“Cagney & Lacey” won an Emmy as best drama series and star Sharon Gless took a best actress award at the television academy’s 38th annual prime-time awards Sunday.
Series co-star Tyne Daley’s real-life husband and the man who plays her husband on the show also garnered statuettes.
“This was part of my dream,” a tearful Gless said as she held her award high above her head at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
Among those she cited were Daley, “who I am sure is the most relieved woman sitting here tonight.”
Gless plays Christine Cagney, the New York police detective partner of Lacey in the CBS series. For the past three years, Daley was awarded the Emmy in the same category for her role as Mary Beth Lacey.
For the second year, William Daniels, the dour Dr. Mark Craig of NBC’s “St. Elsewhere,” was honored as outstanding lead actor in a drama series.
“I want to thank the people I forgot to thank last year,” he cracked.
His wife, Bonnie Bartlett, was honored as best supporting actress in a dramatic series for her work on the same show.
Daley’s husband, Georg Stanford Brown, won for best direction on “Cagney & Lacey,” and John Karlen, who plays Harvey Lacey on the series, won for best supporting actor in a drama series.
Betty White of the NBC’s “Golden Girls” won as best actress in a comedy series, Michael J. Fox of “Family Ties " won for best actor and their network dominated the category.
Saying that she shared the award with her co-stars, White said: “We want to thank the network for taking a chance on four old broads--uh, ladies.”
“Golden Girls” was cited for writing, “The Cosby Show” for direction, Rhea Perlman of “Cheers” as best supporting actress and John Larroquette of “Night Court” for best supporting actor.
Leader in Nominations
ABC’s “Moonlighting,” which led all shows with 16 nominations, was shut out of the key awards in writing, acting, directing and best series, which were dominated by “St. Elsewhere” and “Cagney & Lacey.”
Film director Steven Spielberg, who has been denied an Academy Award for every one of his blockbuster movies, failed to break his nine-year directing jinx when he lost the best director award for his NBC series, “Amazing Stories.”
Spielberg has worked on such box office hits as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T.--The Extra Terrestrial” and “The Color Purple,” but never won for best director.
“Amazing Stories” did pick up four Emmys, including John Lithgow’s best guest performer award in a drama series.
“I swear I never win anything,” Lithgow said, and then he thanked Spielberg.
Honors for Skelton
Comedian Red Skelton was the only sure winner going into the program. He was to receive a special Governor’s Award from the academy from another mainstay from the early days of television, Lucille Ball.
The leading contender for the most prestigious Emmy--outstanding drama special--was NBC’s “An Early Frost,” about a homosexual stricken with AIDS.
It was the fifth straight year that NBC led in nominations, and this year’s 148 was a record for one network. CBS had 90 nominations, ABC drew 50, Public Broadcasting Service won 31 and syndicated programs took four.
It also was NBC’s turn to broadcast the awards presentation live to the East Coast. The three networks handle the annual show on a rotating basis.
The three-hour show, hosted by David Letterman and Shelley Long, included an anti-drug message from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
For the second year, the academy hired the Broadway production team of Alexander Cohen and Hildy Parks to produce the show.
Theme of Presentation
For this year’s theme number, Parks created a celebration of what television has contributed to the language. TV stars on tape and in person were to deliver their trademark lines, including Walter Cronkite’s “And that’s the way it is”; Jack Paar’s “I kid you not”; Don Adams’ “Sorry about that, chief”; Ralph Edwards’ “This is your life”, and Joan Rivers’ “Can we talk?”
In another number, Long of “Cheers” was to musically salute the progress of women in television.
Noted for their imaginative Tony awards telecasts, the producers tried to bring a fresh approach to what has often been a dreary, overlong procession of awards and acceptance speeches.
“I hope to God the show will last no more than three hours,” Cohen said a few days before the telecast. “You’ll remember that last year we went only a minute and a half over.
“We will explain to the (auditorium) audience that we have prepared only 15 minutes of production numbers. The rest are the lead-ins and the awards. If all of the winners cooperate with their acceptances, we can have a successful show.”
Wary of an Incident
The Emmy broadcast had to accommodate 31 prime-time awards, as well as a seven-minute review of the 40 technical craft awards handed out Sept. 7.
Cohen said he hoped to avoid another incident like last year’s, when a gate crasher rushed on stage to claim an award meant for Betty Thomas of “Hill Street Blues.”
“We have added to our security,” he said. “But then, so have the French government and the Israelis, and they still have problems.”
He noted that when he produced a show called “Night of 100 Stars” a picture of the cast for Life magazine revealed “three people in the photo who didn’t belong there. They were professional gate crashers.”
The nominations were for shows seen between July 1, 1985, and June 30 of this year. Cable and pay-TV programs were not eligible.