Jean Smart showed that the power of love is eternal as she moved viewers to tears with a heartwarming tribute to her late husband and fellow “Hacks” co-star, Richard Gilliland.
The American actress took home the Lead Actress in a Comedy Series award for her outstanding role as Deborah Vance in the comedy-drama “Hacks,” at the Emmys 2021.
Amidst a standing ovation from the audience, Smart thanked her late husband, Gilliland, for all his support. Gilliland died on March 18, 2021, during the production of the series.
The veteran said of her husband, who was honored in the Memoriam section of “Hacks,”
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“I have to acknowledge my late husband, Richard Gilliland… I would not be here… without him putting his career on the back burner so that I could take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that I’ve had.”
A Special Plus One
Smart showed up to the Emmys on Sunday with a unique date— her 13-year-old son Forrest, who belongs to her, and the late Gilliland.
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The 70-year-old was dressed in a black dress with a see-through collar and sleeves. She made a beautiful pair with Forrest, who wore a black suit over a bright blue shirt.
The 13-year-old revealed that he was very proud of his mother and deserved the accolades because she “worked really hard for everything.”
The 2021 Emmys marked Smart’s first win since losing her husband of 34 years. Gilliland, who was aged 71 battled a “brief illness” before his passing.
Before his unexpected passing, Gilliland was scheduled to work with his wife this summer in a movie production directed by Tate Taylor.
Gilliland is survived by his loving wife, his two kids, Bonnie and Connor, his sisters Ann Norberg and Wendy Knaack, and his brother John Wells.
Donations can also be made in his name by fans, friends, and family to the M.I.T. Institute for Medical Engineering and Science.
A Love Story Fit For The Movies!
Gilliland and Smart were once two actors looking to make it big in Hollywood before they became inseparable lovebirds who served fans timeless couple goals.
In Fort Worth, Texas, in 1950, Gilliland was born. He began his acting career at Chicago’s Goodman School of Drama, where he played Jesus in “Godspell.”
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The actor then moved to Los Angeles, where his charming countenance earned him starring roles in various TV shows such as “Just Our Luck” and “Operation Petticoat.”
In 1986, he met his future wife on the CBS sitcom “Designing Women,” where he had become a series regular.
Smart told sources of their first meeting where Gilliland was “kissing somebody else.” The “somebody else” in question was fellow cast member Annie Potts who played his love interest.
The four-time Primetime Emmy Award winner got to work immediately, asking her co-star Delta Burke to find out Gilliland’s marital status. As fate would have it, he was unmarried.
The pretty pair later got hitched at the picturesque home of their “Designing Women” co-stars Dixie Carter and Hal Holbrook in June 1987.
The married couple worked together in multiple successful stage productions, including “Love Letters,” “It Had To Be You,” and “Just My Imagination.”