Jeffrey Tambor is aware of just how lucky he is.
The star of Amazon’s Peabody Award-winning comedy, Transparent, has won the Emmy and Golden Globe for his trailblazing turn as Maura Pfefferman. During Transparent's Television Critics Association press tour session on Sunday, the 72-year-old veteran actor was reflective of the impact his character has had on himself and the world.
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“It’s no doubt changed my life,” Tambor told reporters. “You have to understand, my life is I get up and I come from my life and I go onto a set and I become Maura, and I’m very grateful. But at the end of the day, you would think I took off my costume as a performer but you never take off Maura. That’s the beauty of what they have created here.”
“Acting is personal and you act as if your life depends on it,” he added. “[Maura’s] made me a better person, a better parent, a better citizen.”
Alexandra Billings, a transgender actor who co-stars on Transparent as Davina, was equally complimentary of Tambor, prefacing her praise for the star by saying it’s something “Jeffrey will not say” himself out of modesty.
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“This thing that’s happening to him is not about putting anything on. It’s coming from the inside of him in a way that’s about revelation and [requires] a surrendering,” Billings said. “His representation of our community is very, very rare. This isn’t about an actor putting on a wig. This is about somebody that holds our community with great care, respect.”
“So I think it needs to be said that what Jeffrey does cannot be hung up in a closet, that he revealed part of himself that is so true and is affecting a part of society in such a way that’s changing the political climate when you talk about gender,” she added. “That’s not just a television show. It’s a movement of sorts and it’s adding to the revolution, and I think it deserves to be said not only about what he’s doing, but what all these artists up here are supporting in a way that’s truly remarkable and that I’ve never seen ever in my life before ever.”
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The new season of Transparent will follow Maura’s choice to undergo gender-reassignment surgery. When asked if season three will show Maura’s journey in great detail, Tambor hinted, “Stay tuned.”
Transparent returns Sept. 23 on Amazon.