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Behind The Scenes At The Emmys

Helen Mirren Struggles With Stripper Shoes

Helen Mirren was thinking about just one thing as she walked up the Shrine Auditorium stage steps to accept her Emmy for lead actress in a miniseries or movie.

"Please don't let me fall down," Mirren recalled backstage Sunday night.

The star of HBO's "Elizabeth I" had good reason — six-inch plastic heels she called her "stripper shoes."

"My great triumph is not falling (down) coming up those stairs," Mirren had said while accepting the Emmy. "If you saw the shoes I'm wearing, you'd understand."

As she left the microphone, Mirren added, "I'll take my bloody shoes off now."

She later showed them off to reporters.

"I got them on Hollywood Boulevard, I think, for $49.99," Mirren said with a straight face.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Fine With Rules Change

At least one star at the Emmys didn't have a problem with the revamped nomination process that had some categories being selected by special panels.

"Let's keep it," said Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as she hugged her statuette for best actress in a comedy series, "The New Adventures of Old Christine."

"I have no problem with the system," she said. "Although I will tell you I don't understand it. I voted, and I didn't understand what I was doing."

Louis-Dreyfus added that she can relate to Lisa Kudrow, whose show "The Comeback" was nominated despite being canceled last year.

"It's very hard in television right now," she said. "Getting a show on the air and getting it to stick is a bigger challenge than ever."

Fans Swoon For Dr. McDreamy

"Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey drew the biggest cheers from fans watching TV stars arrive for the show.

Known as "Dr. McDreamy," Dempsey took a moment to jump the ropes and sign a few autographs for fans sitting in the bleachers along the Emmys' red carpet.

But Dempsey wasn't all Mr. McSmoothy: At one point he stepped on the dress of a woman standing nearby. After apologizing, he told reporters, "These are the things that matter in life — not stepping on a woman's dress."

Stars Stay Cool On Hot Night

Stars arriving for the Emmys struggled to keep cool as a hot late-summer sun beat down on the red carpet outside the Shrine Auditorium.

For Tyra Banks, in a long Georges Chakra gown, it was impossible.

"Underneath this dress, I'm dripping," Banks said. "Not cute, believe me."

"Grey's Anatomy" co-star Chandra Wilson dressed for the weather: Her dress featured a long side slit.

"I have some air vents," she joked.

Poignant Appearance By Dick Clark

At age 76, "America's oldest teenager" made a jovial yet touching appearance during a special Emmys tribute.

Dick Clark, still recuperating from a 2004 stroke, seemed moved by the warm standing ovation he received, then regaled the crowd with his old smile and self-deprecating jokes.

His face showing the passage of time, Clark sat on a stool behind a podium and joked about a request he received from Emmy producers that he "walk out" onto the Shrine Auditorium stage.

"I've just begun to learn to walk again and the show might run a little long," Clark said.

Barry Manilow's Lucky Charm

Barry Manilow picked up an Emmy — on the eve of a scheduled hip surgery.

"This goes into the operating room with me tomorrow morning as a good-luck charm," Manilow said as he hoisted the trophy for outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program.

Manilow, 60, had to cancel performances at the Las Vegas Hilton because of painful cartilage tears in both hips.

But he was able to perform "Bandstand Boogie," the theme from Dick Clark's "American Bandstand."

Manilow's recovery and rehabilitation is expected to take about eight weeks.

Jeremy Piven Remembers His Dad

Jeremy Piven grew emotional backstage at the Emmy Awards as he spoke of his late father after winning a trophy for his role in "Entourage."

"He is here, and he's very proud," Piven said, wiping away tears.

His father, Byrne Piven, who died of lung cancer in 2002, co-founded the Piven Theatre Workshop with his wife in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. Its alumni include the younger Piven, John Cusack, Aidan Quinn and Rosanna Arquette.

Piven recalled Emmy host Conan O'Brien's joke about parents of people in show business not being nurturing.

"I'm living proof that you can have supportive parents and be dysfunctional and still contribute to acting," Piven said.

Bittersweet Night For Stars Of Canceled Shows

Emmy night was bittersweet for stars of shows that either ended or were canceled last season.

"It's like, 'Oh, we're nominated. Oh, we're canceled,' " said "Arrested Development" co-star Tony Hale.

It was a bit easier for Jane Kaczmarek, who said all the actors who played her sons on "Malcolm in the Middle" had grown up. Her husband, Bradley Whitford, said it was also the right timing for "The West Wing."

"In both our cases, it was time to say goodbye," Whitford said.

Lisa Kudrow's series "The Comeback" was canceled almost a year ago.

"We had a year to recover," she said. "We feel great."

"Huff" actress Blythe Danner, who won supporting actress in a drama, said she did not expect to win because the show was canceled.

"It's a very nice way to say goodbye," Danner said.

Aaron Spelling Honored

Producer Aaron Spelling wasn't famous for creating the kind of TV programs that awards shows lavished with praise, but that's just what the late mogul got on Sunday's Emmycast.

In a special tribute, stars of "Dynasty" and "Charlie's Angels" recalled the mastermind of those and other hit shows as a star-maker with a sense for what audiences wanted.

Spelling died in June at 83 after suffering a stroke. Other shows he created include "Fantasy Island," "Love Boat," "The Mod Squad," "Starsky and Hutch," "Melrose Place" and "Beverly Hills 90210."

On Sunday, Spelling was also remembered fondly by Joan Collins, who starred in "Dynasty," and by Heather Locklear, who starred in "Melrose Place," before the original "Charlie's Angels" stars made a rare joint appearance on stage.

"Miracles do happen," said former "Angel" Jaclyn Smith. "I'm sure that he is looking down and smiling on us right now knowing that he brought us together again."

Associated Press Writers Gary Gentile and Beth Harris contributed to this report.
By Christina Almeida