Lily Tomlin On Being Gay and Playing a Gay Grandma

In Lily Tomlin’s new film, Grandma, the audience will see her as Elle, a woman raising money for her granddaughter’s abortion. This grandmother is probably unlike any other you’ve heard of.

Tomlin says, “I think it’s progressive. Just being pro-choice and tossing it off, instead of hammering away at a subject, or being righteous about it.”

In this film, Elle is gay, and Tomlin is gay in real life as well. It’s not the first time she has taken on a role about a lesbian though. In the theater she has played gay women on a few occasions, as well as in the film Tea with Mussolini. And she was happy to play such a role again in Grandma.

“It was nice that I was gay, that I was playing someone of an age who could’ve lived all those things.”

For years, Tomlin has been with her partner, writer Jane Wagner, but she was never made her homosexuality a big deal in the press.

“From the gay community, from hardcore gay activists, I had a lot of friends who were pursuing a more pro-active exhibition of their thoughts. I was always very supportive of gay causes. I would’ve had to call a press conference and made a big announcement – and it was just too corny. Everybody that I talked to, in the industry or journalism, they knew that I was gay, that I was a partner with Jane Wagner for so many years – and still am. But they just didn’t write about it as much then.”

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Lily Tomlin On Being Gay and Playing a Gay Grandma
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Lily Tomlin On Being Gay and Playing a Gay Grandma
Lily Tomlin talks about being a gay actress and her new role in the soon to be released film Grandma.