The Role Models

Wesley Mann

Edie Falco (9 noms, 4 wins) and Mary Tyler Moore (15 noms, 6 wins)

Edie Falco was convinced her television career was over when the screen went black on The Sopranos in 2007. But not because she didn't have offers. "I looked at a lot of stuff," says Falco, 48. "And for a while I thought, 'I guess I'm done.' I just couldn't respond to anything." Then along came Jackie Peyton, the pill-popping, philandering Florence Nightingale of Showtime's Nurse Jackie. It's been a Benzedrine dream of a role for Falco as it netted her a first comedy Emmy last year after three drama wins playing Carmela Soprano and the distinction of being only the second actor (after Carroll O'Connor) to score both lead drama and comedy statues. Still, with Jackie's humor more of the gallows variety, Falco doesn't see herself as "funny. "I still don't know what the hell is going on there," says Falco of her win for Jackie. "When I think of comedy I think of Lucille Ball, or Tina Fey -- or Mary." In fact, Falco is more than happy to let Mary Tyler Moore dominate that arena: The veteran actress first stole America's hearts as happy homemaker Laurie Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66), for which she earned her first Emmy, and then again as plucky TV producer Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77), a role that netted her three more wins. Set to be honored in January by the Screen Actors Guild with its Life Achievement Award, Moore, 74, still exemplifies the working woman: Last January, she reunited with MTM co-star Betty White on TV Land's sitcom Hot in Cleveland. A diabetic, Moore also is a tireless spokeswoman for the disease and international chairwoman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. And while her charity work keeps her busy (she's an animal rights activist too), Moore still finds time to watch shows like The Office and Mike & Molly and declares 30 Rock star Fey "wonderful." Says Moore of her fellow funny ladies. "For a long time, people thought women couldn't get laughs, so every time I see a woman get one, I'm personally tickled."

Photographed by Wesley Mann on Sept. 8 at Eagles Nest Studio in New York.