Lily Tomlin will be first openly gay performer to receive SAG lifetime achievement award

Lily Tomlin will be the first openly gay performer to receive the Screen Actors Guild life achievement award when she is honoured at the ceremony next year.

Lily, who shot to movie fame in Nashville in 1975 and starred in 9 To 5 opposite Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda, married Jane Wagner, her partner of 42 years, in 2013.

Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin
Lily with Jane (Kevin Wolf/AP)

She will be the 53rd recipient of the actors' union's highest honour, following in the footsteps of Dick Van Dyke, Dame Julie Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor.

Lily, who also appeared in the hit US comedy TV show Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In, received the 2014 Kennedy Centre Award and has won Emmys, Tonys and Peabodys throughout her long career.

She found new audiences when she appeared as Edith Ann in Sesame Street, as the president's secretary in The West Wing and in her reunion with Fonda in current Netflix series Grace And Frankie.

Actresses Lily Tomlin, left, and Jane Fonda arrive together at the Rebels With A Cause Gala at The Barker Hangar
Lily with Jane Fonda (Chris Pizzello/AP)

SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said: "Lily Tomlin is an extraordinary actress, as equally adept at narrative drama as in comedy roles.

"But it is through her many original characters that Lily's creative genius fully shines.

Actresses Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, from left, join country music singer Dolly Parton, right, in front of a mural advertising their motion picture 9 to 5
With Jane and Dolly promoting 9 To 5 (AP)

"She has an ability to create diverse and distinct characters that are at once familiar, eccentric and oh so honest - in a way that illuminates life's hidden corners.

"From Edith Ann to Frankie, her characters are wholly unique, and by exposing every nuance of human behaviour they widen our scope of understanding.

Lily Tomlin in
Lily on The "Rowan And Martin Laugh-In" show in 1970 (David F Smith/AP)

"On behalf of nearly 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members, we are honoured to bestow our SAG life achievement award on the truly amazing Lily Tomlin."

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