Congratulations Lily and Jane!

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Lily Tomlin and longtime girlfriend Jane Wagner married on New Year’s Eve after 43 years together. News that the 74-year-old actress exchanged vows with Wagner came in the form of an online post from Chicago Tribune writer Liz Smith, a close friend of the couple.

“[M]y longtime friends, Lily Tomlin and her love, the writer Jane Wagner, got married on the eve of 2014… My wish is that their happiness will be as great as their combined talents,” Smith wrote.

Wagner, a writer, worked with Tomlin on numerous projects, including the actress’ Tony Award-winning one-woman Broadway show “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe” and 1981 movie “The Incredible Shrinking Woman.”

Back in August Tomlin told E! News that she originally had no plans on getting married, but once same-sex marriage was legalized she had a change of heart.

“Jane and I have been together for 42 years. We’re thinking maybe we’ll get married. You don’t really need to get married, but marriage is awfully nice,” she said. “Everybody I know who got married, they say it really makes a difference. They feel very, very happy about it.”

Tomlin met her partner Jane Wagner in March 1971. After watching an after-school special written by Wagner, J.T., Tomlin invited her to Los Angeles to collaborate on the comedy album And That’s The Truth. The couple had no formal coming out, Tomlin said in 2006:

I certainly never called a press conference or anything like that. [Back in the ’70s,] people didn’t write about it. Even if they knew, they would [refer to Jane as] “Lily’s collaborator,” things like that. Some journalists are just motivated by their own sense of what they want to say or what they feel comfortable saying or writing about. In ’77, I was on the cover of Time. The same week I had a big story in Newsweek. In one of the magazines it says I live alone, and the other magazine said I live with Jane Wagner. Unless you were so really adamantly out, and had made some declaration at some press conference, people back then didn’t write about your relationship. … In ’75 I was making the Modern Scream album, and Jane and I were in the studio. My publicist called me and said, “Time will give you the cover if you’ll come out.” I was more offended than anything that they thought we’d make a deal. But that was ’75 — it would have been a hard thing to do at that time.
Tomlin stated in 2008, “Everybody in the industry was certainly aware of my sexuality and of Jane…in interviews I always reference Jane and talk about Jane, but they don’t always write about it.”

Tomlin has been involved in a number of feminist and gay-friendly film productions, and on her 1975 album Modern Scream she poked fun at straight actors who make a point of distancing themselves from their gay and lesbian characters—answering the pseudo-interview question, she replied: “How did it feel to play a heterosexual? I’ve seen these women all my life, I know how they walk, I know how they talk …”

Though there are many Lily Tomlin roles that I remember and love, I will always think first of her as Edith Ann, one of her many famous characters. I probably remember that character because Country’s Barbecue in Montgomery, Alabama, had a huge red rocking chair that kids, including me, used to love to sit in and feel like Edith Ann, or at least I felt like Edith Ann, everyone else may have just thought of it as a big chair.

Edith Ann character is a precocious five-and-a-half year old girl who waxes philosophical on everyday life, either about life as a kid or things for which she feels she has the answers although she is too young to fully understand. She often ends her monologues with “And that’s the truth,” punctuating it with a noisy raspberry. Edith Ann sits in an over-sized rocking chair (to make Tomlin seem child-sized) with her rag doll, Doris, and often talks of life at home with her battling parents and bullying older sister, Mary Jean (Lily Tomlin’s actual first names). Edith Ann has an over-sized, playfully aggressive dog named Buster and a boyfriend named Junior Phillips, a possibly unrequited love.

One of my favorite Edith Ann quotes:

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.
~ Lily Tomlin Quotes, As Edith Ann

A QUICK UPDATE: my aunt’s doctor told our family that she was finally seeing some improvement with the lung x-rays. My aunt’s H1N1 flu and the pneumonia have cleared up, and though she isn’t out of the woods yet, there are definite sign of improvement. Furthermore, I talked to HRH’s vet yesterday afternoon. He said that she was doing well, and they are still working on getting fluids in her so that they can tap her bladder and send it off for analysis. Thank you all for your prayers, kindness, and words of encouragement. Neither are in the clear yet, but things, hopefully, will continue looking up. So please continue to keep us in your prayers.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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