By Stacy Jenel Smith, Stephanie DuBois and Emily Feimster
Megan Mullally declared that she plans to talk dirty, Steve Carell insisted "The Office" team doesn't get along, stars talked about new awards show goodie bag taxation, and there was a continuation of the memorable touching moments of this year's presentation - backstage at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards.
Among the most memorable of those moments was the tribute to TV mainstay Dick Clark, which left many feeling choked up - especially Clark, evidently.
Asked about what he'd said in his moment with Clark following the tribute to the man dubbed America's Oldest Living Teenager, Barry Manilow replied, "I didn't say anything. He just started to cry, so I just hugged him. I'm sure he'd much rather have been producing this thing than standing there." Manilow said he talks to Clark on the phone every so often, and he feels he's recovering from his stroke "as great as can be expected. Everyone responds in a different way to a stroke. He's a communicator and this took away his ability to communicate, but when we talk, I can understand him. He still has his sense of humor, his sense of self."
Manilow also disclosed that he was scheduled for his hip surgery at 5:30 in the morning. He'd delayed it in order to perform the Clark tribute. Was he in pain out there on stage? "Once the adrenaline kicks in, and the audience starts giving you energy, you forget about it," he said. "I was all right for two minutes. The problem was trying to do 90 minutes every night."
A reporter intimated that Jeremy Piven, who won for Outstanding Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy, had stolen the nomination from his fellow "Entourage" players.
"I haven't stolen anything," he said. " I was lucky enough to be on 'The Larry Sanders Show' and I learned from the great Jeffrey Tambor, Garry Shandling, Rip Torn... I've been in it longer than those guys." He added with tongue firmly planted in cheek, "They don't respect me, but they should - and now they shall! No one will look me in the eyes! I will have rules! I will live in a celebrity space shuttle and hover around the universe!"
The actor became emotional when asked what his late father - whom he thanked in his speech - would say about his win if he were. "He is here and he is very proud," said Piven wiping away tears. "What Conan said, that you could never have supportive parents and end up in this business was wrong. I'm living proof you can have supportive parents - and be truly dysfunctional - and be a good actor."
When queried about the controversy around Emmy goodie bags being taxed this year, Piven said "The goodie bags should be sent to New Orleans and given to the Katrina victims. Don't tax them, just give it to them." Others who commented on the IRS chasing down goodie bag booty included Jeremy Irons and Megan Mullally. Said Irons, "I remember when I did the Oscars last, I went home with a very, very large suitcase. If we have to pay taxes on presents, so be it, I guess - as long as they don't spend it on bombs, for crissakes." Said Megan, "The gift bags were talked about so much in the media, and such a fuss was made about them because they're a big, splashy thing. And now we're getting screwed." She was joking. Maybe not 100 per cent, but she was joking.
Things got serious on stage as "Dynasty's" Joan Collins, "7th Heaven's" Stephen Collins, and "Melrose Place's" Heather Locklear paid tribute to the late Aaron Spelling. The camera panned on his wife, Candy Spelling, who sat teary-eyed beside their son, Randy. Though daughter Tori had claimed in last week's US Weekly that she hadn't been invited to the Emmys, which some had speculated was due to the falling out between she and Candy, she was seen sitting beside her husband Dean McDermott in the audience. People soon forgot the family feud, though, as the original "Charlie's Angels" took the stage to give very emotional remembrances of their beloved boss.
Jaclyn Smith acknowledged backstage that there's been talk of reuniting the 70's vintage "Charlie's Angels" - that is, herself, Farrah Fawcett and Kate Jackson - for a TV movie or other project in the past. "But this came up, and this reunion is for Aaron," she said. "Whether we're going to do another one, I don't know." Being back with Farrah and Kate, she said, "It was as if time had stopped 30 years ago."
Two other Spelling femme stars of yesteryear are already reunited - Joan Collins and Linda Evans, a.k.a. perennial rivals Alexis and Krystle of the 80's smash, "Dynasty."
