Another Emmy Moment

This is the fourth in our series of Emmy moments and histories leading up to the big event on September 18.

In 1983, Ann-Margret delivered a well-received performance in Who Will Love My Children? — her TV movie debut in which she played a dying woman trying to find homes for her ten children after deeming her husband unsuitable to care for them. It was anticipated that she would win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Special.

However, it was Hollywood screen legend Barbara Stanwyck who prevailed for Part II of the Thorn Birds miniseries. It was Stanwyck’s third Emmy Award after winning for her eponymous dramatic anthology series in 1961 and for the first season of the 1965-1969 Western series The Big Valley.

At the end of her speech, Stanwyck paid personal tribute “to a lady who is a wonderful entertainer but…gave us a film last year, last season in which I, I think she gave one of the finest, most beautiful performances I have ever seen…Ann Margret, you were superb.”

The audience applauded in agreement, Stanwyck blew her a kiss and Ann-Margret dissolved into tears (I’ve seen this in other clips).

Ann-Margret was nominated again the following year in the same category for A Streetcar Named Desire (losing to Jane Fonda for The Dollmaker), in 1987 for The Two Mrs. Grenvilles (losing to Gena Rowlands for The Betty Ford Story) and in 1999 for Life of the Party: The Pamela Harriman Story (losing to Helen Mirren for The Passion of Ayn Rand). She was also nominated in 1993 as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special for Queen (losing to Mary Tyler Moore for Stolen Babies).

Ann-Margret finally won an Emmy last year for a guest appearance in the “Bedtime” episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

The 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air on FOX at 8pm EST/5pm PST hosted by Jane Lynch.

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