Oscar winner Susan Sarandon ("Dead Man Walking") is guesting on tonight's much-anticipated episode of "ER" alongside another Oscar winner — returning original cast member George Clooney. While the plotline that brings these two together remains a mystery, the preview hints at Sarandon playing a mother in distress.
The last time an Oscar-winning actress guested on "ER" in that type of role was when Sally Field appeared as the bipolar mother of cast regular Maura Tierney beginning in the 2000-2001 season of this long-running medical drama. The two-time lead actress Oscar winner ("Norma Rae," "Places in the Heart") won the guest actress Emmy in 2001 and contended again in this category in 2003. Field is the only one of the seven guest actresses nominated to win. The others were: Rosemary Clooney and Colleen Flynn (1995); Penny Fuller (1996); Veronica Cartwright (1997); Swoosie Kurtz (1998); and Mary McDonnell (2002).
While 13 men have earned Emmy nods for their guest appearances, only one was lucky enough to win — Ray Liotta for his stunning 2005 portrayal of the last hours of the life of an alcoholic. The others were: Vondie Curtis-Hall and Alan Rosenberg (1995); Ewan McGregor and William H. Macy (1997); Alan Alda (2000); James Cromwell (2001); Don Cheadle (2003); Bob Newhart (2004); Red Buttons, a supporting Oscar winner for "Sayonara" (2005 ); James Woods (2006); Forest Whitaker, a lead Oscar winner for "The Last King of Scotland" (2007); and Stanley Tucci (2008).
Susan Sarandon, who got her start in '70s TV shows, has never shied away from returning to the tube if the part is a good one. She picked up her first Emmy nod in 2001 for guesting on the red-hot "Friends" as an over-the-top soap star (she lost to Jean Smart who won her second of two Emmys for her appearances on "Frasier") and her second the following year for a guest spot on "Malcolm in the Middle" (all-time Emmy champ Cloris Leachman won for her own star turn on "Malcolm"). Last fall, Sarandon lost the lead actress in a movie or mini race to "John Adams" leading lady Laura Linney.