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Lily Tomlin's Intelligent Life...

This morning my publicist asked me to provide Amsel's image of Lily Tomlin. It made me smile, as I knew I would have to sort through the many images in my collection.

Amsel did a number of portraits of the legendary comedienne. There was a portrait for the cover of TIME, which is featured at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. The were posters for THE LATE SHOW, and THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN (the latter was used in newspaper ads, but not as the final one sheet).

But one image I had was, I believe, yet to be published anywhere: Amsel's proposed poster design for Tomlin's hit show, THE SEARCH FOR SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE:

As with Bette Midler, Amsel had a unique association with Tomlin, which we intend to explore in the documentary. A fascinating, unexplored part of this was Amsel's ambitions to become an animator. He had done a pencil test using Tomlin's Edith Ann character -- a self-taught animation exercise that a number of people saw, but the footage has, tragically, remained lost for years.

Tomlin would go on to develop Edith Ann into an animated cartoon special, which the LOS ANGELES TIMES profiled in early 1994. In their interview Tomlin mentioned Amsel's work:

“He was a big Edith fan and he was also a Disney fan. He could draw, but he couldn’t animate so he taught himself how to animate. He did about a minute and half of Edith and he filmed me first on 8 millimeter,” Tomlin recalls. “It was just so adorable. I don’t know where that film is. It was real appealing. It was just in her little voice.”

For the record, I've tried numerous times over the years to reach out to Ms. Tomlin's camp, asking if she'd be willing to participate in the documentary. So far, no success... If anyone has any leads to help, please let me know!


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