×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

A kiss from the Golden Girl

Being member of elite group brings rich embarrassments

When Variety approached me to write a story about my first experience as an Emmy winner, I was quite flattered. The first thing I did when I hung up the phone was make a list of all the people they probably called before me who said no.

Please don’t take this as bitter or paranoid, I do that with everything. When I proposed to my wife and she said yes, I spent the rest of the weekend going through her phone book with a highlighter.

Most of what you will read is accurate. The only few untruths are to protect the neurotic or make me seem more creative than I really am.

Back in July of 1999, when the Emmy nominations were announced I was extremely excited. “Everybody Loves Raymond” was really hitting its stride and my character was starting to do more than just walk through a scene holding a rake.

The nominations were read at 5:45 a.m. and for some reason, the Academy never announced the supporting actors in a comedy during the live broadcast on E!. But, I was thrilled to hear them announce Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton.

Then I heard Doris Roberts on a phone patch with Steve Kmetko, and I knew she got the nod. More joy. Then they said they were trying to get hold of Peter Boyle for his elated reaction. Again, more joy, this time accompanied by a slight wave of nausea. I stared at my phone, praying someone would call me with my good news. Nothing. I looked over at my wife, Jill, who lovingly clutched my hand and said, “How about some eggs?” She always knows the right thing to say.

It was now 6:05 a.m., and it was official. Every actor on the show was nominated for an Emmy, except me. Even the Bulldog got a nod from the Ark Society and a $100 gift certificate for Petco. I got eggs.

But after working through my 11 minutes of self-pity and victimhood, I told my wife how happy I was to be involved with such an amazing cast, writers and crew. I was lucky just to “be on the bus,” working, doing what I love on a show that was being recognized by its peers in several categories.

The following year I received my first nomination along with the rest of the cast, making it one of the few shows ever in which the entire cast was nominated. As trite as this may sound, I was honored to be included in that gifted group of actors in my category.

Sean Hayes won that year, deservedly so. But it would have carried less of a sting if he didn’t proceed to hit on my wife at the Governors Ball. It’s been hard for me to watch his show since then, but even harder for me to stop.

Finally, through the grace of God, and some vigorous campaigning that included calling members of the ATAS at home and not speaking when they answered, just humming the theme to “Rawhide,” I was fortunate enough to take home a Golden Girl for the first time last September.

The only other time I came that close to taking home a Golden Girl was when I was forced to share a room with Bea Arthur at the Melrose Baths. To this day, I can’t watch a rerun of “Maude” or even use a loofah without welling up.

I’m grateful to have won. It’s nice to know that an awkward kid from the Valley can make a little noise. All I can do is thank the voters and be glad my brother is the governor of Florida.

CBS has been wonderful. The day after I won, they graciously gave me a drive-on. It has done wonders for my relationship with the cast and crew. I feel I now have their respect. Off-camera, Ray lets me call him “Mr. Romano.” He even asked me to help him move his wallet. Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle both recognized me on the set one day. And I hope that I will get the chance to meet Patricia Heaton before the show ends.

Also, I join an elite group who will always be known as “Emmy Winner.” In entertainment circles, this is an honor of immense importance. In everyday life, it can be somewhat embarrassing, such as when I went for a colonoscopy and the nurse felt obligated to announce to the entire waiting room, “Emmy Winner Brad Garrett, your proctoscope is ready.”

I often dream about myself late in life, surrounded by grandchildren as Emmy watches silently from the mantelpiece. I also have another dream where I pry her wings off and melt them down in order to buy a bottle of Muscatel.

Being able to work at what you love is the true reward, even though I have taken mugging to a whole new level.

Sure, it’s nice to have Miss Emmy hanging out in the office, but in the grand scheme of things it’s about “the big picture.” No, not the big studio picture I couldn’t get into this summer, but my family, who helps me keep it real.

I was humbled when my darling children took Emmy for a ride around the house in Barbie’s Dream Car. It brought me back to reality and taught me what is really important in life — to get a lock for the trophy cabinet.

More TV

  • Dom Delport

    Vice Swings to Profit in the U.K., Eyes International Partnerships

    After a tumultuous period involving harassment scandals, job losses and restructuring, Vice has registered a small profit in the U.K., according to the company’s latest results. The uptick is welcome news for Vice as its new international boss, Dominique Delport, scopes out new production and partnership possibilities for the company’s content business. The U.K. was [...]

  • Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert Mocks Former CBS Chief Leslie Moonves on 'Late Show'

    Leslie Moonves was known to take an active dislike of David Letterman making fun of him during that host’s tenure on CBS’ “The Late Show.” He probably isn’t enjoying being mentioned by Stephen Colbert either. Colbert used his monologue on Tuesday’s broadcast to poke fun at the former CBS Corp. CEO, who yesterday learned that [...]

  • Ruth Wilson and Idris Elba'Luther Series

    'Luther' Creator Neil Cross Working on Show's Movie Version, Idris Elba Says

    A movie version of crime series “Luther” is moving forward, with writer-creator Neil Cross working on the script, the show’s star Idris Elba confirmed at the launch of Season 5 in London. “We are really advancing on getting a movie version [of the show] up on the screen,” Elba said. “Neil is beavering away on [...]

  • THE VOICE -- "Blind Auditions" --

    TV News Roundup: NBC Announces Midseason Premiere Dates

    In today’s roundup, NBC reveals midseason premiere dates for six shows, including “The Voice.” DATES  NBC has announced midseason premiere dates for four returning and two new series. “The Voice” will air Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m., and March 5 at 8 p.m. It will return April 23 at 8 [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

  • David Rhodes CBS News

    CBS News Faces New Challenges in Weeks Ahead

    At CBS News, President David Rhodes has a series of important decisions to make that could affect the trajectories of some of TV’s best-known news programs. As its parent company seeks to move forward from recent seismic events – the ouster of its former CEO, Leslie Moonves; a corporate probe into its workplace culture; and [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content