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Not Just a Ceremony, It Was a Roast


The heat hung heavy over the 54th annual Emmy Awards. Roses wilted on the red carpet, celebrities wilted on the red carpet--everything from limos to security officers overheated as television executives, actors and the industry's creative elite made their way into the Shrine Auditorium on a day when temperatures soared into the 90s.

Fans in the bleachers, many of them dressed in shorts and tank tops, came prepared. Others dealt with the heat by peeling away clothes, unbuttoning shirts, even removing socks and shoes. "Hey, throw some water up here," shouted a fan as others joined in chanting, "Water! Water! Water!"

"It was 104 degrees in the Valley," said "Access Hollywood" anchor Tony Potts, who spent the morning in the Valley with Michael Chiklis, who won an Emmy for best actor for his work in FX's drama series "The Shield." "I came here to what seemed like 130 degrees on the carpet," he added.

Dozens of roses in tall pots along the walkway wilted, petals that were once pointing upright were now headed south. Usually at the end of the red carpet parade, the paparazzi and media help themselves to the flowers, but not this time. Many actresses were carrying tissues to dab at melting makeup and perspiration. The men in head-to-toe tuxedo wear began removing their coats, unbuttoning the tops of shirts and loosening bow ties.

"I'm sweating in places I never knew I could," said Simon Baker from "The Guardian" in a Gucci suit and silver tie. Wendie Malick from "Just Shoot Me" professed to be cool in her champagne-colored cocktail dress inspired by Audrey Hepburn. "I'm so glad not to be sweating in a long black gown. It's just too, too hot for something like that today," she said.

The heat also took its toll on at least one limousine--the one carrying actress Jennifer Garner from "Alias" and her date, Scott Foley. The couple arrived an hour late after their limo overheated on the 101 Freeway, and another had to be dispatched. As the show began taping, the couple--the last to arrive--quickly worked their way down the red carpet before rushing into the Shrine.

Denise Crew, who spent the afternoon on the red carpet snapping celebrity shots from Nokia's new cell phone that allows you to take pictures, said, "It's not very becoming for a lady to say, but beads of sweat were bubbling over my skin and makeup. Usually everybody's complaining about their feet, now everyone's complaining about the heat."

In fact, the heat seemed to eclipse even the stars as the main topic of conversation. When asked about how things were going, one academy publicist just groaned: "The heat's a nightmare. A nightmare

"We had to bring in water by the bucket loads. Tons and tons of water bottles, especially for the police and security here," she said.

More than 550 security personnel, Los Angeles Police Department officers and other law enforcement officials were at the Shrine, keeping a sharp eye on those maneuvering through long traffic lines and metal detectors to get into the ceremony.

Gary Moses, the gala's head of security, said the heavy level of security was mainly precautionary, and that there had been no threats.

Times staff writers Louise Roug and Michael Quintanilla contributed to this report.

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