Larry King, Norm Macdonald, Michael K. Williams and no fewer than three cast members of The Mary Tyler Moore Show were among the stars remembered during this year’s Emmy In Memoriam segment, as the photos of those we lost scrolled by to the tune of Leon Bridges’ lovely “River.”
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A few names were left out — most notably Michael Constantine, who won an Emmy in 1970 for his performance as Principal Seymour Kaufman in Room 222 — but the list nonetheless was a somber reminder of the toll taken by 2021. As Bridges and Jon Batiste performed live, the images of such greats as Charles Grodin and Christopher Plummer unspooled, along with beloved icons like Jeopardy!’s Alex Trebek and Cicely Tyson (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman) and such generational touchstones as Dawn Wells (Gilligan’s Island) and Billie Hayes (H.R. Pufnstuf).
Also among those remembered were three Mary Tyler Moore cast members: Ed Asner, Cloris Leachman and Gavin MacLeod. Two actors from Homicide: Life on the Street were on the roster: Yaphet Kotto and Ned Beatty.
Of course, as with every year, the omissions will gain attention post-awards: Constantine, who also starred in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, was the most glaring. Both Michael Nader and Jay Pickett were ignored, a noticeable snub for daytime drama. Nader, who appeared in Dynasty, is perhaps most fondly remembered by All My Children viewers, and Pickett starred in General Hospital.
Also not included were director Richard Donner (The Twilight Zone, The Man From UNCLE), actress Tanya Roberts (Charlie’s Angels), writer Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove), and actors Ben Best (Eastbound + Down) and DMX (Soul of a Man).
Constantine, Donner, DMX, McMurtry and Pickett are listed on the In Memoriam roster at the Emmy’s website.
While the live audience largely restrained from applauding during the sequent, the arrival at the end of SNL‘s former Weekend Update anchor Macdonald and The Wire‘s Williams drew the most audible response.
Earlier in the evening, some award winners and presenters mentioned specific losses: Jean Smart paid tribute to her late husband, actor Richard Gilliland; Kerry Washington remembered Williams; and Emmy host Cedric the Entertainer spoke of Biz Markie. SNL creator Lorne Michaels and John Oliver both made references to Macdonald.
Watch the In Memoriam segment above.
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