Backstage Notes

Hanks adds Emmy to trophy case; Kramer thanks Kelley

Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks added an Emmy to his trophy case Sunday as one of the producers of HBO’s big-budget 12-parter “From the Earth to the Moon,” honored for best miniseries. Hanks told reporters backstage, “I gain inspiration from the fact that human beings are unlimited creatures. We can do anything. For thousands of years it was impossible for us to walk on the moon, and yet 30 years ago, using a computer that is not more powerful that the one you have in your car, we did. And we did it again and again.”

As for the industry intrigue regarding protests from other producers regarding “Moon’s” inclusion in the miniseries Emmy category, Hanks said it was an “argument over semantics.”

“More than anything else, we were amused that what we had done warranted taking ads out in the trade papers and angry words,” said Hanks. “We’re just glad we’ve done some good television.”

* * *

When the 19 cast members and producers of “Frasier” took the podium, Kelsey Grammer took a look at the Emmys in almost every hand and said “a lot of hardware up here.” He said it was “pretty cool” to win and quoted exec producer David Angell, who said, “It’s everything it’s cracked up to be.” n

“This is for David,” said “The Practice” producer Jeffrey Kramer, referring to series creator David E. Kelley, after the freshman ABC legal drama scored an upset win for drama series, beating out the more popular (ratings-wise) “ER,” “The X-Files,” “Law & Order” and “NYPD Blue.”

“It really is a tribute to David’s ability to show two sides of an issue and then twist it dramatically,” said Kramer. Added series star Dylan McDermott: “We’re a tight-knit group of people who all want the same thing (for the show). It’s such a great triumph to come from where we came (to win the Emmy). It feels amazing.”

* * *

Andre Braugher, who won for lead actor in a drama series, said of winning the Emmy after he’d left “Homicide”: “That it came late did not make it any less sweet. I plan to use it to prick the size of my ambition.”

* * *

“NYPD Blue” director Paris Barclay, who tied with Mark Tinker (“Brooklyn South”) for the drama series director kudos, said he hopes his Emmy win will help inspire other minority kids to pursue a directing career.

“I did notice that certainly, behind the scenes, there are very few African-Americans included in the Emmys,” said Barclay. “For me, having the opportunity to work on ‘NYPD Blue’ is good enough, but then to win an Emmy! … I’m going to be talking at a high school Friday and what I’m going to say is that anyone can do it. If you believe in yourself, keep working and hopefully find a really good friend like Steven Bochco.”

* * *

John Frankenheimer, who won a directing Emmy for miniseries and movies for “George Wallace,” said he showed “Ronin” in Venice Saturday night, got on a plane at 5:30 Sunday morning to Paris, took the Concorde to New York, changed planes, changed clothes came here and won an Emmy. “It’s been a helluva day.”

* * *

Rob Burnett, who along with Barbara Gaines, Maria Pope and Jon Beckerman won for “The Late Show With David Letterman,” for variety, music or comedy series, said he hadn’t called his star because “he won’t let us have his phone number.” The exec producer wasn’t sure whether the comic was watching the show. He said Letterman didn’t come himself because “for reasons too complicated to explain, he’s no longer allowed on airplanes.”

When asked if the award would help his show’s ratings, Berman said, “We don’t care about ratings. They’re meaningless. We now only care about meaning-less awards.”

* * *

Christine Lahti, who won for lead actress in a drama series, said next year her “Chicago Hope” character is “going to be try to become an astronaut which is wild and crazy and I love. And she is going to fall in love. And she’s going to get a friend or two, which I’d like to see.”

* * *

Camryn Manheim, of “The Practice,” who won for supporting actress in a drama series, said her “dress is by Emanuel, the diamonds are from Frances Klein jewelry and the shoes are from Payless.”

* * *

Gordon Clapp, winner of supporting drama actor honors for “NYPD Blue,” was humble about his relatively low profile compared with the other nominees in his category, which included “Chicago Hope’s” Hector Elizondo and “ER’s” Noah Wyle and Eriq La Salle.

