I grew up in the small town of Ashland, Massachusetts and spent much of my youth working on my grandmother's horse ranch. And one night a week, my parents would let me stay up late to watch Laugh-In so that I could catch Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann and Ernestine. Having a lemonade with my Grandmother, Marion, after cleaning the stalls and sitting cross legged in front of the TV watching Lily Tomlin were two of my very favorite things.
On Sundays I would hang out in the kitchen with my mother while she cooked and watched the old movies she grew up on. Sitting at the table, helping her peel potatoes or chop carrots, I developed a crush on Walter Matthau, which my family found odd. Why not Warren Beatty? Why not Paul Newman?
Sure, they’re great and have better posture. But there was something about Mr. Matthau’s face. That was a face you could live in. The kind of face you could curl up in. Get cozy. I never had the pleasure of meeting Walter in person, but I did have the great pleasure of meeting and befriending the one and only Lily.
And like Walter, an actor with “a face.” Exquisitely expressive and radiant. Lily has the kind of face, the kind of something, that makes you feel seen when you’re watching her, that we’re all in this thing together. That we all matter, in things large and small.
I was performing in HILDY HILDY, a staged episodic series I had created, which had developed a cult following in New York and Los Angeles, and one evening after the show, my friend came down to the dressing room and said, “Lily Tomlin’s here. She wants to meet you.” I thought he was pulling my leg, but over his shoulder I saw Lily Tomlin heading down the steep spiral staircase that led down to our dressing room in the basement.
THERE SHE WAS. After performing in her revival of SEARCH FOR SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE at the Ahmanson, Lily had come to catch our late night show at the Bootleg Theatre. Here was this marvelous artist that filled me with such joy and hope as a kid. Lily became a regular audience member, staying up late, like me years ago, to watch our show.
Yes, life and art work in mysterious ways.
We are all artists, in one way or another, and when another artist, another human, makes us feel seen and inspired, what a GIFT. i strive to do this both in my work and in my life.
Thank you for visiting my site. Some of you may recognize me from HBO's unique and brilliant series GETTING ON, where I had the good fortune to play Paula Pepperell, the earnest and enigmatic union rep. Such a treat working on that show with an amazing team of artists. I then was lucky enough to play the recurring role of Joy in FX’s BETTER THINGS, another gem of a show. Both of them are full of authenticity, humor, and heart. Three more of my very favorite things, besides my dog.