It’s an “‘Ugly’ job, but somebody has to do it

Posted on 22 Feb 2007 at 7:08pm
By Arnold Wayne Jones – Staff Writer

Big D native Michael Urie made the rounds during Hollywood’s award season. But this week he’s coming home for the Column Awards



Plano-bred Michael Urie co-hosts the Column Awards.

In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take Michael Urie very long to go from aimless suburban-Dallas kid to a red carpet mainstay.

After leaving Plano Senior High in 1998, he enrolled in the theatre department at Collin County Community College where he played everything from a dog to Chekhov. Quad C honcho Brad Baker urged him to audition for Juilliard, where he was accepted.

Urie graduated from there in 2003, and within three years he has starred in an indie film (“WTC View,” which played at Out Takes Dallas) and landed a juicy role on the “Ugly Betty” pilot.

The success of that show such as Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, including a SAG nomination for him as part of the ensemble has meant that Urie has kept his tux cleaned and pressed for all the galas he’s been tapped to attend. And he brings it out again on Monday, when he’ll co-host the Column Awards with Column creator John Garcia.

Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Christian Campbell, George Wendt and Richard Thomas will also be in attendance, but Urie was willing to dish.

8th Annual Column Awards Gala, Courtyard Theatre, 1501 H Ave., Plano. Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. $25-$50. Thecolumnonline.com.

Could “Ugly Betty” possibly be gayer?
It definitely is the gayest show on TV: We have a kid who’s into musical theater; Mark, who is totally gay; and Daniel’s brother [played by Rebecca Romijn] who is a transsexual.

What’s it like being on a hit show?
It’s very exciting, and so rewarding to know you’re a part of something people are responding to. This business is full of bad work, and we all do it because we love to work. I don’t think everyone has the option to do good work sometimes things get screwed up. I’ve been in plays where I sat down to do a read-through and thought, “This is horrible.” But by the end, you think, “Wow, we’ve come so far.” It may still be horrible, but it’s better. I mean, you can’t polish a turd.

Did you know “Betty” would be a hit?
I read pilots with an edge because so many are the most crappy, formulaic pieces of junk. So I read “Ugly Betty” with one eye open and the other saying no already. But it was really good.

How have you dealt with all the attention?
We won the Golden Globes and thought we were invincible. Then we lost best ensemble at SAG and realized, “Oh, yes, we’re not the only show on television.” It’s like a party. We don’t have any tabloid gossip. No one is calling anyone “your little faggot” we’re all each other’s little faggot.

How were you recruited for the Column Awards?
I was a subscriber to The Column. So when I was in “WTC View,” I wanted to get some buzz going and sent John Garcia a quick e-mail. When “Ugly Betty” happened, he contacted me and we had a dialogue going. He’s a little bit obsessed with the show. Then John called Brad Baker and said, “Do you think he’s ever going to do this?” And I am such a ham, any chance to get in front of an audience I jump at.

Give us a preview of what you have planned.
There are entirely too many categories, so I’m gonna tell as many jokes as I can about that. I may sing a song. We’ll make lots of jokes about “Betty” I assume John will be my “Ugly Betty” for the night.

Compare the Column Awards to this weekend’s other awards show the Oscars.
I imagine the Oscars will be longer than the Column Awards and, um, more important. I think there are enough categories this year that everyone who goes will win. And my dress will probably be designed by John Garcia. The Oscars are intense, but I can’t wait to see what Ellen does.

What has award season been like for a first-timer?
I got to go to the Golden Globes, the SAGs, the People’s Choice Awards which is the worst awards show the costumers awards and the Image awards. I feel sorry for people like Will Smith, who gets nominated and doesn’t have a chance of winning, but he still has to go. Being nominated and knowing Helen Mirren is gonna beat you? It must be terrible.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 23, 2007

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