Collins reported that that she'd rushed from Manhattan, where she and Linda are rehearsing for James Kirkwood's "Legends," and planned to take the redeye back immediately. Paying tribute to Aaron Spelling, "a great friend and a great producer," was that important to her.
In "Legends," she and Evans play roles originated by Carol Channing and the late Mary Martin, of "two feuding actresses, which is very good for Linda and me." But Collins pooh-poohed the many - many -- stories about feuding on the "Dynasty" set back in the day. "There would be no way I'd be doing this play with Linda if that was true. Producers loved to make up all these stories about the feuds -- not Aaron - because the public was interested to see two women in front of the camera, who hate each other's guts." She said that she and Linda always "got along. We were friendly, we were friends. We weren't bosom buddies, but you can't be with everyone."
They're touring the play, opening Sept. 12 in Toronto.
The cast of "The Office" couldn't have had bigger smiles on their faces as they walked in to greet reporters backstage. There was clearly a lot of camaraderie among all of them, though star Steve Carell joked about their on set antics. "We're pretty deadly serious the entire time and there's a lot of friction between the cast and the crew and the writers and I think that's what makes the show so good." After getting his laughs, Carell quickly grew serious and said, "It's a fantastic group of people. Maybe in five years we'll hate each other but for right now there's a lot of love going around."
Keifer Sutherland lived up to his reputation as a class act who is always quick to acknowledge the work of his cast mates and crew backstage, following his Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series win, and "24" being cited as this year's Outstanding Drama.
"Tonight has been an honor but an incredibly humbling experience," he said. "All the other actors are fantastic actors and friends, it's a humbling feeling and I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity."
The son of veteran actor Donald Sutherland, Keifer was asked about his father's response to his win and how he influenced his career or advised him. "He's one of the most prolific actors in film and television and the greatest things I've learned from him have been from watching his work. He's happy for his son and I'm very glad that he was here tonight. It wasn't two actors at that point." When asked what went through his head when he won, Keifer said, "We're going to have a nice dinner tonight. This is cool."
The "24" team was asked about the opening of tonight's Emmy show, in which one of the filmed bits had Keifer and Mary Lynn Rajskub playing straight for laughs with Conan O'Brien. Having some fun with the show like that was a first, commented a reporter, to which Sutherland replied "in public." Does the "24" troupe regularly indulge in off-camera humor? "No," answered Rajskub, stone-faced. "We cry a lot. We're always very serious and try not to look at each other. We're always reading really thick books for research and trying to pronounce hard words. We do a lot of fake typing."
Mariska Hargitay continued the running theme of paying homage to parents. When asked what was going through her head when she heard her name announced as Outstanding Actress for "Law & Order: SVU," she said, choking back tears, "That my dad is going to be really happy. When I started acting my dad (former bodybuilding great Mickey Hargitay) was so supportive. Even when I was really bad he told me I was going to be the greatest and was going to be the best and I am the best. He told me to work really hard and you can be anything you want to be. I used to get mad at him because I didn't understand and I wanted to quit. He said, 'We're not quitters in this family.' He encouraged me. He made me believe that dreams do come true and they do when you have somebody who believes in you. I have the greatest father in the world, who makes dreams happen and makes miracles happen."
Someone asked if Hargitay believed her new baby boy, August, was her good luck charm. "Yes," she said. "My son has changed my life profoundly. I was sort of dumb because I didn't think life could get any better." She adds, "When I had August I thought 'How am I going to go back to work?' I was on maternity leave for two months and I was so in love with this kid. But Neal Baer, the exec producer/writer who I refer to as my guardian angel calls me at 11 o'clock at night to say 'What do you think of this or that?' Now I'm so excited to get back to work because of the stories. The writers reinvent and outdo themselves every week. This show is in its 8th season and is truly getting better and better. It's crazy. I'm winning my first Emmy in my 8th season and who wins on police procedurals? I do!" she added with a laugh. "I guess I say 'Where were you on Tuesday night?' really well."
