Emmys 2012: Intimate Conversations With 24 Winners (Video)
In behind-the-scenes video of THR's "Emmy Icons" photo shoots, J.J. Abrams reveals his biggest fear when giving his first acceptance speech, David E. Kelley explains why his first win was a "profound relief," and Glenn Close and Ted Danson engage in some arm wrestling (really!).
For this week's cover story, The Hollywood Reporter profiled 24 Emmy icons and produced a behind-the-scenes video on its exclusive photo shoots, which resulted in four covers.
The issue spotlights a group that combined has earned 200 Emmy nominations, with covers featuring Norman Lear; Sarah Jessica Parker; J.J. Abrams; and Glenn Close and Ted Danson.
THR quizzed the legends on how it feels to be awards icons, how they felt on the night of their first Emmy win, what their biggest Emmy regret is and where they keep their Emmy statues.
David E. Kelley won his first Emmy for L.A. Law, in 1989. The win for best drama series came after he replaced series creator Steven Bochco as showrunner.
"The experience there was profound relief because it had won several years before when Steven Bochco was running the ship," Kelley told THR. "So when they announced L.A. Law, I thought, 'Thank God. At least I haven't broken it yet.'"
For his part, Abrams said that when he won his first Emmy -- he won two statuettes in 2005 for writing and executive producing Lost -- he had one huge concern on his mind.
"Whenever you watch [the awards show] and you see that someone forgot to name their spouse -- all I cared about was that I thank my wife because I thought, 'If there's any chance that I don't thank my wife, I'm dead.'"
Lisa Kudrow also had family on her mind when she won the first of her two Emmys for her role of Phoebe on Friends.
"I don't remember a lot because my son was just a few months old, and I was pretty tired, and I remember being really happy and feeling like, 'Boy, what a good year,'" she told THR. "My son and I won this; that's good."
Parker, who won her first Emmy in 2001 as a producer on Sex and the City, said the show's first Emmy recognition (it earned two noms for its first season in 1999) was a nice validation for the series.
"There was a great period of time where we felt far away from the television community," she says. "You know, we were shooting in New York and so to be included in some way with the nominations, it made us feel connected to a medium that we were very proud to be part of."
Lear also said his first time at the Emmys -- his show All in the Family won three major awards, including best comedy series, in 1971 -- was special, with host Johnny Carson quipping at one point that the ceremony was the "Norman Lear show."
"I remember flying over the country and looking down at the lights and thinking, 'I wonder if everywhere I see I light, I didn't help somebody to laugh."
Meanwhile, when asked about being an Emmy icon, Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay said that being bestowed such a label is hard to process.
"It's tough to download," she said. "I don't know if I have -- I know I've been on a show for a long time that is well received. I certainly think that Olivia Benson is an iconic character."
Joking around with Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal and Ray Romano, co-star Brad Garrett quipped that one of his three Emmy statuettes was stolen.
"My ex-housekeeper, who will remain nameless, she stole an Emmy, melted it down and made teeth," he said. "This is happening all across Beverly Hills."
Rosenthal joked that there was once a stabbing incident involved an Emmy statuette.
"They're pointed and dangerous," he said. "Keep them on a high shelf."
Chimed in Romano: "When people ask me why we didn't do season 10, I want to show them this [video]."
Also having a good time during the THR shoot were Damages co-stars Close and Danson.
"When I hang out with you, I get nominated," Danson told Close, who replied, "That's the best thing you could say. Then everybody will want to work with me."
Danson noted that his batting average "sucks," having been nominated 15 times and winning twice, while Close has won three Emmys out of 14 nominations.
"Hey, you are an icon," he said, before the duo launched into an arm-wrestling match. "Cut the camera. She's going to win!"
Watch the complete video with all of the Emmy icons above. The Sept. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter hits newsstands Thursday.