Jane Wagner : biography
Jane Wagner (born February 26, 1935) is an American writer, director and producer. Wagner is best known as Lily Tomlin’s comedy writer, collaborator and life partner.
She is the author of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, The Incredible Shrinking Woman and other Tomlin vehicles.
Wagner was born and raised in Morristown, Tennessee, where she quickly developed a penchant for writing. She attended Morristown High School, where she wrote for the school newspaper. At 17, she left the hills of East Tennessee to pursue an acting career in New York City, where she also studied painting and sculpture at the School of Visual Arts and piano.
Early in her life she toured with the Barter Theatre of Abingdon, Virginia, and later became a designer for such firms as Kimberly-Clark and Fieldcrest.
She made her writing debut with the CBS afternoon special J.T. (1969), for which she won the Peabody Award – and drew the attention of Tomlin, who was looking for someone to help develop the Laugh-In character Edith Ann. It was the beginning of a collaboration that continues to this day.
Wagner has been nominated for Grammy Awards, with Tomlin, for the comic’s recorded albums, and has won three Emmy Awards and a Writers Guild of America award, also with Tomlin, for the comic’s television specials.
She also wrote and directed Moment by Moment, starring Tomlin and John Travolta, and wrote The Incredible Shrinking Woman, which starred Tomlin.
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe won Wagner a Special Award from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and a New York Drama Desk Award. The film adaptation of the play brought Wagner a Cable ACE Award.
Wagner also won a second Peabody for the ABC special, Edith Ann’s Christmas: Just Say Noel (1996).
On 16 March 2012 Wagner and Tomlin received the 345th star on the Walk of Stars in Palm Springs, California. Senator Barbara Boxer and Palm Springs residents and fellow star recipients, Carol Channing, actor Dane Andrew & Rascal The World’s Ugliest Dog were among the attendees at the dedication ceremony.
Since its launch in 2008, Jane Wagner has been a contributor for wowOwow.com, a new website for women to talk culture, politics and gossip.
Awards and nominations
Annie Award 1997: nominated – Best Individual Achievement: Writing in a TV Production – Edith Ann’s Christmas: Just Say Noel
Emmy Award 1993: nominated – Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special – The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe 1981: won – Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program – Lily: Sold Out 1981: nominated – Outstanding Writing in a Variety, Music or Comedy Program – Lily: Sold Out 1976: won – Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Special – The Lily Tomlin Special 1976: nominated – Outstanding Special: Comedy-Variety or Music – The Lily Tomlin Special 1974: won – Best Writing in Comedy-Variety, Variety or Music – Lily
New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival 1997: won – Best Short – 2 or 3 Things But Nothing for Sure
Peabody Award 1996: won – Edith Ann’s Christmas: Just Say Noel 1970: won – J.T.
San Francisco International Film Festival 1997: won – Silver Spire: Film & Video Short Documentary – 2 or 3 Things But Nothing for Sure
Sundance Film Festival 1997: won – Grand Jury Prize: Documentary – Girls Like Us 1995: won – Special Jury Prize: Short Filmmaking – Tom’s Flesh