‘Grace & Frankie’: What Is Lily Tomlin’s Age and What Movies Has She Been In?

Netflix’s hit comedy Grace & Frankie is back for Season 5, which means viewers are in for another hilarious performance from Lily Tomlin. On the show, the actress stars as Frankie, a hippie art teacher who moves in with her acquaintance Grace after their husbands reveal they are gay and in love with each other.

Tomlin has been nominated four consecutive times for an Emmy for her work on the show. It’s an impressive accomplishment for a performer who is heading into her eighth decade. Here’s what you need to know about Lily Tomlin’s life and career.

Tomlin is 79 years old

Tomlin was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1939. As a child, she was a fan of comediennes like Lucille Ball. Though she initially planned to become a doctor, she ended up enrolling in some theater arts classes while a student at Wayne State University. In 1965, she relocated to New York City to pursue a career in comedy.

It didn’t take Tomlin long to find success in the Big Apple. After appearances on The Merv Griffin Show and other programs, she earned a spot on the sketch comedy show Laugh-In, which turned her into a household name. She also met her wife, Jane Wagner, while working on the show. 

Success on the big screen

Tomlin’s first film appearance was in Robert Altman’s Nashville. She played a gospel singer who is the mother of two deaf children in a performance that earned her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.

Tomlin followed up Nashville with a number of other hit movies, including 9 to 5 (in which she co-starred with Grace & Frankie actress Jane Fonda), The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Big Business, Shadows and Fog, and I Heart Huckabees. She several more times with Altman, starring in 1993’s Short Cuts and in 2006’s A Prairie Home Companion, and appearing as herself in the movie The Player.  

Tomlin has also appeared in The Late Show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, The Beverly Hillbillies, Flirting with Disaster, Tea with Mussolini, and Grandma.  

Tomlin’s other TV roles

After her Laugh-In success, Tomlin starred in several television specials, including Lily: Sold Out and Lily Tomlin for President. She guest starred on shows like Murphy Brown, Frasier, The X-Files, The Simpsons, and Homicide: Life on the Streets. In the mid-90s, she was the voice of Ms. Frizzle on the children’s show The Magic School Bus, for which she won an Emmy. She also appeared on four seasons of The West Wing as President Bartlett’s private secretary and starred in the HBO movie And the Band Played On, about the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

What’s next for Lily Tomlin?

Lily Tomlin

Lily Tomlin | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Grace & Frankie has already been renewed for a sixth season on Netflix. It should hit the streaming service sometime in 2020. She will also play Mrs. Cambridge in the upcoming movie The Road Home. Also on the horizon is a 9 to 5 reboot, which will reunute Tomlin, Fonda, and Dolly Parton. Reportedly, the updated version will feature three young women who turn to the original trio for help navigating sexism in the workplace.

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