Top Emmys Moments: A Proposal, The Fonz And.. A Diversity Song?
The 70th Emmy Awards featured some old favourites back for more glory (Game of Thrones), some new entries in the television history books (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel) — and an on-stage marriage proposal.
The following are a few key moments from the 70th Emmy Awards in Los Angeles:
Emmys organisers were looking for ways to boost declining audience ratings but they could have never have planned for this: one of the winners asked his girlfriend to marry him from the stage as he accepted his award.
Glenn Weiss, who took the prize for best director of a variety special (“The Oscars”), stunned viewers when he proposed to Jan Svendsen, who was sitting in the audience.
“You wonder why I don’t like to call you my girlfriend? Because I want to call you my wife,” he said to cheers, applause and a few teary-eyed actors in the audience.
Weiss explained that his mother had passed away just two weeks ago, adding poignancy to a moment that brought the audience of A-listers to their feet.
The ring he offered Svendsen? The one his father gave his mother 67 years earlier.
‘The Fonz’ is back
Henry Winkler, a household name in the 1970s when he brought Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli to TV screen on nostalgic 1950s sitcom Happy Days, finally brought home his first Emmy.
The 72-year-old actor was named outstanding supporting actor in a comedy for his portrayal of an acting coach in HBO’s dark comedy Barry.
Winkler had previously been nominated three times for his breakout role as the Fonz and once for a guest spot on legal drama The Practice in 2000.
“Oh my God, oh my God,” said the elated actor as he accepted the award, joking that he had written the speech “43 years ago.”
Winkler said he had been told years back that if he persevered in the game long enough, “the chips come to you.”
“Tonight, I got to clear the table,” he added to joyous applause from his peers.
‘We Solved It’
The opening song at the Emmys set the tone for the rest of the show as Saturday Night Live cast members Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson cheekily declared that the thorny issue of diversity in entertainment had been solved.
“Seriously? So diversity is not a problem in Hollywood anymore,” McKinnon asked before her co-star responded, “Nope, we solved it.”
The pair were then joined on stage by other stars including Kristen Bell, Tituss Burgess, Sterling K Brown, John Legend and RuPaul, who embarked on a humorous song-and-dance number on the subject.
The performance included a pithy comment from nominee Sandra Oh, the first woman of Asian descent nominated for a lead actress Emmy, who quipped: “Thank you, but it is an honour just to be Asian.”
“We solved it! We’ve gotten with the times, there’s room for all our voices, but mostly Shonda Rhimes,” they sang, name-checking the powerhouse African American female creator of top shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.
Standing ovation for Betty White
Comedy legend Betty White was greeted with a standing ovation at the Emmys as she was honoured for her more than 80 years in showbiz.
“Somebody said something the other day about the ‘First Lady of Television’,” the 96-year-old actress told the audience. “And I took it as a big compliment.
“And then I heard her talking to her daughter a little later. She said ‘First lady — yes, she’s that old. She was the first one way, way back’.”
White, who has starred in hit shows such as The Golden Girls, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, couldn’t resist a quip about Emmys producer and “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels.
“I want to thank Lorne Michaels for doing not only this tonight, but all the wonderful things he’s done with me — no, for me,” she said to laughter.
White said she felt lucky to still be acting. She has worked on several shows in recent years including Hot in Cleveland and Bones. A documentary about her life premiered on PBS last month.
“It’s incredible that you can stay in a career this long and still have people put up with you,” she said.