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Tina Fey, Jerry Seinfeld Front Emmy Icons 2013 Portfolio

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William Shatner (7 noms, 2 wins) and Cloris Leachman (22 noms, 8 wins)

If longevity is king for a working actor, then Emmy veterans Leachman and Shatner are bona fide royalty, with careers spanning more than 60 years apiece. But Leachman, 87, reveals she had a backup plan in the event she didn't win the 1973 TV-movie Emmy for her role in A Brand New Life opposite actor Martin Balsam. "I would shout, 'No!' and wrap myself around the winner's ankles and get dragged up the stairs," she says (mostly joking).

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Since her first nomination for The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1972, Leachman has racked up more Emmy nominations than any performer now working in TV -- across comedy, drama, variety series and TV movies -- and is in the midst of shooting the fourth season of Fox's Raising Hope, in which she plays daffy grandma Maw Maw.

With all her years in the biz, it's a wonder she and Shatner, 82, had never been acquainted before their meeting on a recent summer afternoon. Or had they? "Actually, we've met several times," laughs Shatner. "I think you're kind of daft." ("Oh, I'm definitely daft," admits Leachman.)

Though best known as Star Trek's Capt. James T. Kirk -- and Priceline's erstwhile meta-spokesman -- Shatner didn't experience Emmy glory until well into his 70s, with a career resurgence on ABC's The Practice and then its spinoff Boston Legal, playing morally challenged lawyer Denny Crane. "It really knocked me over," says the busy voice-over actor and recent Hot in Cleveland guest star, of his 2004 and 2005 Emmy wins. "Exaltation and pure joy. It was worth the wait!"

Photographed by Brigitte Sire on Aug. 28 at Milk Studios in Hollywood

Next … The Young Gun: Aaron Paul