Hollywood's Emmy Icons

9:01 AM PST 09/14/2011 by Leslie Bruce, Stacey Wilson, Lacey Rose, Marisa Guthrie, Pamela McClintock
Page 6
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 JESTERS
Lily Tomlin (16 noms, 4 wins) and George Schlatter (16 noms, 3 wins)

The industry really didn't understand [Rowan & Martin's] Laugh-In," says George Schlatter, the show's co-creator and producer. "So winning Emmys meant a certain kind of acceptance." During its six-season run starting in 1968, the goofy NBC variety show -- which broke an unprecedented number of female comedians, including Lily Tomlin, Jo Anne Worley and Goldie Hawn -- featured politically charged and controversial moments such as the now iconic 1968 bit featuring then-Presidential candidate Richard Nixon deadpanning the show's popular tagline: "Sock it to me?" (Schlatter explains that the Nixon administration later pressured NBC to ban political humor on the show). The 72-year-old Tomlin (now starring in Showtime's Web Therapy) says Laugh-In established a reputation for pushing boundaries and "taking hypocrites and abusers to task." She says, "Even with my limited politics, I would still say things that I might not say 10 years later. But even in the old days, I would tell George, 'I can't say this joke, it's sexist!' And George would say, 'Babe, you don't have to,' and yell out, 'Jo Anne!' " While Tomlin didn't join the program until 1969, Schlatter says her arrival marked a new chapter for Laugh-In. "When she dressed as [eccentric telephone operator] Ernestine, you saw this woman come to life," says the retired 78-year-old, who makes a point of seeing Tomlin as often as he can. "It was more than a character, it became a part of the culture. Afterward, everyone was walking around going, 'One ringy dingy, two ringy dingies.' "

Photographed by Brigitte Sire on Aug. 16 in Sherman Oaks

 

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