"I am just floating," said Julia Louis-Dreyfus. "I was just shocked. I had seen (Emmy presenter) Victor Garber during rehearsal and I made a joke. I said 'Just say my name no matter what it says on the card.' When I came up he said 'It was on the card!'"
The "New Adventures of Old Christine" star said the "Seinfeld" curse being lifted was not the reason she got emotional during her acceptance. "I was just overwhelmed about the success."
She was asked, "Is it time to forget about the 'Seinfeld' Curse"?
"Yes," she replied.
Noting the number of Emmy nominees' shows that have been cancelled, Louis-Dreyfus said "It's very hard in television right now. The landscape has utterly changed since I was on 'Seinfeld.' Getting a show on and having it stick is so difficult these days. I'm grateful we were picked up because so many good shows are not on the air."
The actress is back shooting the second season of "The New Adventures..." and says, "There will be no changes but funny things will happen for sure, lots of humiliation for my character, Christine. Nothing will work out for her, I can guarantee." She adds, "We'll also have some great recurring characters played by Wanda Sykes, Blair Underwood, Scott Bakula an Ed Beglely, Jr. to name a few."
For supporting actress Megan Mullally, winning a second Emmy for her work on "Will & Grace" brought back memories from when she first started acting. "I went up there and I accepted the award and they took me back to my seat for Sean's [Hayes] category, and I remembered when I was 22 I went to a psychic in Chicago who told me I was going to win two Emmys that would kind of be like bookends for playing a secretary on a sitcom. I was like, 'No way, I'm going to do movies and change the world.' But he was right. I didn't remember it until tonight, though."
Since her popular sitcom ended, Mullally has been busy working on her new daytime talk show. "It's so much fun. It's completely different in every way except that you're still providing entertainment for an audience." And just because she's not playing Karen Walker anymore, she said that doesn't necessarily mean she'll be on her best behavior. "We've shot about seven shows and the focus groups have really liked the show. They said they wanted me to be edgy and naughty and I said, 'Fantastic! So I'm still dirty even though it's in the daytime."
On the reality show end of the Emmys, "The Amazing Race" took home their fourth win for Outstanding Reality Program despite the fact that "American Idol" is number one among fans. "I don't think they need to be soothed," said executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer when asked if the "American Idol" folks should be consoled. "They're the number one show on television. They've captivated America so our hat is off to them." Let's not forget, they're also rich!
For "Amazing Race" creator Bertram Van Munster, he just hopes these wins will help change the negativity towards the world of reality television. "What we do is true reality television. It's not mean-spirited. We have raised the bar for reality television - not only for ourselves, but for everybody else." Bruckheimer chimed in, "This show has gotten a lot of accolades from critics. It's not like we're second-class citizens. They recognize the hard work that we do."
Blythe Danner, who won for Best Supporting Actress for the now cancelled, "Huff," says she was "absolutely floored" by her win. "I thought 'No, no, no, its not going to happen. We're cancelled but, of course with Megan winning for 'Will & Grace,' that's the rule broken right there."
The actress, who's headed to New York next to do Tennessee Williams' play, "Suddenly Last Summer" at the Roundabout Theatre, was asked what its like being a grandmother thanks to daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow, who has two small children by husband, Chris Martin. "My friends used to talk about it and my eyes would glaze over, but once you join the club it's hard not to bring out the pictures and tell the stories. It's fabulous. It's like a new lease on life, a celebration of family and generations. You can see your grandparents and different relatives in your grandchildren. I feel like a private eye sometimes. It's interesting."
When asked if Gwyneth has said 'How did you ever do it?' now that she's a mother herself, Danner said "I think when you become a mother you start to realize its not the easiest job in the world, but she's an incredible mother. I'm learning a lot from her. She's very sweet and very strong. It's a great balance and she's being consistent. I wasn't very consistent. I think this generation has learned from our mistakes."