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When Lily Tomlin stormed off “The Dick Cavett Show” after Chad Everett referred to his wife as his ‘property’

I featured Chad Everett as the Morning Man Classic on Sunday because he was an early crush and because he played a gay roles late in his career on the CBS series Cold Case. I didn’t mention in my post, because I was not aware of it, an infamous incident on The Dick Cavett Show in 1973.

Everett oddly referred to his wife as “the most beautiful animal I own.” Fellow guest Lily Tomlin gasped and said, “You own?” She then said, “I have to leave” and walked off the set.


Everett then sounded really creepy when he said after Tomlin left that his wife “is very happy being taken care of by a man. She has no aspirations to be taken care of by a woman.” Then he added, seeming to refer to Tomlin, “But that’s her kind of woman.”

Eeeeeew. He was clearly rattled by Tomlin’s departure and said: “Gee that was a disturbing thing to do. I’m sorry she did that. She’s having fun, right?”

Actually, it was the only thing to do.

It all starts at the 6:30 mark on the video.

Everett died July 24, 2012, at his home in Los Angeles after an 18-month battle with lung cancer. He was 75 years old. He was cremated and his ashes were combined with the ashes of his wife, Shelby Grant, who he stayed married to until her death a year earlier.

FILE UNDER: Controversy


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

12 Remarks

  1. Whoa, a generational building block for MAGA administration.

  2. You are so right about his sounding creepy after Lily walked off, but if you watch the whole show again — or at least the part where she talks about her impressions of California when she first moved there– you’ll see why Everett brought that gag gift of the brassiere. He was clearly trying to provoke her with veiled references to her being Lesbian. He was hostile from the get-go.

  3. Trying to be funny, yes, but not hostile. She had every right to walk off, in protest. In retrospect, he had a 45 year loving marriage. How many in Hollywood can say that? And although I like her, has Lily been with anyone that long?

  4. “he had a 45 year loving marriage. How many in Hollywood can say that? And although I like her, has Lily been with anyone that long?“ seriously? You don’t know that lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner have been a couple for 49 years?

  5. My first thought watching this was that he was a closet case. He was trying mighty hard to show what a he-man he was, or hoped to be, by denigrating Tomlin and what he knew to be her sexual orientation. By putting down her orientation, he could position himself as the polar opposite. This is old hat. Lots of studies out there about how homophobes and those who blatantly and vocally oppose homosexuality/lesbianism are often self-hating and very much running from who they really are.

  6. Just saw this clip. Get a grip people. He also said his wife owned him. They owned each other. It was a mutual connection he poorly explained, but wasn’t a sexist remark. Butt hurt snowflakes take it wrong because someone always wants something to get upset about and fail to use their reasoning ability to it’s full capacity.

  7. Brett…perfect remark. If he said his wife owned him only, Lesbian snowflakes would have no problem. They never let facts get in the way of what they believe or comment. All they hear and believe in their seemingly miserable lives is that men are evil. All Feminism has left for a leader is Linda Sarsour. Feminists all over revere her as a GOD.

  8. When Chad said this: She has no aspirations to be taken care of by a woman.” Then he added, seeming to refer to Tomlin, “But that’s her kind of woman.”

    If you listen to the video what Chad really meant was “his wife has no aspiration to be taken care of by a woman. That’s THE KIND OF WOMAN (his wife) she is.

    Dam people, get a grip. He and his wife were very “old school”. Chad had traditional values and Shelby didn’t mind being “taken care of” by her man. Chad was very romantic (Shelby said that many times). So, they “Owned” each other. NOTHING TO WALK OFF STAGE ABOUT, EVEN BACK IN THOSE DAYS! It wasn’t a homophobic slur!

  9. Snowflake? Get a grip?

    What would you do if a man handed you a paper bag with a woman’s panties in it? Then says he owns his wife?

  10. August 14th, 2021 at 3:15 am
    Helen Lamoureux says:

    I didn’t see Tomlin’s segment but she laughed inclusively about it (not just a polite laugh-she GOT the reference whatever it was and seemed to be fine w/it. Everette MEANT ‘…that’s the kind of woman SHE is… inferring SHE understood, accepted and enjoyed THOSE traditional dynamics they-Shelby ^& Chad-exercised in their relating w/i their relationship. He ENJOYED taking care of her as HIS idea how a man shows his wife love and protection, etc. ‘Owning’ HER was a tragically wrong WORD to have used…he prob meant ‘own’ as in I take that accountability; SHE is who/what I love and protect…and SHE reciprocates the same which expresses HOW they love…OWNING and IDENTIFYING to/with THAT source/person/etc. I ‘own’ loving her; SHE owns loving me: WE!(I WONDER IF what Cavet did w/her album contributed to her feeling dissed…He certainly DID NOT GIVE IT ANY RESPECT whether he did it ‘as a gift’ to her; it seemed he tossed her a meatless bone the way he did it n prob wld have been better if he’d done nothing vs the TACKY WAY he did.

  11. A cringe-worthy moment to be sure when Chad Everett said his wife was one of the animals he owned. When he later said that she also owned him, I couldn’t tell if he was just trying to overcome the awkwardness by equalizing their relationship. In any case, he didn’t refer to himself as an animal. (He also wasn’t wearing a wedding band…) But it was a long time ago and he shouldn’t be defined by a remark that was nothing more than an indication that he was a man (and what a man!) of his generation. RIP Chad Everett.

  12. February 16th, 2022 at 6:25 pm
    Gracie fleury says:

    He didn’t do anything wrong. Lilly looked foolish.

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