It was a bittersweet night for Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
The 55-year-old actress took home her fifth straight Emmy for playing Selina Meyer on HBO’s Veep on Sunday, but it was a personal loss days before the Emmys that made her break down in tears onstage.
“I want to thank the Academy. I’d like to thank HBO, Casey Bloys, Mike Lombardo and Richard Plepper, whose friendship has been demonstrated to me in extraordinary ways, particularly this week,” Louis-Dreyfus began her speech, voice cracking, as she continued to thank Veep showrunner Dave Mandel and others while also apologizing for the crew’s long hours.
“While I’m apologizing, I’d also like to take the opportunity to apologize for the current political climate,” she said, before giving a knowing look as the audience chuckled and applauded. “I think Veep has torn down the wall between comedy and politics.”
It wasn’t until the end of her speech that Louis-Dreyfus, who has now won eight Emmys, broke down in tears, revealing that her father, successful businessman and art collector William Louis-Dreyfus, died on Friday. According to USA Today, he was 84.
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“Lastly, I’d like to dedicate this to my father, William Louis-Dreyfus, who passed away on Friday,” Louis-Dreyfus said, trying to keep her composure as her hands began to shake. “I’m so glad that he liked Veep because his opinion was the one that really mattered. Thank you.”
Veep was lauded for taking a surprisingly serious turn as Selina grappled with the death of her mother amidst also losing the presidency. ET spoke to director Dale Stern about filming the episode, "Mother," which was included in Louis-Dreyfus’ Emmy submission.
“I could tell she was just going to deliver the goods that day,” Stern said. "I fought with my DP to get the camera really close to her, inches away from her face … The range that she possesses is just mind-boggling, from trying to find these words and then she breaks into hysterical laughing."
According to a Legacy.com page, funeral arrangements for Louis-Dreyfus’ father are being arranged by Cassidy-Lynn Funeral Home in Mount Kisco, Kentucky.
In 2014, Louis-Dreyfus spoke to ET about the documentary, Generosity of Eye, which centered on her father and his decision to sell his art collection and put the proceeds into a trust as an endowment for Harlem’s Children Zone, a nonprofit organization aiming to improve the lives of inner-city kids and families in Harlem.
“We peeled back this extraordinary act of generosity,” Louis-Dreyfus said at the time, before sharing the traits she hopes she shares with her dad. “I hope that I share the two passions that [my father] has. One for art -- he has a great passion for art -- and he has a great passion for justice, social justice. And I believe that I share that with him, which is why I’m so happy to celebrate this gift today.”
Watch Louis-Dreyfus talk about her father in an interview with ET below.