The best line at Sunday’s Museum of Television and Radio gala came when “Hill Street Blues” co-star Veronica Hamel told an anecdote regarding honoree Steven Bochco.
Hamel recalled a somber car ride with Bochco when they were returning from “an all too-frequent ritual”: the funeral of a “Hill Street” cast member. While they drove, she was telling Bochco how these funerals affected her, how she found them depressing and asked if didn’t hate attending them.
“I want to speak at all of them,” Bochco replied.
A clever line like that goes a long way in explaining Bochco’s position as one of television’s most successful writer-producers. The speeches by the dozen actors who lauded him went a long way in explaining why they need his talents.
Co-honoree Kelsey Grammer fared better mainly because he had fewer introductory speeches. Speaking for himself, Grammer quoted Gregory Peck, who was once asked about his career and how he’d like to be remembered. He said he’d like to think that, “Someone who spent time watching what I did would consider the time well spent.”
Among those who spent time at this year’s gala (held on Canon Drive, which was blocked off with an elaborate tent set on an adjacent parking lot) were MTR prexy Bob Batscha, Jonathan and Susan Dolgen, David E. Kelley with Michelle Pfeiffer, Norm Pattiz, Debi Mazur, Frank Biondi, Nancy Livingston, Kirkwood Smith, Lorraine Toussaint and Sandy Climan.