Emmy's most nominated individual adds five

Cameraman Ramirez's credits include 'Idol,' 'Dancing'

Hector Ramirez, the most nominated individual in Emmy history, didn't have time to dwell on earning five more noms Thursday to bring his total to 60. He was rushing off to start work on yet another series, NBC's "America's Got Talent."

The veteran cameraman, who has won 15 times, is constantly in demand -- doing the Academy Awards, the Grammys, "American Idol" and dozens of others series and specials -- all without an agent or manager.

"You provide a service to the directors," Ramirez said, "and they keep calling. In this business, everything is word-of-mouth. You build up a reputation that carries you through day after day, year after year."

He got his first Primetime Emmy nom in 1978 and his first trophy, for a Neil Diamond special, in 1986.

Once on a show, Ramirez tends to stick. He has been on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" since it began, earning Emmy noms five years in a row (including this year) and winning twice, even though he considers "Dancing" the most difficult show he has ever done.

"Everything is worked out to the music," Ramirez said. "So you have to know music and know your timing. Cameras are moving, lighting is changing, there are dancers. It's super coordination of everybody working together. If you're taping and make a mistake you do it over, but this is live. So the pressure mounts to do it perfectly. Every once in a while things happen, but 98% or 99% of the time, it is perfect. That's why the show has been nominated again this year."

Ramirez said he is invited back because he knows how to give the director what he wants. "You're thinking all the time and creating for them. You become a person they can count on, they trust, the talent trusts, because they see what you are doing. Every director is looking for different things."

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Born in Bogota, Columbia, Ramirez grew up in New York, moved to Los Angeles in 1963, attended a school of broadcasting and got his first job on a local Spanish TV station. He began a nine-year run at CBS in 1970, working on "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" and "The Carol Burnett Show." He counts directors Walter Miller and Dwight Hemion among his mentors.

Ramirez, a member of IATSE Local 600, also worked at CBS on "All in the Family," his all-time favorite, for five seasons. "It was a very innovative show -- the writing, the people. It was my first No. 1 network show, a high-pressure show, but it was fun."
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