Magazine article Variety

Bebe Neuwirth 1990, "Cheers"

Magazine article Variety

Bebe Neuwirth 1990, "Cheers"

Article excerpt

Bebe Neuwirth never expected to become a TV star. But that's exactly what happens when you land a scene-stealing role like Lilith Sternin-Crane on a show as big as "Cheers." The Broadway veteran won back-to-back Emmys for the part in 1990 and 1991. She went on to score two more Emmy noms and currently co-stars on the CBS drama "Madam Secretary." geoff Berkshire

What was it like attending the Emmys for the first time?

I've always felt like a fish out of water in Los Angeles and in television. I was surprised by the nomination. When I found my seat, it was way, way over on the side and quite a few seats from the aisle. I remember laughing to myself and thinking, "Well, this must be the dark-horse section." There were really great actors there but we were thinking, "They're probably not going to call any of these names." We didn't have easy access to the stage.

Were you prepared when they actually did call your name?

I have never had stage fright. I've been on stage since I was 7. I'm actually more comfortable on stage than off. Put me in a cocktail party and I'm terrified, but put me in front of 10,000 people I'm perfectly comfortable. Unless I'm me, and not in a performance. Calling my name and having me go up on stage and speak off the cuff - because I didn't prepare anything, because, you know, why would you do that? - there was a little bit of terror. I can't remember what I said. I'm sure it was a terrible speech.

You had already won a Tony at that point. How did the experiences compare? …

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