Onscreen, the murky set of The Practice doesn't seem the most welcoming atmosphere. Behind the scenes, however, it's a different story. "Can I just say that I fell in love with Michael Badalucco?" says Jeffrey Tambor, who guest starred on last night's episode, "Liar's Poker." "What a great actor and what a great guy. I can't say enough about him."
Best known for his portrayal of needy, self-absorbed sidekick Hank on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show, Tambor plays Jimmy's (Badalucco) menacing sports bookie, who collects on a gambling debt by enlisting his legal services. "This is not Hank Kingsley," insists the actor. "This is Hank Kingsley's exact opposite. The character is very different from how I usually play. We all have a dark side... so you draw on it."
The dark side looks bright when you consider The Practice's track record of Emmy noms for guest-starring roles alone: That's 10 nominations since 1998, with five wins including one this year for actor Michael Emerson, who recurred as head-chopping serial killer William Hinks.
While this trend may bode well for Tambor a four-time Emmy nominee for Sanders he has other things on his mind this weekend: He's getting married this Saturday in New Orleans. "I'm so excited!" he says. "The woman I'm marrying, Kasia Ostlun, she's fabulous and we're real excited. We met in New York while I was filming Meet Joe Black. We both frequented the same jazz club and that was that."That chance meeting led to romance. But, as always, the public can be fickle (or confused) in its candid reactions to TV celebs. Laughs Tambor: "I get [Hank's catchphrase], 'Hey, now!' I get, 'Wow, thank you for all your work. You're just incredible.' And last week, a person came up to me in Starbucks and said, 'Oh, can I have your autograph? You are Dr. Phil [from Oprah], aren't you?' I [thought], 'My career has changed in a moment's notice.'"