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Today a Tony, Tomorrow a TV Series?


Cherry Jones, Courtnay B. Vance, Paul Hipp, Dylan Baker, Willy Falk, Cady Huffman.

They certainly are not household names, but their status could change after tonight. All are nominated for a Tony Award. And this evening they'll learn if they are among Broadway's best when CBS presents "The 45th Annual Tony Awards," hosted by Julie Andrews and Jeremy Irons.

After Broadway, who knows? They may follow in some famous footsteps and become tomorrow's television stars.

Take Angela Lansbury of CBS' "Murder, She Wrote." She's the most Tony-honored actress on TV, receiving best actress awards for the musicals "Mame" (1966), "Dear World" (1969), "Gypsy" (1975) and "Sweeney Todd" (1979).

Patti LuPone of ABC's "Life Goes On" won best actress for the musicals "Evita" (1980) and "Anything Goes" (1988).

David Alan Grier of Fox's "In Living Color," received a featured actor nomination for the musical "The First" (1982).

Burt Reynolds' CBS comedy "Evening Shade" boasts five Tony-winning performers. Charles Durning won featured actor last year in the revival of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Michael Jeter also won last year for featured actor for the musical "Grand Hotel."

Also from "Evening Shade": Ann Wedgeworth picked up a featured actress award for Neil Simon's "Chapter Two" (1978). Hal Holbrook won best actor for 'Mark Twain Tonight!" (1966) and Elizabeth Ashley won featured actress in 1962 for "Take Her, She's Mine."

Charles Kimbrough of CBS' "Murphy Brown" received a Tony nomination for featured actor for Stephen Sondheim's landmark musical "Company" (1971).

John Cullum of CBS' "Northern Exposure" won best actor for the musicals "Shenandoah" (1975) and "On the Twentieth Century" (1978).

Andy Griffith of NBC's "Matlock" received nominations for featured actor for "No Time for Sergeants" (1956) and best actor for the musical "Destry Rides Again" (1960).

Katharine Helmond (ABC's "Who's the Boss?") is no stranger to Broadway, receiving a featured actress nomination for "The Great God Brown" (1973).

Michael Moriarty, the "law" in NBC's "Law and Order," was named best actor for 1974's "Find Your Way Home."

Broadway veteran Judd Hirsch of NBC's "Dear John" won best actor for "I'm Not Rappaport" (1986), and was nominated for "Talley's Folly" (1980).

James Earl Jones of ABC's "Gabriel's Fire" won best actor Tonys for "The Great White Hope" (1969) and "Fences" (1987).

That man of a thousand faces, Scott Bakula of NBC's "Quantum Leap," sang his way to a best actor nomination for the musical "Romance, Romance" (1988).

And so did Joe Morton of ABC's "Equal Justice." He received a best actor nomination for the 1974 musical "Raisin." Morton's "Equal" co-star, Barry Miller, won the featured actor award for Neil Simon's "Biloxi Blues" (1985).

Tom Bosley of ABC's "The Father Dowling Mysteries" was the toast of Broadway three decades ago, winning the featured actor award for the musical "Fiorello!" (1960).

NBC's top-ranked "Cheers" boasts two Tony winners: Roger Rees (Robin Colcord) won best actor in 1982 for "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby"; Bebe Neuwirth (Lilith) won the featured actress honor for the revival of the musical "Sweet Charity" (1986).

Diana Rigg, the elegant host of PBS' "Mystery!," received best actress nominations for "Abelard and Heloise" (1971) and "The Misanthrope" (1975).

Two regulars of CBS' long-running "Knots Landing" are Tony nominees. Joan Van Ark (Valene) received a featured actress nod for "The School for Wives" (1971) and Michele Lee (Karen) received a best actress nomination for the musical "Seesaw" (1974).

Clifton Davis of NBC's "Amen" received a featured actor nomination for the musical "Two Gentlemen of Verona" (1972). And Judith Ivey, star of NBC's "Down Home," won the featured actress award for "Steaming" (1983) and "Hurlyburly" (1985).

Years before she became "Maude" and one of NBC's "The Golden Girls," Bea Arthur copped a featured actress award for the musical "Mame" (1966).

Carol Burnett of NBC's "Carol & Company" received a best actress nomination for the musical "Once Upon a Mattress" (1960).

Swoosie Kurtz (NBC's "Sisters") won the best featured actress award for "Fifth of July" (1981) and "The House of Blue Leaves" (1986). Her "Sisters" co-star, David Dukes, received a featured actor nomination for 1980's "Bent."

Eleven years ago, Dinah Manoff of NBC's "Empty Nest" won featured actress for Neil Simon's "I Ought to Be in Pictures," her Broadway debut. Mickey Rooney (the Family Channel's "The Adventures of the Black Stallion") received a best actor nomination for the musical "Sugar Babies" (1980).

And Patricia Elliot of ABC's daytime series "One Life to Live" won featured actress for Sondheim's musical "A Little Night Music" (1973).

Tonight's nominees also include one actor currently on TV: Peter Frechette, the ad executive who just tested positive for the AIDS virus on ABC's "thirtysomething," is nominated for best actor for "Our Country's Good."

"The 45th Annual Tony Awards" airs tonight at 9 on CBS.

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