Hollywood's Emmy Icons

9:01 AM PST 09/14/2011 by Leslie Bruce, Stacey Wilson, Lacey Rose, Marisa Guthrie, Pamela McClintock
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Photographs by(clockwise from top left): Wesley Mann, Anya Chibis, Mary Rozzi, Wesley Mann

In celebration of television's 63rd annual awards, THR honors those greats whose impact on entertainment extends well beyond the sheer quantity of their statuettes.

THE DRAMA KINGS
Steven Bochco (34 noms, 10 wins), Joel Surnow (7 noms, 2 wins), Marshall Herskovitz (9 noms, 4 wins), David Milch (24 noms, 4 wins) and Matthew Weiner (15 noms, 8 wins)

It's hard to imagine an Emmy king like Matthew Weiner feeling unworthy of inclusion in the highest ranks of drama-writing giants. "Honestly, I thought this was some kind of prank having me here today," says the Mad Men writer/creator. "I'm happy to even be talking to these people, let alone taking a picture with them." The 46-year-old's  reverence isn't misplaced: Before Weiner's recent domination of the drama category, the genre's most outstanding writers were culled from a relatively small pool of old friends, whose collective history -- and more than 50 Emmy nominations -- stretch back 30 years. David Milch, 66, and Steven Bochco, 67, collaborated on the latter's Hill Street Blues (1981-87) and again on NYPD Blue (1993-2005) while Joel Surnow's (24, 2001-10) first TV writing gig was in their writers room. "It was 1983 on a show called Bay City Blues, and I knew nothing about TV," says Surnow, 56. "Watching David and Steven orchestrate the writers room and throw ideas around was my intro to television. I feel everything I needed to know I learned there." Marshall Herskovitz, whose ode to pre-midlife angst, thirtysomething (1987-91), turned the domestic drama on its ear, finds a common thread within the varied storytelling styles of his peers. "When I'm around these guys, I'm most in awe of their ability to create a unique voice, a worldview," says the 59-year-old. Bochco agrees they all have a shared approach of "characters first, with the logic of behavior dictating story." And Milch, for his part, reveals a particular reciprocal admiration for the newest member among the group. "Matt has really turned things around," he says. "I watch Mad Men with great admiration -- and not a little envy."

Photographed by Robert Maxwell on Aug. 27 at Pier 59 Studios in Santa Monica.

 

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