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'Mad Men,' 'Modern Family' Big Winners at Emmy Awards

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U.S. television honored its best programs Sunday at the annual Emmy awards in Los Angeles.  Mad Men was named best dramatic series.  Modern Family was named best comedy.   Key Emmys also went to television movies and a mini-series based on real-life stories.



Mad Men
, which is set at a 1960s New York advertising firm, won its third consecutive Emmy as best drama series.  And a satirical look at the modern American family, Modern Family was named best comedy and earned Emmys for its writing and for supporting actor Eric Stonestreet.

The musical-comedy series Glee had 19 nominations heading into the awards, but the series won just two Emmys, for supporting actress Jane Lynch and series creator and director Ryan Murphy.  

Bryan Cranston was honored for his portrayal of a drug dealer in the series Breaking Bad and Kyra Sedgewick for her role as a deputy police chief in The Closer

Top comic acting honors went to Edie Falco of Nurse Jackie and Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory, a series about nerdy scientists.

Temple Grandin, a TV film about a noted animal scientist who has struggled with autism, was named best television movie, and earned an acting award for Claire Danes, who portrays Grandin. Supporting performers Julia Ormond and David Strathairn and director Mick Jackson also earned Emmys.

Autism is a developmental disorder that causes problems in communicating with others, but Grandin has overcome her disability to become a respected author and advocate for the humane treatment of livestock.  Producer Emily Gerson Saines, who is herself the mother of an autistic child, thanked Grandin for her work in spreading knowledge about the condition.

"Autism has reached epidemic proportions, so on behalf of all the parents like myself who have a child with autism, Temple Grandin, you are our hero," Saines said.

The Pacific, a 10-part miniseries from producers Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman, was named best miniseries.  The project cost more than $200 million, and it tells the intertwined stories of American Marines fighting in the Pacific during World War II.  Hanks thanked his Australia-based crew, who worked under harsh conditions.

"And our magnificent cast of actors who themselves went through an old brand of hell across the Pacific in order to portray the stories of an entire generation of men and women who did the same," Hanks said.

Al Pacino was honored for his role in You Don't Know Jack, a television film about the controversial doctor and assisted-suicide supporter Jack Kevorkian.   The former physician, now 82, was in the audience.

George Clooney received a humanitarian award for his efforts on behalf of victims of disasters.  Clooney brought attention to the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan and helped organize telethons to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Haitian earthquake this year. He complained that the spotlight on those disasters, and the recent flooding in Pakistan, holds the world's attention only briefly.

"So here's hoping that some very bright person right here in the room or at home watching can help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heart-breaking situations that continue to be heart-breaking long after the cameras go away," Clooney said.

The Emmys are presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and are considered the highest honor in American television.  Late-night talk show host and comic Jimmy Fallon hosted this year's show.

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