'Mad Men's' Blankenship: Dying To Go To The Emmys

Play associated audio

AMC's Mad Men is one of the big favorites at Sunday night's Emmy Awards — and this past season's most memorable character may have been Don Draper's new secretary, Miss Ida Blankenship.

Played by Randee Heller, Miss Blankenship was a departure from the attractive, attentive young girls that usually wait on Draper. She stole every scene she was in, even in death. Her passing was both shocking and comical and became one of the most talked-about moments of the TV season.

The role earned Heller, 64, her first Emmy nomination — as outstanding guest actress in a drama series. Heller didn't win; the Emmy went to Loretta Devine of Grey's Anatomy. But the experience has been "magic," Heller tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

Mad Men is set in 1960s New York and revolves around the advertising firm of Sterling Cooper (which evolved into Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce). Back in the '60s, Heller herself worked at a Madison Avenue firm, so she knows firsthand the difficulties that women faced in the workplace then.

"They just treated you like dirt. And women were second-class citizens, you know, 'Get my coffee,'...and everything has just changed so dramatically in the last 50 years," Heller says.

The role of Miss Blankenship and that memorable death scene has re-launched Heller's career. A few years ago, she was taking bit parts just to hold on to her health insurance and on Sunday night, at the age of 64, she'll make her first-ever trip to the Emmys.

Here's how she puts it: "I consider myself like Cinder-elder."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Not My Job: We Ask The Choreographer Of 'The Lion King' About Lying Kings

We recorded the show in Rochester, N.Y., this week, which is home to the Garth Fagan Dance company. We'll ask acclaimed choreographer Garth Fagan three questions about really deceitful people.

Migrants Work To Hold Onto Latin Food History In Gentrifying D.C. Neighborhood

A restaurant in Washington D.C. that has long been a haven for Central American immigrants is adapting to gentrification in the neighborhood.

Bitter And Contested Elections In America's History

Presidential historian at Vanderbilt University Thomas Schwartz discusses the history of peaceful transfers of political power in American presidential elections, going back more than 200 years.

AT&T To Buy Time Warner For $85 Billion

It emerged Saturday that AT&T is set to buy Time Warner for about $85 billion. If approved by federal regulators, the merger would create a mammoth media and telecommunications company.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.