By MIKE CIDONI LENNOX
LOS ANGELES — Loretta Devine would love to win a second Emmy for her guest performance as Adele, the long-suffering wife of surgery chief Richard Webber on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
But the actress, who won last year for the same role, isn’t quite sure how her first statuette would feel getting about a sister.
“Well, my Emmy is sleeping with five NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Image Award) boys,” Devine joked, breaking into big laughter. “So, she’s having a good time. She may be mad if somebody else enters the room.”
Devine’s laugh is building-filling huge, which likely came in handy this season on the “Grey’s” set when, after a long, slow decline, her character realized she had Alzheimer’s disease and needed to be placed into a full-time care facility.
“That particular scene, it was just wrenching for me,” said Devine. “Sometimes when I watch it, I get so sad myself. And I know I’m acting it out, you know?”
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Devine said audiences have connected with Adele and Richard’s plight.
“It does have a major impact on people that actually have parents at home, that they’re having to care for,” she explained. “I always feel like I’ve been hit on the head many too many times. I got hit on the head a lot on `Dreamgirls.’ I’m real scared that I’m not remembering as much as I should.”
There’s a lot to remember. Devine came to fame in the original Broadway cast of the Supremes-inspired musical “Dreamgirls” in 1981. Since then, she hasn’t stopped working for long, in films including “Waiting to Exhale” (1995) and “Jumping the Broom” (2011). Recent TV series gigs include playing the massage-parlor madam on Lifetime’s “The Client List” and voicing Hallie the Hippo of Disney Junior’s popular “Doc McStuffins.”
“It teaches not be afraid to go to the doctor. It’s cute and it has songs,” Devine says, then breaks into the series oft-repeated chorus: “`Time for your checkup. Time for your checkup. Woo! Woo! Time for your checkup.’”
Devine’s pipes are still intact. Thirty-two years after “Dreamgirls,” perhaps a Tony is in her sights?
“That would be a dream, because you know my history with Tonys and `Dreamgirls,’ and I was the only one that wasn’t nominated,” she said. “My heart beats every time anybody says, `Tony.’”
For now, however, it’s all about Emmy No. 2. She’ll get the news Saturday night at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, which honors primarily technical artists. And, if Devine, 63, wins again, she’ll also appear at the primetime ceremony a week later.
“I can’t even explain to anyone how it even feels to be on the red carpet because you were invited, instead of just crashing,” she said, laughing again. “Just walking in there, like I’m supposed to be there. That’s really nice.”
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