White, 88, claimed the award for guest actress in a comedy series during the “creative arts” portion of the Primetime Emmy Awards, where more than 70 awards, mostly in technical categories, were handed out. The 26 high-profile categories will be announced during a live broadcast on Aug. 29.
White was not at the event, but it is possible she would have thanked Facebook for the award. Members of the social networking site launched a campaign to persuade “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels to hire her as guest host of the comedy show. After much reluctance, White acceded to Michaels’ entreaties and hosted the Mother’s Day-eve episode on May 8.
She previously won an Emmy, also in the same category, for playing herself in an episode of “The John Larroquette Show” in 1996, as well as two for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and a single statuette for “Golden Girls.”
White has enjoyed a remarkable career resurrection, kick-started last year by her role as a sprightly grandmother in the Sandra Bullock comedy “The Proposal.” A popular Super Bowl commercial and a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild followed. Just three weeks ago, White thrilled youngsters at the Teen Choice Awards by boogieing with Bullock.
On the comedy side, Neil Patrick Harris won the first Emmy of his career for “Glee,” which nabbed 19 nominations overall. He grabbed a second award as host of this year’s Tony Awards, which won the Emmy for special class program.
In the dramatic categories, the awards went to John Lithgow for playing a serial killer in “Dexter” and to Ann-Margret for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” The veteran Swedish-born actress received a standing ovation when she came to the stage to receive the event’s final award.
For Lithgow, it marked his fifth Emmy, and the first since 1999 when he won for his lead role as Dick Solomon in the sitcom “3rd Rock from the Sun.”
Lithgow, 64, accidentally thanked HBO instead of Showtime.
“Did I really?” Lithgow said, when apprised of his faux pas backstage. “I wondered why people were laughing at me. Now I know.”
He recalled that he initially turned down the season-long role as “Trinity Killer” Arthur Mitchell because he wanted to take a vacation. But his wife said he should do the role.
Jeff Probst from “Survivor” maintained his clean sweep of the reality show host category, winning for the third straight year of the category’s existence.
Other notable winners included Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, composers of the theme music for rookie series “Nurse Jackie.” They are best known as Wendy and Lisa, two of Prince’s musicians during the 1980s. They fielded plenty of Prince-related questions backstage, despite disclosing that the musician’s attorneys had sent them a cease-and-desist letter to stop talking about him.
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