The hyper-paced medical drama "ER" nearly made Emmy history at the 47th annual Nighttime Emmy Awards on Sunday, but its triumph was tempered at the last minute by a series about foul-mouthed yet concerned police detectives, "NYPD Blue."
NBC's "ER" scored eight Emmys in its freshman season, including those for best supporting actress, best direction and best writing. The drama's wins tied it with "Hill Street Blues" for most Emmys ever won by a series in a single season. The show was nominated for 23 Emmys.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday September 14, 1995 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 7 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
'Simpsons' Emmy-- Monday's Emmy Awards story on Page A1 erroneously reported that the Emmy given to "The Simpsons" for best animated program was the series' first win in that category. Actually, "The Simpsons" won Emmys in that category in 1989 and 1990.
But a record-breaking ninth Emmy was denied when "NYPD Blue" swept in to snatch away the award for best drama series. Even the show's co-creator, Steven Bochco, seemed to be caught off-guard as he accepted, saying, "What a surprise. Holy mackerel." "NYPD Blue" won only two other awards.
One of the most popular winners among the Emmys handed out was actor Ray Walston, who plays the blunt, philosophical judge on the series "Picket Fences." Walston's movie credits include "South Pacific" and "Damn Yankees," but he is best known for playing the eponymous space alien on the long-running TV series "My Favorite Martian."
He was as much a hit with the crowd at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium as his 73-year-old co-star Fyvush Finkel had been last year when he won in the same category-- best supporting actor in a drama series.
Obviously excited, the 76-year-old Walston said, "I have 30 seconds to tell you that I've been waiting 60 years to get on this stage."
Besides "ER," the evening's other big winners were NBC's comedy series "Frasier," and singer-producer-director Barbra Streisand.
"Frasier," about a pompous radio psychiatrist, won its second consecutive Emmy for best comedy series in its second season. The show, a spinoff from "Cheers," also scored four additional Emmys, including a best comedy actor award for star Kelsey Grammer, and the best supporting actor award for David Hyde Pierce, who plays the star's brother.
Streisand came away a victor for two very different programs. Her HBO special, "Barbra Streisand: The Concert" won five Emmys, including best music variety or comedy special and best individual performance in a variety or music program.
Streisand, who received one of the evening's rare standing ovations, said the last time she had won an Emmy was for her first television special 30 years ago. Her award for best individual performance was more significant, she said, because of the self doubts she had faced while putting together the concert tour that became the basis for the special.
"Thanks to the many fans who filled those concert halls and filled my heart," she said.
In an ad-lib after Streisand accepted one of her Emmys, "Seinfeld" star and awards co-host Jason Alexander quipped, "Would it have killed her to do a number?"
Streisand was also an executive producer of "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," which won three Emmys: for best actress Glenn Close, best supporting actress Judy Davis, and best writer Alison Cross.
The movie was based on the true story of Cammermeyer, an Army nurse who found herself at war with the military when she disclosed that she was a lesbian. Streisand and Close, who was also one of the film's executive producers, both paid tribute in their acceptance speeches to Cammermeyer, who was in the audience.
"Thank you," Close said to Cammermeyer, "for the privilege of trying to fill your shoes."
Mandy Patinkin won for best drama actor as an acerbic doctor in last season's other freshman medical drama, "Chicago Hope." Patinkin, who will be leaving the show as a regular but making occasional appearances this season in order to spend more time with his family in New York, paid tribute to family values, technical crews, writers, executives and his family in a short but dramatic acceptance speech.
For several winners, it was a night of repeats.
Candice Bergen took home her fifth Emmy for best actress in a comedy series for her brash title character in "Murphy Brown." Grammer collected his second best comedy actor Emmy for "Frasier," and Kathy Baker won her second best drama series actress award for "Picket Fences."
A subdued Grammer seemed touched by his award. He was upset last season when NBC moved his show from Thursday nights to face off against "Home Improvement" on Tuesdays. "I'm genuinely thrilled," he said. "I'm really moved. It was kind of a rough year this year, but everything turned out OK."
HBO's "Indictment: The McMartin Trial," about the highly controversial Los Angeles case of alleged child abuse and the hysteria surrounding the charges, won for best made-for-television movie, while TNT's biblical story "Joseph" beat out network and PBS entries for best miniseries.
NBC was the big network winner, with 28 wins, followed by CBS with 19, HBO with 15, ABC with six and Fox with one.