The Emmy Guest Room: This Year's Nominees Talk About Their Guest-Starring Roles

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What's better than landing a guest-starring role on a hit drama or sitcom like "Mad Men" or "Modern Family"? How about scoring an Emmy nomination for the guest spot?

For the 65th Primetime Emmy awards, the guest room is full of veteran actors and actresses who took the small screen by storm. Check out what some of this year's best guests had to say about their Emmy-nominated roles.

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series -- Harry Hamlin, "Mad Men"

Behind those nerdy 1968-style glasses was a familiar face on this season's "Mad Men": Former "L.A. Law" hunk Harry Hamlin, who landed a recurring role on the AMC drama as ad man Jim Cutler.

Hamlin described his 1960s alter ego to Vulture: "From what I know of Jim so far, he's somewhat narcissistic and a control freak. He's feeling his oats as a power monger, wanting to gain control of the company, and doing it while the others are out of town, which I think shows a lot about who he is. There's going to be an inevitable power struggle."

Watch Harry Hamlin talk about his "Mad Men" role:

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series -- Diana Rigg, "Game of Thrones"

Forty-six years after her first Emmy nomination for her role as British spy Emma Peel in "The Avengers," Dianna Rigg is still in the Emmy game. Of her "Game of Thrones" character, "The Queen of Thorns" Lady Olenna Redwyne, the 74-year-old actress told a UK morning show, "She says all the things that other people dare not say. Also, the costume is terrific. I don't have to spend hours in make-up, and I'm in a wimple, it's great. I adore it. I couldn't ask for better lines. I'm so lucky. I could be sitting at home crumbling, but I'm not."

See a clip of Diana Rigg in "Game of Thrones":

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series -- Nathan Lane, "Modern Family," "The Good Wife"

This year's Emmy nominations brought a double shot of good news for Nathan Lane: He was nominated for guest-starring roles on both "Modern Family" and "The Good Wife."

Of his role as trustee Clarke Hayden on "The Good Wife," Lane told Entertainment Weekly, "I think he's sort of a damaged soul, but it's hard to tell what's going on." The actor even admitted to creating his own backstory for the ambiguous character: "I just decided for myself that he had done some bad things in the past. He sort of abandoned his first love, which, ironically, was the law. He never took the bar. He was really good with numbers, so he got into accounting. I think he rose at some corporation. I think he was asked to do things he probably thought were not quite legal."

As for his "Modern Family" character -- the flamboyant, party-throwing Pepper -- Lane recently said, "The story of Pepper, I haven't really built anything around that other than he obviously is very rich. He's got a lot of money. He lives very well. I'm sure there's a spinoff somewhere on Pepper."

Check out a clip of Nathan Lane on "The Good Wife":

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series -- Bob Newhart, "The Big Bang Theory"

Believe it or not, comedy legend Bob Newhart never won an Emmy for the pair of sitcoms that bared his moniker, but he has another chance for some Emmy love thanks to his guest spot as Professor Proton on "Big Bang Theory."

He told The Hollywood Reporter that he had two conditions for appearing on the show: It had to be a semi-recurring role and his scenes had to be taped in front of a live audience.

But what about the good professor's future? Newhart said, "I don't know how many legs this character has. That's up to them. We'll talk about it if they feel they want more. That's strictly up to them. I didn't just want to do a one-shot. I wanted to make it semi-recurring. At this point, that's what it was. It was very enjoyable. I loved it."

See Bob Newhart as Professor Proton on 'Big Bang Theory":

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series -- Linda Cardellini, "Mad Men"

Don Draper has had plenty of mistresses, but not all of them have had meaty enough roles to garner an Emmy nod. Enter Linda Cardellini, who played Don's neighbor and lover, Sylvia Rosen. Yes, the former "Freaks and Geeks" star has come a long way since her days as Lindsay Weir.

Cardellini told The New York Times that "Mad Men's" notoriously secretive creator Matthew Weiner kept her in the dark when it came to details about her character: "The character's name was Sylvia, but I did not know it was Don [that she was interacting with] at that point," she said. " I've never worked in that way, and it kept me in the moment. You can't play the end of your arc, because you don't know it yet." But she added, "To be the woman who can bring Don Draper to his knees is nothing short of fun."

See Linda Cardellini on "Mad Men":

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series -- Elaine Stritch, "30 Rock"

And Elaine Stritch had us in… stritches, er, stitches! The legendary actress's recurring role on "30 Rock" -- as Alec Baldwin's character's mother -- landed her another Emmy nod; that brings her tally to eight! While she's been nominated for this role five times now, she actually won it in 2007.

In an interview posted on Movieweb, Stritch said of her long-running guest role as Colleen Donaghy: "I consider that I'm a running part as now. But no, I don't think it's a good thing to have her overkill for mother. I think she should come on once in a while ... One or two or possibly three shows a season. It's enough because I think taste-wise, it's the best thing to do with her. She comes on every once in a while, raises hell, changes the whole atmosphere, and leaves for a while. And I think that makes her not the boring mother. She just floats into New York with her furs and diamonds and tries to straighten him out a little bit. And then she leaves."

Watch Elaine Stritch stop by "30 Rock":

The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, 9/22 on CBS.

Check out the biggest surprises and snubs from the 2013 Emmy nominations:

 

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