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Date published: 7/16/2012
LOS ANGELES TIMES
When "Will & Grace" premiered on NBC in 1998, there was skepticism that a sitcom about a gay man and his female best friend could speak to the heartland. But it went on to be a huge hit for much of its eight-seasons, winning 16 Emmys.
It launched the careers of several actors besides Eric McCormack.
Sean Hayes: As Will's unemployed actor friend Jack McFarland, Hayes brought high camp to prime time--and won an Emmy. Since "Will & Grace," Hayes had parts in movies--most recently playing Larry in the Farrelly brothers' 2012 "The Three Stooges"--and onstage. His Broadway debut with Kristin Chenoweth in "Promises Promises" earned him a Tony nomination, and he hosted in 2010. He's executive produced NBC's "Grimm" and TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland."
Debra Messing: Neurotic but lovable Grace Adler made Messing a star. She appeared in movies and TV shows post-"Will & Grace," most notably "The Starter Wife," a 2007 USA miniseries that nabbed an Emmy nomination and was spun off into a full series. Last year, she returned to NBC prime time as the star of "Smash," playing a brilliant, adulterous Broadway lyricist--and best friend to a gay composer partner-in-crime (Christian Borle).
Megan Mullally: By the time she won the role of pill-popping, sharp-tongued socialite Karen Walker on "Will & Grace," Mullally had appeared in dozens of TV series and '90s Broadway revivals. After "Will & Grace" (which won her two Emmys), she hosted a syndicated talk show, did theater and became a TV guest star with running stints on Starz's critically lauded "Party Down," Adult Swim's "Childrens Hospital," Fox's "Breaking In" and NBC's "Parks & Recreation" (playing the ex-wife of real-life husband Ron Offerman).
Harry Connick Jr.: Jazz singer-bandleader Connick Jr. was already acting when he got the role of Grace's boyfriend (later husband), Dr. Leo Markus, which he played for four years. He continued to thrive in music, movies, stage and TV, starring in films such as "Bug" and "New in Town," returning to Broadway in the 2011 revival of "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" and playing a romantic foil in "Law & Order: SVU."