“I’m sitting in a (nominees) section where I’m the only guy I don’t recognize,” Clapp quipped.

* * *

TV funny men young and old met up backstage at the golden anniversary Emmys. “Frasier’s” David Hyde Pierce, winner for supporting comedy actor, waited patiently as presenter Milton Berle took his time fielding questions and tossing one-liners at the assembled press.

After Berle got the hook from backstage Emmycast execs, Pierce walked up to the mike and said, “How do you follow that — literally?” Berle replied: “Kiss me,” and Pierce obliged.

Asked about the pressure on “Frasier” as it slips into the erstwhile “Seinfeld” slot on NBC’s powerhouse Thursday night slot, Pierce said: “Well, this helps,” eyeing his Emmy trophy.

* * *

“Friends” thesp Lisa Kudrow, winner for supporting actress in a comedy, said it felt a “little lonely” to win the sitcom’s first major Emmy award. “It’s strange to be at an event that’s about the show and we’re not all (represented). It’s always a little lonely — although it’s always an honor to be nominated. It’s just that I think they’re all so talented and do great work — just as well, if not better than I do. It’s strange not to share it … Given our show, this is our category (supporting thesp). None of us are the lead of ‘Friends.’ We’re all supporting actors. It’s great.”

* * *

While telling an anecdote that included some “Larry Sanders'” dialogue, Todd Holland, who won for directing for a comedy series, mentioned a profanity and stopped the story to say “Oh, I said the F-word. It’s OK, I’m from cable.”

* * *

Mary Tyler Moore, appearing as a presenter, told reporters backstage that the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” sequel sitcom that she and Valerie Harper had signed to do for ABC is “waiting for the right writer.” The series, chronicling the adventures of Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern and their daughters, had been expected to be on ABC’s fall sked but was pushed back to midseason. “The writing really has to be right for us to do this show,” Moore said, noting that the it inevitably would be compared to the 1970-77 CBS classic, which holds the record for most Emmys won by a series: a total of 29.

* * *

It was just a suggestion — that’s what Candice Bergen had to say about media reports, and even criticism, that the former “Murphy Brown” star would follow the life-imitates-art route and become a reporter for CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

“Don Hewitt (’60 Minutes’ exec producer) and I talked about doing it for about a half an hour,” said Bergen, an Emmycast presenter. “I’m very skeptical about it. I’m a huge admirer of the program. I don’t see why they need me. It was only a brief discussion about me occasionally contributing a piece,” she said.

But will she do it? Hard to tell from Bergen’s cagey answer, but she did add: “I was offered a chance to play journalist 25 years ago on ’60 Minutes’ and I stupidly turned it down.”

* * *

Billy Crystal, winner for performance in a variety or music program, was asked if he’d host the Academy Awards for the seventh time. He said he doesn’t make the commitment until the last minute — and a lot has to do with the nominated movies and what kind of fun he could have with them — but “when I hugged Gil Cates hello he said, ‘I’ll call you Wednesday.’ ”

* * *

One sign of the heavy security was the police bomb squad that thoroughly searched the 227 tables set for 2,700 guests in the Shrine’s Exposition Hall. Four explosives-sniffing dogs and officers with mirrors attached to long sticks lifted each tablecloth for a look. They were trailed by an Along Came Mary staff person who carefully arranged each table skirt as the dogs and officers left.

* * *

The Santa Monica Freeway managed to get into the Emmy act: The electronic signs that usually provide traffic advisories bore the words “Emmy’s exit on Vermont.” However, the Harbor Freeway was not quite as helpful. Award showgoers who attempted to follow the map instructions and exit on Adams found the offramp closed by an accident.

* * *

There was one backstage journalist whose task in life was to ask one question: Do you have any beauty tips? The best answer came from Cloris Leachman, who said: “Whenever in doubt, I brush my teeth.”

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