Lily Tomlin Turned Down 'Time' Coming Out Cover Decades Before Ellen Said 'Yep, I'm Gay'

Comedy great Lily Tomlin was offered, and turned down, the original “Yep I’m Gay” Timemagazine cover in 1975, she tells Entertainment Weekly.
By: Leslie Dobbins
March 26 2013 2:29 PM

Comedy great Lily Tomlin was offered, and turned down, the original “Yep I’m Gay” Time magazine cover in 1975, she tells Entertainment Weekly, according to Greg in Hollywood.  

In an upcoming issue of EW, Tomlin says she had an opportunity to come out publicly in much the same way Ellen DeGeneres later did in 1997, some 22 years later.

Time magazine offered me the cover in 1975 if I would come out,” she says. “I was a bit insulted that they thought I’d trade my personal life for the cover. It’s probably just as well. Being such a big TV personality at that time, it probably would have been tsunami-like.”

She adds: “It’s stunning the progress in the last 15 years.”

At 73, Tomlin has been with her partner Jane Wagner for 42 years, most of which they collaborated on many of Tomlin’s comedic ventures, including the 1985, Tony award winning, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. 

Tomlin has enjoyed a stellar professional career since it began on Laugh In in the 60s.  She’s received two Tony’s, a Grammy, four primetime Emmy’s, and a Daytime Emmy.  She was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her performance in the 1975 classic, Nashville.  She is most widely associated with her roles in 9 to 5, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and Big Business. 

Currently, Tomlin is playing Tina Fey’s mother in the comedy Admission, and is co-starring in Reba McEntire’s ABC sitcom Malibu Country.

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