Together, Wagner and Tomlin also produced six comedy television specials. Wagner then wrote and executive produced three animated television specials starring the precocious 6-year-old, Edith Ann.

"I don't know where else a same sex couple could be given this kind of honor," The J.T. writer added. "We're in the Congressional Record. The only other couple that we were able to find on Wikipedia was Roy Rogers and Trigger. Palm Springs is unique. If the government ever mandates vaginal rejuvenation, then they would pay for that."

More recently, Tomlin has played characters on TV shows like The West Wing, Desperate Housewives, the FX series, Damages and the acclaimed network series, NCIS.

"This is a very, very special day for Palm Springs," said Robert Alexander, president of the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. "We are now in our 20th year of honoring worthy individuals. We honor not only show business celebrities, but also pioneers, civic leaders, outstanding authors, sports stars and Congressional Medal of Honor awardees. Lily and Jane's career and achievements certainly meet the criteria for a star."

Wagner's book, Edith Ann: My Life, So Far, was released in both hardcover and paperback. Recently, Wagner has directed Tomlin's Las Vegas appearances in a new show entitled Not Playing with a Full Deck.

"I've known Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin for many years," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. "I am very pleased to call them my friends. All of you former star winners, thank you for being here. It's wonderful. I put the following into the Congressional Record...As we all know, Lily Tomlin is a dazzling star of stage, screen and television. She first won the hearts of millions of Americans more than 40 years ago. In 1971, Lily began working on an Edith Ann album with a brilliant, award-winning young playwright named Jane Wagner. Since 1985, most of their creative energy has been focused on various productions. These two extraordinary artists have expanded both the bounds of performance art and the understanding of human condition. Congratulations, I love you guys."

Throughout her career, Tomlin has received six Emmys, two Tony Awards, a Grammy, two Peabody Awards and numerous other notable awards for her acting, producing and narrating achievements.

"I've done a lot of these ceremonies over the years and I have never ever seen a crowd like this," said Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, who is originally from Flint, Mich. "There's a special significance to me on this one. A lot of them I don't know the stars, I've never met the stars or remembered what the stars had accomplished. In this case, I actually know Lily and Jane. I do remember the Ring-a-Ding-Ding! I was talking to my sister today, she said you just have to do that. The best part of my job as mayor is when I have the opportunity to thank and honor people. These are the happiest of days of being the mayor of an incredible, incredible town."

More than 250 people were in attendance for the golden star ceremony. Of those, some were tourists who stopped by unexpectedly.

"We absolutely loved it," said Rhonda Mann of Palm Springs, Calif. "I was saying to Becky that it reminded me of 40 years ago when I was in high school and Lily Tomlin was just a strong woman. She was one of my first really strong women heroes. My favorite play was The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. We saw it up in Seattle. We live here and we have been here for 12 years. I've seen Michael Childers, The Go-Go's, Barry Manilow."

Her partner, Becky Bowles, added: "Both of them are my role models--Jane and Lily. My favorite show was Laugh-In. I've seen lots of stars here. All of the Evening Under the Stars and the Steve Chase Awards, they have celebrities there, lots of folks."

"It was a great surprise to us," said Wendy Edey from Edmonton, Alberta. "I have always loved Lily Tomlin. It was very fun just to go to it and drop in and be there for a great moment in Palm Springs. I grew up with Laugh-In so my memories of Lily Tomlin are all in Laugh-In. Recently, I've been hearing her interviewed in the media also. It's nice to bring back those memories as well."

Her daughter, Ruth Haley, of Guelph, Ont. added: "It was kind of exciting to drop in and see something we weren't expecting. I didn't grow up with her, but I did see some episodes of Laugh-In. This is my first time at an event like this."

"I stumbled on the ceremony by accident," said Jim Dalton, a fan from Palm Springs, Calif. "She was in a play or something and I liked the segment when she was in a rocking chair. This is my first time at a ceremony. I've seen other stars, but not like this. I saw Lena Horne two months before she died, Elizabeth Taylor before she died and Rock Hudson before he died. I haven't seen too many new stars because I don't know who they are."

Over the weekend, Tomlin performed two shows at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, Calif. Some of her upcoming shows in California include a stop at The Cascade Theater on March 23 in Redding and the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts on March 24 in Santa Rosa. Tomlin will perform in Michigan at the City Opera House on Sept. 15 in Traverse City and the Wharton Center on Sept. 16 in East Lansing.

For more information about Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, visit their website at

Related Story: Actress Mayim Bialik discusses her book 'Beyond the Sling' in Pasadena, CA




More than 250 people showed up for the ceremony in Palm Springs, Calif.



A close-up of Jane Wagner and Carol Channing (who has Palm Springs Golden Star No. 331).



Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner's Golden Palm Star is No. 345 on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.



Tomlin and Wagner got a first look at their new Golden Palm Star, which is located at 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive.



Fans and the news media waiting for the ceremony to begin.


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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer.