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Oscar-Winner Tami Lane Returns To Peoria As Street Is Named In Her Honor

Hannah Alani
Tami Lane stands with mother Linda Lane, left, and sister Tracy Lane on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2021.

Academy Award-winning makeup artist and Peoria native Tami Lane now has a hometown street named in her honor.

Lyndale Road by Hines Primary School now has an honorary "Tami Lane" sign.

Lane attended Hines during the 1980s. She later graduated from Woodruff High School and Bradley University before moving to Los Angeles to start her movie career.

Standing outside Hines on Wednesday, Lane thanked local leaders for the honor.

“This really means a lot,” she said. “I’m blown away. … I’m very proud to represent Peoria out in the world. Especially my public school roots.

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Lane won the Academy Award in 2006 for her work on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. She was later nominated for the same award for her work on The Hobbit.

Lane said she always had an interest in art, a passion she discovered during art classes at school. She loved attending local theater but because of her stage fright, was more interested in what was going on behind the scenes.

Her first make-up work was designing frightful looks for actors performing at local haunted houses.

“That’s where I started doing crazy monster make-up,” she said.

Hannah Alani
Peoria renamed part of Lyndale Road in honor of Tami Lane, the city's only Academy Award winner.

Mary Jo Papich was Lane’s band teacher at Woodruff High School, where Lane played trumpet and softball.

Papich said she wouldn’t have been surprised if Lane pursued a career in music or sports.

“Tami stands out wherever she is,” she said. “She’s full of personality. She’s full of a vigor for life, and a zest that is unmatched by others. And it influences the entire section, the entire group. She has been a winner all the way around.”

After graduating from Bradley University Lane moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood. She got a job working for prosthetics guru Howard Berger sweeping floors and stocking shelves.

Eventually, she was hired as a make-up artist. It was with Berger that Lane won the 2006 Oscar for her work on The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Hannah Alani
Peoria renamed part of Lyndale Road in honor of Tami Lane, the city's only Academy Award winner.

Lane has worked on several movies, from The Lord Of The Rings trilogy series to Water for Elephants. She’s also worked on TV shows, including the Emmy-nominated Sons of Anarchy.

Despite her success, she’s never forgotten her roots.

She laughed as she recalled a conversation with a producer of Lord of the Rings. Over lunch, he asked Lane where she was from. After she answered, “Peoria,” he replied, “That sounds like a mythical place.”

“I got out of Peoria, but I still come back here every year,” she said. “I love it here so much. … I’m proud to represent Peoria globally.”

Hannah Alani
Peoria renamed part of Lyndale Road in honor of Tami Lane, the city's only Academy Award winner.

Nick Knapp went to Woodruff High School with Lane. During the renaming ceremony, Knapp said all Peorians can look up to Lane.

“In a world today in which we are inundated with so much negative light … It’s really nice to see a shining light appear,” he said. “People from Peoria can make it.”

Papich described Lane as heartfelt, real and authentic. When the Peoria Players Theatre celebrated its 100th anniversary two years ago, Lane returned to town to speak about how the theater helped catapult her into make-up.

“She stood the whole night, the whole night, with people holding the Oscar … getting photos together with them, and taking pictures with them … spending the whole night, sharing their joy, sharing that Oscar with the people of Peoria, and not just herself,” Papich said. “That’s typical of Tami Lane.”

Speaking with students, Lane said her favorite genre of work is fantasy. Her favorite actor to work with is James McAvoy, who played Mr. Tumnus in Narnia.

Lane encouraged students to follow their dreams.

“I don’t know if it’s just the encouragement from the teachers I had, to be able to have the courage to go find things and go find out things, instead of feeling stuck,” she said.

Hannah Alani
Peoria renamed part of Lyndale Road in honor of Tami Lane, the city's only Academy Award winner.
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