The least Desperate housewife, Teri Hatcher, poised for a big win tonight at the Emmy Awards in the comedy category, said it all last night at a big party thrown in her honor by Los Angeles Confidential’s Jason Binn.
"I'm too old for this,"; she joked from the stage. “I just like to stay home on my couch."
Hatcher first got noticed playing Lois Lane on “Lois and Clark," the Superman TV series of the early 90s. When he show ended she signed on to play a James Bond girl. She had terrible press in those days, characterized as a complaining diva. I met her in 1996 in New York, when she had a small part in a Pulp Fiction rip-off movie called “Two Days in the Valley" that introduced Charlize Theron. The movie went nowhere, and Hatcher wound up doing commercials for Radio Shack. It was not a pretty sight.
But Hollywood has ups and downs if you can stick with it. Now Hatcher is hot as a pistol and wanted at every event. On Friday night she sat in a booth at Spago with her very young daughter (Hatcher has since divorced her husband, actor Jon Tenney) and chatted with “Star Trek" legend William Shatner, a man who knows a thing or two about surviving in show business despite the odds. Best known for fighting Klingons, Shatner now has some awards for playing a peripatetic, jokey lawyer on “Boston Legal." He also has those annoying Priceline commercials. That’s the story in this town. He’s the spokesperson for persistence.
Of course, the reward for all this success is not necessarily Most Liked. Hatcher's co-star in "Desperate Housewives," a brittle looking Marcia Cross, stayed away from her in Spago, preferring to talk with gorgeous "Law and Order: SVU" star Mariska Hargitay. Hatcher and Cross could not have been less friendly, and the whole thing was reminiscent of the famous nights when Kim Cattrall would stay away from her "Sex and the City" co-stars.
All of these women were at Spago Beverly Hills for the annual snoozy Emmy Nominees Dinner, an event that featured a wall of chocolate provided by Dove, various sponsors booths, and produced almost two dozen or so actors who ranged from mildly interesting to, well, you decide. Among the others: Cloris Leachman, Holland Taylor, Sandra Oh, Jeffrey Tambor, CCH Pounder, Tyne Daly, Hank Azaria, Eric McCormack, Lupe Ontiveros, Patricia Arquette, Peter Boyle, Camryn Manheim, Jane Kaczmarek, Doris Roberts, Conchata Farrell (who was once in a little known but remarkable Richard Pearce movie called "Heartland" with Rip Torn).
Of them all, the only one who seemed to give the evening any importance was 86-year-old veteran actor/comedian Red Buttons, who had already lost to Ray Liotta in a pre-broadcast ceremony. (They were each nominated for appearances on "ER," which apparently is still on the air.)
Buttons won an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1958 for "Sayonara," and had never even been nominated for an Emmy until this year. Talk about persistence! When he was called to the makeshift stage in the Spago garden, he quipped: "I couldn't be here in spirit, so I came in person." He then did about thirty seconds of shtick before he got the hook from the academy's president.
Valerie Harper once prevented a friend of mine from having her purse stolen in a New York supermarket. She’s also run for president of the Screen Actors Guild (and should have won). She’s been involved in many charities and is always there if you needed her. She also has, by the way, four Emmy Awards for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (eight nominations altogether) and one Golden Globe.
On Saturday afternoon, though, she turned up on Grayson Street, a cute but anonymous little block in Venice, California, to help raise money for Katrina survivors. It was an outdoor party organized by her friend, the singer Klein Allen. (He is not Allen Klein, John Lennon's former manager and owner of ABKO Records.)
It was a strange and wonderful event, with proceeds going to the American Red Cross. Several people performed from a makeshift stage with a sketchy sound system. Among them: Julia Fordham, who brought her four-month-old baby daughter Marley Rose; Freda Payne, of Band of Gold fame; TV actress Katey Sagal, whose backup performers included famed producer Don Was; 80-year-old gospel and Broadway legend Linda Hopkins; singer Leta Holloway, and the immortal Della Reese, who got up, knocked out an old R&B tune as if she were Mickey Mantle at bat, and then quickly left.
By default, Harper wound up as emcee. She brought her 22-year-old daughter, Christina, an aspiring actress. (Kudos to her, because Harper made something odd seem fun. She's off now to do the national tour of Golda's Balcony.)
There were a few stragglers from the TV world too: Orson Bean, who's 77 and married to Alley Mills, the mom from the Wonder Years (and 54); Jackee Harry, Ron Glass from "Barney Miller," Camryn Manheim, and miscellaneous neighbors who looked familiar. I dont know how much money they raised, probably not a lot. But it was the effort that counted. Klein Allen, whoever he is, gets credits for the after life. Now he just has to clean up his house, which was overrun by all these people for eight hours!