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Me and My Emmy
July 01, 2013

Me and My Emmy: Ellen Burstyn

  • Corey Nickols

How She Got the Gold: Outstanding guest actress in a drama series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, playing Christopher Meloni's bipolar mom. "I did research on the condition and found that people can have very great highs and terrible lows. I was able to play the two extremes."

Now for the Noms: Four other nominations: lead actress in a limited series (The People v. Jean Harris, 1981), lead actress in a special (Hallmark Hall of Fame's Pack of Lies, 1987), supporting actress in a movie (Mrs. Harris, 2005) and guest actress in a drama series (Big Love, 2006).

Recent Role: "Margaret Barrish, in USA's Political Animals, was an ex-showgirl — similar to my background as a dancer in a nightclub back in the '50s. I researched Las Vegas and the Rat Pack during the time she would have been there. It was a very glamorous period. Life as a showgirl was pretty bawdy. I had a good time playing her."

Personal Faves: "I wish I could play Margaret some more, but the network doesn't plan to order any more episodes, unfortunately. I do have a soft spot for two roles for which I received Emmy nominations, in The People v. Jean Harris and Pack of Lies."

Mixed Media: "I just finished a feature film, Wish You Well, and am currently in a revival of Picnic at the Roundabout in New York."

Crowning Glory: "I have my Emmy, Oscar and Tony together. When I won the Emmy, someone wrote that I was now a Triple Crown winner — I like that title. The three statues look like a crown when they're together. They tend to move around my house."


Click for more Me and My Emmy articles.


This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 7, 2012

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