Lily Tomlin, actress, comedian and animal advocate

LilyTomlin

Lily Tomlin, who’s collected a trunkful of major awards, including Emmys, Tonys, a Grammy and two Peabody Awards—and who has a similarly distinguished  record in the realm of animal welfare—recalls childhood experiences with animals, growing up in Michigan and spending summers in rural Kentucky. Lily TomlinShe also describes the current animal residents of the Tomlin-Wagner home:  Murphy, a 19-year-old cat who in the wake of glaucoma had one eye removed about a decade ago but is otherwise in good health; and Roddy (yes, after McDowall), a cat they’re fostering. There had been a dog, Princess, but after she died, Murphy hasn’t taken kindly to new animals (Roddy lives at Tomlin’s office), but Tomlin notes at various An_Apology_to_Elephantspoints in the conversation that she’s every bit as much a dog person. She’s an animal person. She touches on serving on the board of directors of Actors And Others For Animals, describes the organization’s current mission, and mostly laughs at a question about navigating the differing viewpoints held by board members—for example, Betty White being strongly pro-zoo while Tomlin herself is strongly anti-zoo. She traces the path of how she became an elephant advocate, which began when she was asked to write a letter to then-Los Angeles mayor Anthony Villaraigosa about the controversy regarding the elephants Ruby and Billy, lily-tomlinat the L.A. Zoo…and eventually landed her as the executive producer and narrator of the acclaimed HBO documentary, “An Apology To Elephants” (she won an Emmy for that narration), and often involves her caring for “special needs” animals.  (www.lilytomlin.com, www.facebook.com/lilytomlin, www.hbo.com/documentaries/an-apology-to-elephants#/)

ALSO: We spoke briefly with Ken Donofrio, of The Animal Coalition Of Tampa (ACT), about their then-forthcoming fundraising dinner, Spay-Ghetti & No Balls, slated April 5, and also addressed ACT  having recently reaching the milestone  of having performed 80,000 spay/neuter procedures. (www.actampa.org, www.facebook.com/actampa)

COMEDY CORNER: Mitch Hedberg’s “Smackie The Frog” (portion)  (http://mitchhedberg.net)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Quilt’s “Arctic Shark,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  The B-52s’ “Rock Lobster”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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