Lily Tomlin Will Teach and Speak at Saint Mary's

Actress/Comedian Lily Tomlin Coming to Saint Mary's College

Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, Ind.
(574) 284-4579

August 27, 2010 (Notre Dame, Ind.) – The Saint Mary’s College Theatre Program will welcome Lily Tomlin to campus on Monday, September 27 as the 2010/2011 academic year’s Margaret Hill Endowed Visiting Artist*. Tomlin, known for her versatility as an award-winning comedic and dramatic actress, will conduct a master class with Saint Mary’s College theatre students in the morning and hold a public lecture that evening.

Over her 40-year career, Tomlin has received many awards including two Tonys, two Peabodys, six Emmys, a Grammy, the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards, plus the Mark Twain Prize for American humor. This year she received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series” for her role as Marilyn Tobin on “Damages,” which stars Glenn Close. Close was at Saint Mary’s College in the spring as the Margaret Hill Endowed Visiting Artist for the 2009/2010 academic year. 

“In the past four years, Saint Mary’s theatre students have worked with the likes of actress Camryn Manheim, Broadway director Hal Prince, Glenn Close and now Lily Tomlin as Margaret Hill Endowed Visiting Artists. So our fourth-year theatre students will leave here having worked with high-profile masters of the theatre. That’s the power of an endowment, and we are so grateful to Peggy Hill for her gift,” said Mark Abram-Copenhaver, professor of theatre at Saint Mary's College. Hill is a Saint Mary's College alumna and a Broadway producer.

“Lily Tomlin is a rare talent who makes it look effortless to move from comedy to drama and back again,” Abram-Copenhaver added. “We are thrilled that she will work with our theatre students on the process of creating and developing a character.”

Characters that Tomlin made famous include those from the slapstick sketch show “Laugh-In” in the 1970s. Her most famous personas from the show include Ernestine, the prune-faced telephone operator, and Edith Ann, the precocious six year old who sat in an oversized rocking chair.

Tomlin has made close to 20 films and was nominated for an Oscar for her debut in Robert Altman's "Nashville." Her movies include “Nine to Five” (1980) with Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton; “All of Me” (1984) with Steve Martin; “Big Business”(1988) with Bette Midler; “Flirting with Disaster” (1996) with Ben Stiller; “I Heart Huckabees” (2004) with Dustin Hoffman; and “Pink Panther, 2” with Steve Martin (2009). Her recent television work includes roles on “Desperate Housewives” (2008-2009); “The West Wing” (2002-2006); “The Magic School Bus” as the voice of Ms. Frizzle (1994-1997); and “Murphy Brown” (1996-1998).

Tomlin’s 1986 one-woman Broadway performance in Jane Wagner's “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe” was a long-running critical success. It won Tomlin a Tony, and was made into a film in 1991. On at least several occasions during its Broadway run, Tomlin donned disguises and chatted incognito with the crowds on the sidewalk lined up to get in.

“An Evening with Lily Tomlin” will be held at 7:30 p.m., September 27, in O’Laughlin Auditorium. The event is free to Saint Mary's College, University of Notre Dame and Holy Cross College students, faculty and staff, but tickets are still required. They may go to the Box Office in Moreau Center for the Arts beginning on Wednesday, September 1 to pick up tickets. The general public may purchase tickets, beginning September 6, by going to, by calling (574) 284-4626 or by stopping by the Box Office. Admission is  $14 online, or $13 over the phone or at the Box Office.

*Actress Sigourney Weaver had been previously announced as the 2010/2011 Margaret Hill Endowed Visiting Artist. She was unable to keep the engagement due to her film-shooting schedule. The Saint Mary’s College Theatre Department hopes to have her to campus at another time. 

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary's College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” in the U.S. News & World Report 2011 College Guide. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.