“I was pretty shocked,” admits Judith Light as we chat via webcam (watch above) about her Emmy nomination for “Transparent.” The two-time Tony Awards champ (“Other Desert Cities,” 2012: “The Assembled Parties,” 2013) says she was “incredibly honored and very grateful to be chosen to be with all of these incredible women in this particular category — and particularly with Gaby Hoffmann who plays my daughter.”
Light and Hoffmann are both nominated for Best Comedy Supporting Actress. It’s Hoffmann’s second straight nomination for the Amazon series, but Light’s first. She has one previous Primetime Emmy nomination for her guest role in “Ugly Betty” (2007) and two Daytime Emmy victories for “One Life to Live” (1980-1981).
Light has submitted to Emmy judges the episode “Flicky-Flicky Thump-Thump,” in which her character, Shelly Pfefferman, reconnects with Maura (Jeffrey Tambor), who used to be Shelly’s husband Mort. That includes an intimate scene in a bathtub that gives the episode its title. “Any of the sexual stuff that you see on the show, none of it is salacious,” Light explains. “One of the things we have not talked about as a culture really is mature women’s sexuality, so now we get a chance to talk about that.” She adds, “There are so many levels and so many intricacies and intimacies that are discovered within the body of just that scene.”
“Transparent” has been groundbreaking in its depiction of a transgender woman and her family, and Light has long been an advocate for LGBT rights. Her decades-long commitment to the cause goes back to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, including her participation in the film “The Ryan White Story,” in which she played the mother of a young hemophiliac who contracted AIDS from a blood treatment. As a result, White was subjected to anti-gay bullying, to which Light reacted, “This is not okay. I had to do more, so I became a very strong advocate for the community. The fact that I can be in this particular show and have the advocacy and get to speak about this makes it even more beautiful in so many ways for me.”
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