Reprinted from yesterday late editions.
"Roots," the most popular program in television history, won top honor's Sunday night at the 29th annual TV Emmy awards, taking a total of six prizes for its production, acting, writing and direction.
The eight-part ABC serial, adapted from Alex Haley's best seller about the origins of the American black experience, was named best "limited series" of the year. The actors who won for "Roots" were Edward Asner, Louis Gossett Jr., and Olivia Cole. "Roots" had logged a record-breaking 37 Emmy nominations, sometimes several within single categories.
The outstanding drama or comedy special Emmy was a tie, the award shared by ABC's "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years' and NBC's "Sybil." That brought the final network tally of Emmy awards to 14 for ABC and 11 each for CBS and NBC.
Usually the Emmy awards come at the end of a TV season, in the spring, rather than at the beginning of a new one. But the awards ceremony was delayed for four months while squabbling factions of the TV academy on the East and West coasts fought over control of them.
A planned Emmy show was scrubbed in May, when the Hollywood faction, including such stars as Mary Tyler Moore and Carroll O'Connor threatened a boycott unless the awards were reorganized to give the Hollywood community a greater voice. With the prospect of a star-less telecast looming, NBC canceled the show. After prolonged negotiations, the differences were resolved. The Hollywood chapter became the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, responsible fot the prime-time entertainment awards: the National Academy got domin over everything else.
There were 316 shows nominated in more than 60 categories. A total of 40 trophies was given out at the ceremony, televised live from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
All of the many acceptance speeches for "Roots" awards tended to be on the dramatic side, but there were other emotional moments. Actor John Trovolta had tears in his eyes when he accepted a best supporting actress award on behalf of the late Diana Hyland for an ABC special "The Boy in the Plastic Bubbie," in which Travolta and Hyland costarred. Hyland, who was later cast in the ABC comedy series "Eight is Enough," died of cancer in March at the age of 41.
Veteran actress Beulah Bondi, 85, got a standing ovation when she accepted a best actress prize for appearing in an episode of "The Waltons." Bondi, clutching the award, told the crowd, "The best part is that it has come to me while I am still alive."
Burgess Meredith, cited as best supporting actor for "Tail Gunner Joe," mentioned in his acceptance speech "a man who suffered worse than I, Zero Mostel." Mostel, who died last week, was, like Meredith, a victim of blacklisting in the '50s. In "Joe," Meredith played Judge Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) during the Cold War of the '50s.
After 15 years of bouncing around from category to category, "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" finally won an Emmy. Comedian Milton Berle shouted "At Last." when he presented the award to Fred De Cordova, the show's producer. The program begins its 16th year on the air in two weeks.
Mary Kay Place, who won for best supporting actress in a comedy series by playing country singer Loretta Haggers in Norman Lear's syndicated "Mary Hartman. Mary Hartman." accepted by shouting. "Whoo Doggies." She also said she was "fit to be tied" and called the show "difficult, bizarre and wonderful."
It was a big night for "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." which just ended a seven-year run on CBS. The program was named best comedy series of the year and its last episode won a writing prize. Many of the original cast members showed up for a special tribute to the program, and took a communal bow to a cheering audience. The series begins daily reruns in syndication on many stations next week.
Among the acting prizes, Ed Flanders won for playing Harry S. Truman in the PBS special, "Plain Speaking"; Sally Fields won for her protrayal of "Sybil" on NBC; Carroll O'Connor was named best actor in a comedy series for playing Archie Bunker on "All In the Family"; and Beartice Arthur was named best actress in a comedy series for her rip-roaring portrayal of "Maude."
Time Conway was cited for his supporting role on "The Carol Burnett Show"; Rita Moreno got a prize for guest starring on the syndicated "Muppett Show"; Gary Burghoff won a supporting actor prize for playing Radar in "M A S H"; and the two actors who play brother and sister in ABC's "Family" series, Gary Frank and Kristy McNichol, both won supporting actor awards.
There were some elements of the bizarre. Named best variety series was NBC's "Van Dyke and Company." Writer BOb Einstein noted when accepting that NBC had canceled the series after only 11 weeks on the air and had repeatedly pre-empted it for other programs. Another odd award was a special events citation for last year's Emmy awards show, which aired on ABC.
Lindsay Wagner was incredibly chosen best actress in a drama series for playing "The Bionic Woman," which was canceled by ABC but picked up this season by NBC, which has added a bionic dog to the cast. The dog will not be eligible for an Emmy until next year. James Garner was named best actor in a drama series for NBC's "The Rockford Files."
Public TV shows won four Emmy awards, including the prize for best drama series, which went to the long-running hit "Upstairs, Downstairs," which ceased production earlier this year.
Other categories and winners included: Best variety special. "The Barry Manilow Special"; best director of a variety series. Dave Powers, "Carol Burnett Show"; best lead actor in a limited series, Christopher Plummer. "The Money Changers"; best lead actress in a limited series, Patty Duke Astin, "Captains and Kings."
Like most award shows this one ran overtime - in fact, by a full hour. Dick Van Dyke got a small ovation when he told the crowd just before midnight, "I'm hungry." But there was still another half-hour of awards and speeches and more speeches to come.