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[[caption] Phyllis Newman was stunned, then elated, when she won her Tony for Subways Are for Sleeping. [[/caption] 

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[[caption] Barnard Hughes even treasures the card that showed his name as a nominee [[/caption]

Pete's Dragon, and here we were up against each other. Actually, I think he was in the wrong category. He didn't sing in Sugar Babies. He did comedy. He did Mickey Rooney, and nobody does it better. The Tony committee should have given him a special Tony for being Mickey Rooney."

By the same token Robert Goulet figured the Canadian authenticity he brought to 1968's The Happy Time would be no match for the ersatz facsimile peddled by David Wayne, who'd already won Tonys for playing a leprechaun and an Okinawan, but he figured wrong. "Winners usually say, 'Just being in line for an award is reward enough,' but, in this case, I felt we should have at least shared it," says Goulet, "and I know David's looking down from above right now and saying, 'You're darned right, Robert, and I'd have shared it with you, too."

Phyllis Newman remembers her competition in 1962 for a less warm reason. She found herself on The Big Night sitting next to David Merrick, who produced not only her show (Subways Are for Sleeping) but also that of her big Tony rival, Barbra Streisand (I Can Get It for You Wholesale). Right before the winner was announced, Merrick leaned over to Newman and whispered sweetly, "I voted for Barbra." Was he just being mean? "Oh no, not David Merrick!" gasps Newman, letting her sarcasm dip into the lower registers. "I was stunned, but in an instant it didn't matter. I heard my name called. and it was one of the greatest moments in my life. I was so excited I forgot everything. And, too, I was very young. Now, I think I would have some pretty 'cherce' words for him."

Barnard Hughes couldn't resist gently tweaking the competition when he hit the Tony podium in 1978. "If I hadn't won the Tony, I'd have been philosophical about it," he said. Then, a sly smile splayed with his lips, and he postscripted impishly, "Now, let the other guys be philosophical." Truth to tell, Hughes was honored to be in their number. In fact, he recalls, "Julie Harris presented me the Tony, and as I was walking off, she handed me a card and said, 'I think you'd like to keep this.' I took it and looked at it and said, 'Oh, my God!' It read: 'The nominees for Actor in a play are Hume Cronyn in The Gin Game, Barnard Hughes in Da, Frank Langella in Dracula and Jason Robards in A Touch of the Poet.' To this day, I believe that card is the most wonderful thing I have!"


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To El and Back.

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