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Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin have been close friends for 40 years. With the final season of their popular show Grace & Frankie right around the corner, let’s look back on their story together.
Appreciation Before Friendship
Before they were friends, both Fonda and Tomlin were fans of one another. Tomlin told the Washington Post in 2017, “I’ve been a fan of hers since before I met her…I had a Klute hairdo when she did Klute.” Klute is a 1971 thriller starring Fonda and Roy Scheider.
The two wouldn’t meet until Fonda attended Tomlin’s one-woman show entitled “Appearing Nitely,” during which Fonda was entranced by Tomlin. She told Vulture, “I had never seen anything like it in my life. I wanted to attach myself to her in whatever way I could. I said to myself, “I don’t want to make a movie about secretaries unless she’s in it.” Now it’s become, “I don’t want to ever work again unless she’s in it.” Sure enough, they would work together soon.
‘9 To 5’
Their fate as friends was sealed when they co-starred in 9 to 5 alongside Dolly Parton. In a 2015 TED talk, Tomlin spoke joyously about the making of the film. “We laughed so much; we found we had so much in common…we found that we were so in sync as women.” Even though the two come from different worlds, Hollywood and Detroit, they’ve remained close friends ever since.
Both Tomlin and Fonda have received numerous awards and honors over the years, and they seem to come as a package deal. When Fonda was honored during a Lincoln Center Gala Tribute, the two sat together and Tomlin cheered her on. A few years later, Fonda was cheering on Tomlin at the Laughter is the Best Medicine Gala from the Valley Community Clinic.
The list goes on and on. Fonda helped present Tomlin at the Kennedy Center Honors, and Tomlin honored Fonda at the Vanguard Awards. The two relish any opportunity to gush about one another.
What Comes Next?
Grace & Frankie reunited the two, but it’s coming to a close after seven seasons. Don’t fret, however, for the two have numerous upcoming films in the work. They’ve just finished working on revenge comedy Moving On, and they’re staring alongside Rita Moreno in the Tom Brady movie 80 for Brady. As one project comes to an end, Tomlin and Fonda are determined to continue working together, even after 40 years.
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