The Dynamic Duos

Joe Pugliese

Steve Levitan (6 noms, 3 wins) & Eric Stonestreet (2 noms, 1 win) and Dick Van Dyke (9 noms, 3 wins) & Carl Reiner (13 noms, 8 wins)

Gay couples? Eye-popping cleavage? Getting caught in the act? Yes, a lot has changed since Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke first struck Emmy gold with their squeaky-clean sitcom, The Dick Van Dyke Show. "The latitude of subject matter they get away with on Modern Family -- we couldn't have touched any of it in the 1960s," says Van Dyke, 85, who won three lead comedy actor statuettes for his role as variety show writer Rob Petrie. "I mean, Mary [Tyler Moore] and I couldn't even sleep in the same bed!" One thing that hasn't changed is the coveted bond between showrunner and actor. It's certainly one that isn't lost on Steve Levitan and Eric Stonestreet, winners of comedy statuettes last year for best series and supporting actor, respectively. "I admire how Steve can have 20 things going on in his brain at once and always put the story first," Stonestreet, 40, says of ABC's Modern Family co-creator. Levitan, 47, for whom watching reruns of CBS' Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66) as a kid helped "legitimize my comedy writer dreams," says Stonestreet always "finds a way to make everything funny. The physicality that Eric brings to his character Cam is just genius, though he shows up unannounced at my house all the time. We need boundaries." For Reiner, who won five Emmys as the head writer and creator of Dick Van Dyke, the road to showrunner sort of came by accident. The Caesar's Hour vet had hoped to play lead in the sitcom -- originally titled Head of the Family -- which he'd based on his own life as a writer and family man. "But executive producer Sheldon Leonard said I was miscast," laughs Reiner, 89, who ultimately went on to play Petrie's egomaniacal TV star boss, Alan Brady. "So we found this other guy to replace me. I guess it worked out OK. No, really … working with Dick has been one of the great pleasures of my career."

Photographed by Joe Pugliese on Aug. 13 at Reiner's residence in Beverly Hills.