Comedy icon Lily Tomlin has become the first out lesbian to be selected for a prestigious Kennedy Center Honors.
It was announced Tuesday (9 September) that Tomlin will be honored in December alongside singer Al Green, actor Tom Hanks, ballerina Patricia McBride, and singer-songwriter Sting.
Given annually since 1978, the Kennedy Center Honors have grown to become one of the most prestigious honors for any performer. They recognize living artists for lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.
‘From the days of her early television and theatrical appearances, Lily Tomlin has made us laugh and continues to amaze us with her acting talent and quick wit,’ Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement.
Tomlin rose to fame in the early 1970s on the comedy sketch show Laugh-In and has since gone on to conquer films and the Broadway stage.
She was Oscar nominated for her performance in Nashville and has also starred in such films as All of Me, Nine to Five, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Flirting With Disaster, A Prairie Home Companion, Short Cuts and Big Business, among many others.
Tomlin has won Tony Awards for her one-women Broadway shows Appearing Nitely and The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.
The busy performer is also a five-time Emmy winner who is currently filming a new Netflix television series opposite Jane Fonda called Grace and Frankie. They play two women whose husbands leave them for each other.
Tomlin, 75, is a newlywed after marrying longtime partner Jane Wagner last New Year’s Eve. At the time of their wedding, the couple had been together for 42 years.
While Tomlin is the first out lesbian to be selected for the Kennedy Center Honors, several openly gay men have been honored including Stephen Sondheim, Edward Albee and Elton John.