This year's 65th Primetime Emmy Awards is no exception, and the uproar is magnified with the announcement of supersized tributes to five of the TV personalities who passed away this year: Jonathan Winters, James Gandolfini, Jean Stapleton, Gary David Goldberg, and Cory Monteith.
In a press call with reporters, Emmys executive producer Ken Ehrlich said the decision to include 31-year-old Monteith in the extended tribute segment alongside four TV legends was one that he knew would become "an interesting topic of conversation."
"No matter what we do, there will be people who feel we could have made other options and done other things," he said. But the six-time Emmy producer explained the reasoning behind including the late "Glee" star - in lieu of late classic TV legends such as Larry Hagman or Jack Klugman: "Cory's appeal is to a different generation. It was important to be responsible to the younger viewers to whom Cory meant perhaps as much as these other individuals meant to their own generations."
In an interview with "Access Hollywood," Emmy host and producer Neil Patrick Harris said, "I always find the 'In Memoriam' is just really interesting because sometimes it seems weird that they keep the audio on in the house, so some people get applause and some people don't, and it turns it into this weird moment. And you want that moment to be honoring those people and not a competition."
Watch Jewel perform during the 2010 Primetime Emmys In Memoriam segment:
Unfortunately, the memorial snubs are sometimes remembered more than the actual tributes.
"Babylon 5" star, who died at age 60, wasn't recognized in the televised tribute, but according to the The Hollywood Reporter, Conaway and other omitted stars — like "Cosby Show" alum Clarice Taylor and "Seinfeld" actor Len Lesser — were recognized on the In Memoriam page on the Emmy website. Since 2006, the database has provided the name, date of passing, profession, key credits, and an obituary link for all of the men and women in the industry who died that year.In 2011, viewers were stunned when actor Jeff Conaway was omitted from the Emmys In Memoriam segment. The "Taxi" and
In Memoriam snubs aren't limited to the Emmys. Earlier this year, Deadline wanted to know why Andy Griffith and Larry Hagman weren't included in the In Memoriam reel at the Oscars. (Ernest Borgnine, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ray Bradbury, Richard D. Zanuck, and Beastie Boy Adam Yauch made the cut.)
While the Academy posted an online gallery to honor those who didn't make the telecast (Hagman and Griffith were on that one), even the gallery had some glaring omissions. Comedian Phyllis Diller, Latina actress Lupe Ontiveros, "The Jeffersons" star Sherman Hemsley, Muppets puppeteer Jerry Nelson, and actor Conrad Bain were all snubbed on the online tribute.
The exclusion of Ontiveros, who had a leading role in the 1997 biopic "Selena," had Latinos up in arms and was deemed racially driven by some critics. In an op-ed article for CNN, filmmaker Alberto Ferreras said that when he interviewed Ontiveros, she complained of the limited roles available for Latina actresses. (She played a maid more than 150 times.)
"Maybe for the members of the Academy of Motion Pictures, her screen accomplishments were not enough," Ferraras wrote. "Perhaps her 35 years in the movie industry representing Latinos with courage and dignity didn't earn her the right to be honored at such a prestigious event."
Earlier this year, The Root blasted the absence of black entertainment personalities from the televised Academy Awards tribute. Dick Anthony Williams ("Dog Day Afternoon, "Mo' Better Blues"), Al Freeman Jr. ("Malcolm X"), and Donna Summer — who's dance music underscored a slew of films, including "Flashdance and "Thank God It's Friday" — were all overlooked.
According to the New York Times, when Harry Morgan was missing from the Oscar-night memorial, his son emailed the Academy. "I cannot imagine why it left my dad out of its tribute segment," Charley Morgan wrote. "It would never have occurred to me to check with or otherwise lobby the Academy to be sure that he was mentioned."
Academy veteran Ric Robertson said the prolific actor wasn't included because he was better known for his TV work on "December Bride," "Dragnet," and "M*A*S*H" than for his movie roles. (Morgan's 100 feature-film credits included "High Noon" and "The Ox-Bow Incident.")
And Jane Fonda wrote:
issued a statement on behalf of her family: "We are deeply saddened that a truly beautiful and talented actress Farrah Fawcett was not included in the memorial montage during the 82nd Academy Awards. We are bereft with this exclusion of such an international icon who inspired so many for so many reasons. Beautiful, talented Farrah will never be forgotten by her family and amazing fans."Tatum O'Neal — whose father, Ryan, was Fawcett's longtime companion —
According to People, Bruce Davis, who's headed the Academy's "In Memoriam" piece since 1993, said Fawcett's absence in the montage was due to the fact that she's best known for her "remarkable television work," thus it was more appropriate to honor her during the Emmys telecast.
But how did the King of Pop make the cut? Davis defended the choice, citing the successful documentary "This Is It," a feature movie that was based on the late pop star.
"There's nothing you can say to people, particularly to family members, within a day or two of the show that helps at all." Davis said. "They tend to be surprised and hurt, and we understand that, and we're sorry for it."
Watch "Charlie's Angels" alums Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, and Jaclyn Smith pay tribute to producer Aaron Spelling at the 2006 Primetime Emmys:
You can see this year's complete Primetime Emmys In Memoriam database list here.
The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards will air live from the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. on CBS.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Primetime Emmy Awards
- Farrah Fawcett
- Larry Hagman
- Cory Monteith
- Lupe Ontiveros