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Lily Tomlin portrays Roberta Simmons in Season 5 of Desperate Housewives.


Lily Tomlin was born on September 1, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan. She studied acting under Charles Nelson Reilly, who introduced her to the works of monologist Ruth Draper, a major inspiration for Tomlin's work. One of her first "professional" gigs was as a waitress in Howard Johnson's on Broadway near Times Square. Her comments to customers and staff heard over the eatery's microphone attracted her first big-city audience. She has won two Tony Awards: in 1977, a special Award, and in 1986, the Best Actress (Play) Award for her one-woman show, "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe," a performance recreated in the film version of the same title, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (1991). She is known for her "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" (1967) characters Edith Ann and Ernestine the phone operator. After Season 5 of Desperate Housewives finished, the creator Marc Cherry considered making a spin-off series of Karen McCluskey and Lily's character Roberta. It is unknown whether the show will go ahead but there is a strong likelihood of this.


Tomlin has starred or appeared in the following:

  • Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
  • Nashvile
  • Nine to Five
  • All of Me
  • Big Business
  • The Beverley Hillbillies
  • Frasier
  • The Magic School Bus
  • Murphy Brown
  • Orange County
  • The West Wing
  • The Walker
  • 12 Miles of Bad Road
  • Pink Panther 2
  • Desperate Housewives