Lily Tomlin

  1. Louise Fletcher, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975.      Ernestine, TV’s  Laugh In telephone operator, as Nurse Ratched –  it would never have  worked!
  2. Valerie Perrine, Mr Billion, 1976.      Italian cinemogul Dino De Laurentiis’ dream of turning the US on to Terence Hill fell imploded when he (a) rejected director Jonathan Kaplan’s choice of funny girl Tomlin for sexy gal Perrine and (b) dropped Hill’s usual schtick for something completely different.
  3. Marsha Mason, The Cheap Detective, 1978.    Impossible  for Lily to quit her sell-out one-woman show, so writer Neil Simon’s then-wife asked to audition.  “We were both nervous, we didn’t know if Marsha could do that kind of comedy.  She was terrific, such a consummate actress, she can play anything.”
  4. Shelley Duvall, Popeye, 1980.     “Nobody,” said director Robert Altman, “could have played Olive Oyl like Shelley.  Nobody else looks like that.” When  they first met for Brewster McCloud, 1970, “she had these eyelashes painted on her face, weighed about four pounds and if she had any tits they were on her back.” The definitive Olive Oyl always dreamt  of being…  Lois Lane.
  5. Jane Fonda,  California Suite, 1978.     Tomlin and Neil Simon  II…  Problem this time, was… a bkini. “I tease Jane Fonda about this, they offered me the part she got,” Tomlin told Deadline Hollywood. “And she’s on the beach in a bikini and I didn’t want to go on the beach in a bikini. I didn’t want to play that scene in a bikini. Jane [didn’t know]  it had been offered to me. Jane later told me she developed a workout because she had to go on the beach in a bikini.”
  6. Cher, Silkwood, 1983.       She auditioned for Dolly Pelliker. But the lesbian  was not selected to play a lesbian.  Go figure.
  7. Mac Davis, The Sting II, 1983.    Endeavouring to land Richard Pryor, Universal offered various inducements including this sequel to the studio’s big hit  – with Lily as co-star.
  8. Anjelica Huston, The Grifters, 1989. At first, producer Martin Scorsese and UK director Stephen Frears were thinking about Melanie Griffith.. as John Cusack’s con-artist mother.  But she was pregnant.  OK then, Geena Davis, Sissy Spacek or Lily Tomlin? But no, Huston got “the role of my life.” And a second Oscar nomination.
  9. Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  10. Grace Zabriskie, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, 1993.   “I turned it down, I don’t know why.   I wanted to workwith [director] Gus Van Sant.  But I didn’t love the books much as everybody carried on in the 70s.”
  11. Brad Bird, The Incredibles, 2004.    Tomlin was invited to voice the Edith Headesque Edna E Mode. She listened to the writer-director Brad Bird’s guide track and retorted: “What do you need me for? You got it already.” And so, he became E – dubbed by the outrageous Amanda Lear for the Italian release, Gli Incredibili – Una normale famiglia di supereroi, doncha know!



 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  11