Jane Wagner

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Jane Wagner
Wagner in September 2011
Born (1935-02-26) February 26, 1935 (age 80)
Morristown, Tennessee, U.S.
Occupation Screenwriter, director, producer

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 wife.[1][2][3]

She is the author of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, The Incredible Shrinking Woman and other Tomlin vehicles.

Early life and education[edit]

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 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 won a second Peabody for the ABC special, Edith Ann’s Christmas: Just Say Noel (1996).

Since its launch in 2008, Wagner has been a contributor for wowOwow.com, a website for women to talk culture, politics and gossip.

Honors, awards and nominations[edit]

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 Comedy-Variety or Music Special - The Lily Tomlin Special
1974: won - Outstanding 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

Works and publications[edit]

  • Wagner, Jane, and Gordon Parks, Jr.. J.T. New York: Dell, 1971. ISBN 978-0-440-44275-2 OCLC 25466332
  • Tomlin, Lily, and Jane Wagner. On Stage. New York, N.Y.: Arista, 1977. Recorded live at the Biltmore Theatre, New York City. Audio book on LP. OCLC 858894156
  • Wagner, Jane. Development and Effect of Feminist Consciousness Raising Women's Groups, Los Angeles, Late 1960's Through 1982. Ph.D. Thesis/dissertation. Wright Institute, Los Angeles. 1983. OCLC 18254930
  • Wagner, Jane, Elon Soltes, Wendy Apple, and Lily Tomlin. Appearing Nitely. Valley Village, Calif.: Tomlin and Wagner Theatricalz, 1992. Recorded live at the Huntington Hartford Theater in Los Angeles, Calif. Originally produced for television in 1978. Video recording. OCLC 28219227
  • Wagner, Jane. Edith Ann -- My Life, So Far. New York: Hyperion, 1994. As told to and illustrated by Jane Wagner. ISBN 978-0-786-86120-0 OCLC 31236871
  • Tomlin, Lily, Jane Wagner, and Anna Deavere Smith. Conversation with Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, October 25, 1994. San Francisco: City Arts & Lectures, Inc, 1994. Masonic Auditorium. OCLC 743427376
  • Wagner, Jane. J.T. New York: Carousel Films, 2000. DVD. Originally broadcast in 1969. Jeannette Du Bois, Theresa Merritt, Kevin Hooks. OCLC 63681705
  • Tomlin, Lily, and Jane Wagner. And That's the Truth. United States: Universal Music Enterprises, 2003. Recorded live at The Ice House, Pasadena, March 1976. Audio book. OCLC 212930925
  • Tomlin, Lily, and Jane Wagner. The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. Tarzana, Calif.: Laugh.com, 2005. 1992 HBO television film. A film adaptation of the Broadway play by Jane Wagner. OCLC 63664207
  • Wagner, Jane, Marilyn French, and Lily Tomlin. The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. New York, NY: ItBooks, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2012. Reprint. Originally published: New York : Harper & Row, 1986. Based on the Broadway play written by Wagner starring Lily Tomlin. Includes an Afterword by Marilyn French and Reflections by Lily Tomlin and by Jane Wagner. ISBN 978-0-062-10737-4 OCLC 798732509
  • Wagner, Jane C., and Tina DiFeliciantonio. Girls Like Us. New York, NY: Women Make Movies, 2013. Originally produced as a motion picture documentary film in 1997. DVD. OCLC 843761980

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jones, Christopher. "Congratulations!: Lily Tomlin Marries Longtime Partner Jane Wagner". Instinct Magazine. Instinct Publishing, Inc. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Smith, Liz (3 January 2014). "Was life a 'Cabaret' for Bob Fosse? Yes, no, maybe". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Shulman, Randy (2006-04-27), "Lily Tomlin - The actress discusses her career, her upcoming show at Bethesda's Strathmore, and life with her partner Jane Wagner", Metro Weekly, retrieved 2007-07-03 

External links[edit]