Lily Tomlin couldn't save her show about Dallas that was intended for HBO. But now, she's trying to keep Jenny the elephant from going to that safari park in Mexico, where the Dallas Zoo intends to send her unless the city council intervenes and opts instead for The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. This morning, Margaret Morin, the head of Concerned Citizens for Jenny, forwarded to Unfair Park a missive Tomlin sent on July 25 to Mayor Tom Leppert, in which the star of Nashville and Nine to Five urges the council "to intercede" on the elephant's behalf. You can read this letter in its entirety here. We're supposed to speak with Tomlin this afternoon -- and, sure, try to sneak in a few questions about 12 Miles of Bad Road while we're at it. Till then, proof after the jump of what Tomlin can be like when she gets really, really angry. A note to Mayor Tom: Just don't pull a David O. Russell's all I'm saying. --Robert Wilonsky
Update: More from Tomlin via a Concerned Citizens for Jenny media release, the entirety of which follows.
LILY TOMLIN URGES DALLAS TO SEND JENNY THE ELEPHANT TO A SANCTUARY
Renowned Actress Takes on New Role as Elephant Advocate
Los Angeles, Calif. – Actress, comedian, writer and producer Lily Tomlin is making an impassioned plea to Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and the City Council to send Jenny, the Dallas Zoo elephant at the center of a growing controversy, to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
The award-winning actress sent a letter to the mayor and city council this week, asking them to intercede on behalf of Jenny, whom the Dallas Zoo wishes to send to Africam Safari, a drive-through tourist attraction in Puebla, Mexico.
"This is no laughing matter," says Tomlin. "Jenny's life is on the line. The Elephant Sanctuary clearly is the best place for her because it provides hundreds of acres, the company of other African elephants, and the expertise and experience needed to provide for Jenny's special needs."
In her letter, Tomlin cites lack of U.S. animal welfare protections and lack of space and the companionship of other African elephants as reasons for her opposition to the move. At Africam, Jenny would live on a portion of a 4.9-acre display that now holds only Asian elephants, a different species from Jenny who is African. In contrast, The Elephant Sanctuary provides a secluded and serene environment, with three African elephants currently living on 300 acres.
Tomlin has lent her name and acting skills to assist animal organizations in the past. And she will be forever known for her character Edith Ann, who shared whimsical stories about her best friend, a dog named Buster.
"Jenny's plight grabbed my heart because, after spending most of her life in captivity, she finally has a chance to live a life much closer to what nature intended for her," says Tomlin. "I strongly urge the City of Dallas to do the right thing and give Jenny the life she deserves at The Elephant Sanctuary."