Henry Winkler, Martin Short and Other Emmys Veterans Share Their Most Valuable Advice

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This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Billy Crudup in The Morning Show.Courtesy of Erin Simkin/AppleTV

Nominated for best supporting actor in a drama

“I remember hearing Olympia Dukakis speak about acting, and this one quote always stuck with me: ‘Don’t have the reason why you became an actor be the reason why you remain an actor.’ So many actors end up in the profession because at some point in their childhood they loved performing and being in front of a group of people — having the laughs and the attention. You can get confused as you get older because you’re like, ‘I don’t need the attention anymore. All of my training is in acting — what do I do now?’ Taking it seriously as an adult is different than doing it when you’re younger because you needed attention. I feel the resonance of that over time, particularly as your body starts to change and you have to take on different roles. It becomes more of an opportunity rather than an obstacle. The chance to play Willie Loman or King Lear as I get older is a thrilling idea. It’s a way to not fight against the forces of time and to use it as a tool in this instrument of storytelling.”

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Marin Hinkle and Tony Shalhoub in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Nominated for best supporting actor in a comedy

“The best advice I ever got was from an acting teacher of mine, way back when I was in college, and it was just one word: ‘Persevere.’ It sounds trite, but it encompasses so many issues. I think what people have to not lose sight of in this business is that it’s a marathon — it’s a long game. Any one success or failure isn’t going to be a defining moment. The other thing, that I have actually come to fairly recently, just in terms of my own sanity: If anyone would ask me, ‘What keeps you grounded?’ It’s this idea that it’s not about you. That’s the key. The business is competitive. There are a lot of people receiving praise or accolades, and a lot of times that ego inevitably becomes a big part of it. I think it’s important to keep in mind that we’re in a collaborative venture. As actors, we’re really here to serve.”

Martin Short outside The Belnord in NYC in Only Murders in the Building.Courtesy of Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

Nominated for best actor in a comedy

“My manager Bernie Brillstein once told me, ‘Don’t take it too seriously — it’s just showbiz.’ There’s a tendency with the arts to think, “Oh my God, I didn’t get that part because I was bad.’ And then you’re on the other side of the table and you realize, no, you’re just too short [for the role]. It can be the most thrilling profession and also the most demoralizing. I learned that I could never determine my happiness based on the admiration of strangers.”

Henry Winkler in the Barry season three finale.HBO

Nominated for best supporting actor in a comedy

“‘My job is to get the job — then I can worry about doing it.’ That’s my great teacher Bobby Lewis, who was a member of the Group Theatre in the ’30s and was a magnificent, funny, great raconteur. He said that to us over and over again. I say it all the time to young actors. When you’re up for an audition, do not look further than that audition. When you are selling a piece of material, when you’re pitching it, your audience is the people in the room. [The job] doesn’t exist until it’s real. Don’t talk about it — keep it to yourself, to your partners. When you get it, then you can celebrate.”

Oh Yeong-su in Squid Game.Courtesy of Noh Juhan/Netflix

Nominated for best supporting actor in a drama

“A director I consider to be my mentor to this day once told me: ‘When you speak, you have to think about the overall dialogue. You have to think first. Language onstage that lacks thought is not authentic.’ I was told this in my 30s, and it has been a constant driving force for me that shaped me into the actor that I am today. A sense of presence is central to the theater stage, and sometimes that means you as an actor may have to exaggerate your expressions depending on the size of the stage and the scale of the physical space. On the other hand, performance on films or TV series is delivered through the lens of the media, which requires the actors to be more subtle and realistic with their performance.”

Henry Winkler, Martin Short and Other Emmys Veterans Share Their Most Valuable Advice

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