The Not Ready for Prime Time Players are now ready for the big stage. The five living cast members of the original “Saturday Night Live” on NBC — Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, and Laraine Newman — reunited Wednesday night in North Hollywood for their induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Posthumously inducted were John Belushi and Gilda Radner. “SNL” cast member Bill Murray, who joined the variety program in the second season, attended with his former co-stars but was not part of their official induction. He jumped up on stage after they finished to give a short speech of his own.
The “SNL” induction was the last portion of the evening, with a special presentation by Lily Tomlin, who had been one of the first guest hosts back in 1975. The four previous inductees honored at the event were producer/writer Shonda Rhimes presented by Oprah Winfrey; production designer Roy Christopher presented by David Lee; the late comedian Joan Rivers presented by Chris Hardwick to her daughter Melissa Rivers; and producer/writer John Wells presented by Noah Wyle.
Other celebrities in attendance included Tony Goldwyn and Bellamy Young (“Scandal”), William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”), Richard Schiff, Jimmy Smits, and Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”), and Kate Walsh (“Private Practice”).
Murray is a two-time Emmy winner with one victory for “Saturday Night Live” as part of the writing team (1977) and another for his supporting role in “Olive Kitteridge” (2015). Aykroyd and Belushi also won on the 1977 writing staff. Chase and Radner took home Emmys for performing on “SNL,” in 1976 and 1978, respectively. Chase also has writing awards for “SNL” in 1976 and “The Paul Simon Special” in 1978. Curtin has two Emmy Awards for her lead role on “Kate and Allie” (1984, 1985). Show creator Lorne Michaels was inducted into the TV Hall of Fame in 1999.
Christopher is a 10-time Emmy champ for his work designing several Academy Awards ceremonies. Rhimes is a three-time nominee who has created “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” and “Scandal.” Rivers is a Daytime Emmy winner for her self-named talk show who got her biggest fame as a guest and host on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” Wells is a six-time Emmy winner for producing and co-creating “E.R.” and “The West Wing” and currently has “Shameless” on Showtime.
Major snubs still waiting to be inducted into the Television Hall of Fame include Ken Burns, Tyne Daly, Michael J. Fox, David Letterman, Jay Sandrich, Jerry Seinfeld, Lily Tomlin, Cicely Tyson, Henry Winkler, and the late Ed Bradley, Julia Child, Peter Falk, Don Knotts, John Ritter.
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