For some, Emmy is a parting gift

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The members of the TV academy proved that sometimes it's hard to say goodbye.

After heavily populating the nominations in the acting categories with cast members from series that already had been canceled, the Academy bestowed Emmys on four performers from shows that are not coming back: Andre Braugher of FX's "Thief," Megan Mullally of NBC's "Will & Grace," Alan Alda of NBC's "The West Wing" and Blythe Danner of Showtime's "Huff."

The wins brought out a lot of emotion.

"It's a very nice way to say goodbye, very bittersweet," Danner said backstage after winning her second Emmy for the drama series "Huff" on the heels of the network's decision to cancel the show after two seasons.

"I was feeling a little bit emotional, and it's not that time of the month," joked "Will & Grace" co-star Mullally, a second-time winner for supporting actress in a comedy series. "I did feel emotional tonight because we were lucky to have such a great job for so many years."

Braugher was a surprise winner for lead actor in a TV movie or a miniseries for his role on the short-lived FX drama series "Thief."

"I regret it as much as anybody else," he said of the cancellation of the show after one season.

For Braugher, "Thief" marks the third consecutive critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged drama series in which he starred. He won an Emmy for NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street" and was nominated for ABC's "Gideon's Crossing."

"My joy is bringing these characters to life," he said. "This statue has a proper place, but I would enjoy it more if 'Thief' were coming back."

So, after two Emmys, what is Braugher's biggest wish?

"I wanna be on a hit," he said.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus bucked the trend of honoring actors from dead shows in a big way in the lead actress in a comedy series category. Facing competition from four actresses from canceled shows -- Jane Kaczmarek, Debra Messing, Lisa Kudrow and Stockard Channing -- she walked away with the trophy.

"They have gigantic comedy chops, and I admire them," Louis-Dreyfus said of her fellow nominees. She wasn't surprised that so many actors in the Emmy categories came from shows that are no longer on the air.

"It's a hard landscape out there," she said. "Getting a show on TV and making it stick is very hard. I'm just grateful that we are on the air."
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