Betty White, The Pacific win Emmys

Newly ubiquitous Golden Girls actress Betty White won the fifth Emmy of her career on Saturday for hosting an episode of Saturday Night Live, while fellow screen veteran Ann-Margret got a standing ovation after receiving her first statuette.

White (88) won for guest actress in a comedy series during the “creative arts” portion of the Primetime Emmy Awards, where more than 70 awards, mostly in technical categories, were handed out. The 26 high-profile categories will be announced during a live broadcast of the U.S. TV awards on August 29.

The biggest winner overall was the costly World War II miniseries The Pacific, which led the Primetime Emmy nominations with 24. It won seven awards and remains in contention for five more on August 29.

Rookie comedy Modern Family“and Saturday Night Live each won three. Modern Family, with 14 nominations overall, is up for eight awards at the main Primetime Emmys, although five of its stars are competing in two categories.

Saturday Night Live received 12 nominations, and its three wins pushed its haul to 28 since 1976. It will compete for best variety, music or comedy series at the main ceremony.

Mad Men, last year’s best drama winner, added two awards to its collection. With 17 nominations overall this year, it remains active with nine bids.

30 Rock rolled
Glee won two awards, including one for guest star Neil Patrick Harris. It received 19 nominations, second only to The Pacific, and will be up for eight awards at the main ceremony.

30 Rock, last year’s best comedy winner, went home empty-handed after being in contention for eight awards. It has seven chances at the next presentation.

White was not at the ceremony, but it is possible she would have thanked Facebook for her award. Members of the social networking site launched a campaign to persuade Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels to hire her as guest host of the comedy show. After much reluctance, White acceded to Michaels’ entreaties and hosted the Mother’s Day-eve episode on May 8.

She previously won an Emmy, also in the same category, for playing herself in an episode of The John Larroquette Show in 1996, as well as two for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and a single statuette for Golden Girls.

White has enjoyed a remarkable career resurrection, kick-started last year by her role as a sprightly grandmother in the Sandra Bullock comedy The Proposal. A popular Super Bowl commercial and a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild followed.

Ann-Margret won the Emmy for guest actor in a drama, after five previous nominations, for her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The 69-year-old Swedish-born actress told reporters backstage she had been “around for 95 years”, and attributed her longevity to a fitness trainer who trimmed 7kg off her figure in the past two months.

John Lithgow won his fifth career Emmy, for playing a serial killer in Dexter. Lithgow (64) accidentally thanked HBO instead of Showtime.

“Did I really?” Lithgow said, when apprised of his faux pas backstage. “I wondered why people were laughing at me. Now I know.”

Jeff Probst from Survivor maintained his clean sweep of the reality show host category, winning for the third straight year of the category’s existence.

Other winners included Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, composers of the theme music for rookie series Nurse Jackie. They are best known as Wendy and Lisa, two of Prince’s musicians during the 1980s.

They fielded plenty of Prince-related questions backstage, despite disclosing that the musician’s attorneys had sent them a cease-and-desist letter to stop talking about him. – Reuters

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