Lily Tomlin on ‘Malibu Country’

Celebrity Q&A,Featured Article
February 12, 2013

Does her relationship with Reba McEntire extend beyond the screen?

LILY TOMLIN
MALIBU COUNTRY - ABC's "Malibu Country" stars Lily Tomlin as Lillie Mae. (ABC/CRAIG SJODIN)
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I really enjoy watching Lily Tomlin play Reba McEntire’s mother on “Malibu Country.” Did she know McEntire beforehand?
—Loreli Ceradini, Philadelphia, Pa.

Tomlin, 73, a native of Detroit, Mich., spent lot of time in Nashville, Tenn., the home of country music, as both her mother and brother lived there at one point—her brother still does, while both Tomlin’s parents are buried there. As a result, Tomlin and McEntire, 57, would see each other out and about and would always say hello. They were friendly, but not really socially friends.

“When I really became invested in Reba is when I saw her do ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ on Broadway,” Tomlin says. “She was spectacular. She was so alive and so authentic. I literally began to weep when she was on stage for two minutes. For two hours, I was impacted that way. I went back stage and carried on—and here we are 10 years later, and I got a job on Reba’s show.”

The former “Laugh-in” star jokes that she has reached the point in her career where she is playing everyone’s mother now. She played Lisa Kudrow’s mother on “Web Therapy,” Kenny Powers’ mother on “Eastbound & Down” and Tina Fey’s mother in the upcoming film “Admission.” She also played McGee’s (Sean Murray) grandmother on “NCIS” and jokes, “I am slipping gracefully into those waning years.”

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