Backstage at Emmys: Winners & Smokers

Mariska and Kiefer talk about their dads, while the Sheens light up

Par for the course, some winners spoke too long onstage and got the hook – in the form of exit music – after winning their Emmys on Sunday night, but backstage at the Shrine Auditorium the stars could take their time having their say or even lighting up.

Best dramatic series actress, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay, had wept onstage when mentioning her father, Mickey Hargitay, who was 1955’s Mr. Universe. (Her mom was ’50s sexpot Jayne Mansfield). Backstage, she said, “When I started acting, (my dad) was so supportive and when I was really bad, he told me I’m going to be the greatest and I am the best. He told me to work really hard.”

Recalling the advice, she said, “I used to get mad at him when I didn’t understand why he was so supportive. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I’ve got the greatest father in the world, who makes dreams happen and makes miracles happen.”

Best dramatic series actor Kiefer Sutherland, for 24, also celebrated a late Father’s Day. “It wasn’t about two actors tonight,” he said of dad Donald Sutherland, who was a nominee for the miniseries Human Trafficking, “A father was proud for his son.”

Describing his third Emmy win for his obsessive-compulsive character on USA’s Monk, best actor in a comedy series Tony Shalhoub said, “All the blood rushed out of my head, and I got dry mouth. I felt like I should be watching someone else get it.”

While TV critics had pegged Steve Carell of The Office, and not Shalhoub, to take that prize, Carell still made it into the winners’ circle when the show was named best comedy series. “Right now, there’s a lot of love in this room,” he said.

The New Adventures of Old Christine

star Julia Louis-Dreyfus was still accepting her victory backstage. “This is a joke! I can’t believe it!” the comedy actress winner said, later adding as she waved her Emmy, “But I’ll keep it.”

Megan Mullally told those in the press tent that years ago a psychic told her she would win two, “sort of bookend Emmys for playing a secretary on a sitcom,” only Mullally recalled responding, “Uh, no I’m not.” The Will & Grace costar won her second Emmy on Sunday, after eight years on the show, which ended in May. She also won the first year she played Karen Walker, secretary to the series’ Grace Adler (Debra Messing.)

Helen Mirren, winner for the HBO movie Elizabeth I joked about her gold statuette (and referred to the new tax rule in effect for those receiving Emmy gift bags): “Do I have to pay the IRS for this?”

In the smokers’ circle, reports the Associated Press, Charlie and Martin Sheen took a cigarette break after presenting an award together. They were joined by Studio 60 star and presenter Matthew Perry.

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