Emmy's annual necrology...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Emmy's annual necrology...

...invariably reveals the someone's death which had escaped my attention over the past 12 months; the 2015 edition telecast Sunday evening was no exception.

Elizabeth Peña

I somehow missed the passing of won­der­ful Elizabeth Peña almost a year ago, likely due to her repeat guest role as Sofía Vergara's mother on "Modern Family."

(The comedy series is in syndicated re-runs all over the dial due to its popularity so Peña will be around for a while.)

Richard Dysart

But the one which had a personal meaning was learning that Richard Dysart had died this past April at his home in Santa Monica, California.

Probably best known as "Leland Mc­Kenzie," Senior Partner of McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak, in eight seasons (1986-1994) of NBC's five time Emmy-winning "L.A. Law."

(Dysart himself won 1992's "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" Emmy Award.)

Although he'd been around television drama since 1953, it was in a key role in Paddy Chayefsky's savagely dark 1971 comedy, "The Hospital" that I first took note of him.

Still, it was for "L.A. Law" he will be best remembered.

Ten years after that series finished first run, Jeanne and I were invited out to stay with my first-born in her apart­ment in Santa Monica for a week.

Jet-lagging a bit, after everyone else had turned in, I sat on the living room couch flipping channels well-past 2:00 am, and happened across the episode of that legal series which contained arguably its most shocking scene.

Still musing about dropping in on the old series, early the following morning Pegs and I took her beloved Boodha down to the Pacific Street Dog Park for his matutinal run and play.

Shortly thereafter we were joined by Dysart who'd brought his two Standard Poodles down to stretch their legs while her sat on a bench across the way and read the morning paper.

I tried to think of a way to approach him without acting too much the "fanboy," but nothing came to mind so I just sat there, sneaking furtive looks in his direction 'til it was time to leave.

"So who was that you were so gob-struck by?"

...she demanded as soon as we were out of earshot of the park.


I explained who he was and how I'd seen him just five hours earlier on her TV.

"O," she said. "He and his dogs are here every morning. No one pays him any attention... 'til today."

I gave her a big "WHAAAA?!" but she wasn't buying it.

"You know, you didn't have to be so obvious about it."

That's me, Mister UnCool! My face burned for the rest of the day.


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