‘Mannix’ star Gayle Fisher made Emmy history in 1970 – The Hollywood Reporter
Why Gail Fisher isn’t more widely celebrated in the annals of Hollywood history is a mystery even Joe Mannix couldn’t solve. Fisher was only the second black actress to appear in a leading role on weekly television, following Nichelle Nichols of star trek. And she was the first to win an Emmy, and not a but of them Golden Globe Awards.
The New Jersey native began studying acting with Lee Strasberg in New York, before becoming a member of the Repertory Theater at Lincoln Center. In the 1960s, she became the first black actress “to do a national television commercial, on camera, with lines,” as she once explained, when she was cast in an All Detergents campaign. . But his big break came during the second season of the CBS series. Mannixwhen the star detective (Mike Connors) starts his own IP company and hires Fisher’s character, Peggy Fair, to be his Girl Friday.
The struggling show became a success thanks to their chemistry. When she accepted her 1970 Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – the first time that award had been presented – in a silver and white tasseled jumpsuit, a genuinely shocked and elated Fisher exclaimed, “ wow! … Needless to say, this is a very exciting and emotional moment for me.
After MannixIn 1975, Fisher made sporadic television appearances but struggled with addiction. She died of kidney failure in Los Angeles in 2000. She was 65 years old.
This story first appeared in a standalone June issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, Click here to subscribe.