Lily Tomlin offered advice to young actors and a hearty dose of humor as she accepted the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award.

“Don’t leave the house when you’re drunk,” she said to riotous laughter from her fellow actors at the Shrine Auditorium.

“Don’t be anxious about missing an opportunity,” she continued. “Behind every failure is an opportunity someone wishes they had missed.”

Dolly Parton presented Tomlin with the statuette, which features the classic drama masks of comedy and tragedy. As Tomlin accepted it, she turned the trophy so that the sad face was pointed toward the audience.

“Live your life so that when you are being honored for your achievements, the people called upon to make laudatory remarks can feel reasonably honest about their comments,” she said. “Otherwise, in these times, all their words or phrases might be perceived as alternative facts — or worse yet, fake news.”

Though a clip package from throughout Tomlin’s five decades in television and film, she said, “Ironically this award makes you feel not that you’ve done so much, but more than you wish you had done so much more to receive an honor like this.”

Asked what she knows now that would have benefited her at the outset of her career, Tomlin said, “I wish I’d known to just be more myself instead of trying to stretch my face, my voice, everything into a character.”

She said that she always knew to use sunscreen, though, even as a youngster, because she used to read her mother’s beauty magazines.

“I think using sunscreen is good advice for men and women, not just women,” Tomlin said. “I don’t want to make that a women’s issue.”


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