AceShowbiz - Lily Tomlin turned down the chance to "come out" on the cover of Time magazine in the mid-1970s because she feared the big reveal would distract from her film and comedy career.
Editors of the magazine approached her publicist to see if the "9 to 5" star was interested in becoming a role model for the gay movement, but Lily, who turns 80 this year, reveals she didn't think it was a good idea at the time.
"Pat Kingsley (publicist) called me... and she told me Time would give me the cover if I came out," she told fellow gay pioneer Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show. "It was a hard decision to make.
"I just decided that I wasn't going to play their game... and I wanted to be acknowledged for my performance, and I can see in retrospect that that was hardly worth it," she joked.
"They got a nice service person, like from the Army or something, to be on the cover."
Her "Grace and Frankie" and "9 to 5" co-star Jane Fonda, who joined Lily on the show, jumped in and insisted she would "come out" if Time came calling: "If they put me on the cover of Time, I'll come out," she laughed.
Tomlin and her now-wife, writer Jane Wagner, staged a formal coming out years later and the couple wed on New Year's Eve (December 31), 2013.
Talking about her sexuality in 2006, the comedienne and actress said, "I certainly never called a press conference or anything like that... Unless you were so really adamantly out, and had made some declaration at some press conference, people back then didn't write about your relationship.
"In '75 I was making the Modern Scream album and Jane and I were in the studio. My publicist called me and said, 'Time will give you the cover if you'll come out'. I was more offended than anything that they thought we'd make a deal. But that was '75 - it would have been a hard thing to do at that time."