Who said: "No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up."

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No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up – Lily Tomlin

Mary Jean "Lily" Tomlin, born 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, is an actress, comedian, writer and producer who has won many awards including Tony, Emmy and Grammy Awards, and has been nominated for an Academy Award.

Tomlin graduated from Cass Technical High School and then attended Wayne State University, both in Detroit. After college she started doing stand-up comedy in Detroit and later in New York City, making her first TV appearance as a guest on The Merv Griffin Show in 1965. In 1969 she briefly hosted Music Scene on ABC TV and then joined NBC's Laugh-in which is where she first played many of the characters who she has continued to portray throughout her career. In addition to her many female characters, she was one of the first female comedians to portray male characters in drag.

She was the first woman to appear solo in a Broadway show, Appearing Nitely, which premiered in 1977; she appeared on the cover of Time the same year. She later toured the country with the show and, in fact, has spent much of her career touring with one show or another. In 1985 she starred in another one-woman Broadway show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, written by her life-partner, writer and producer Jane Wagner. It won a Tony Award and was made into a feature film in 1991.

Her film credits include Nashville (which garnered her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress), Nine to Five, All of Me, Big Business (where she and Bette Midler played identical twins switched at birth) and Short Cuts.

To many children her voice will be familiar as that of Ms Frizzle on the animated TV series The Magic School Bus (1994-1997) and in recent years she has played Will Truman's boss Margot on Will & Grace, and presidential secretary Deborah Fiderer in The West Wing.

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