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August 17, 2009

Where in the World is Emmy Magazine?

Simon Baker of CBS series 'The Mentalist' kicked off star autographs as acclaimed mag morphed into valuable collectors' item.

By Libby Slate

The first email went to Simon Baker’s publicist. For the upcoming online charity auction benefiting scholarship and other education programs of the Television Academy Foundation, could the star of CBS hit The Mentalist autograph his recent cover on Emmy Magazine? Baker could, and did.

That got the autograph ball rolling. From June through September, 2009's issue number 3 of Emmy—the official magazine of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences—traveled the country, with people featured in the magazine adding their autographs on the page where they appear.

Enjoy photo gallery here: Emmy collector's issue.

More than twenty hot celeb signatures were collected, plus Baker also signed one more cover as a separate auction offering. The auction ran August 24 through September 3, conducted by eBay and eBay Givingworks at

Most autographs were obtained in Southern California, via helpful publicists. In some cases, Foundation administrator Kate Leeds delivered the issue personally, and waited for the signature.

Among the participating stars: Christina Applegate, Simon Baker, Corbin Bernsen, Benjamin Bratt, Jennifer Carpenter, Diablo Cody, Jeffrey Donovan, Walton Goggins, Rachel Griffiths, Dennis Haysbert, Marg Helgenberger, January Jones, Jane Kaczmarek, Jimmy Kimmel, John Noble, Anna Paquin, Tyler Perry, Bill Paxton, Tim Roth, Jean Smart, and Sigourney Weaver.

The issue was overnighted to New York for Sigourney Weaver, Miami for Jeffrey Donovan and Atlanta for Tyler Perry, in each case signed and then returned to Academy headquarters in the Los Angeles area.

“It’s such a one-of-a-kind, high-profile item,” says Debbie Slavkin, program manager/development associate of the Foundation, which administers the Academy’s educational and archival programs.

The idea grew out of a conversation between Slavkin and Emmy editor-in-chief Juan Morales. “We were talking about the online auction, and how cool it would be if everybody could sign the issue,” Slavkin notes. “It all fell into place.”

Still, there were the obvious questions of logistics: “Can we really do it? Move it around the country? It started out as a challenge, and ended up a unique asset.”

Participating was also “cool.” Says Walton Goggins of The Shield, who was profiled in the issue as one of the season’s notable talents, “Being featured in Emmy magazine in that way with those actors was, well, thrilling, to say the least."

"When I discovered what the Academy was attempting to do with this edition, I immediately asked to be included," Goggins shared. "What better way to ensure and cement significant contributions to the art of television storytelling going forward? I just wish I had my own signed copy!”

The auction, the second annual Emmy-season endeavor and the Foundation’s third overall, drew some other notable offerings, among them an autographed flame-decorated cane used by House star Hugh Laurie; autographed Grey’s Anatomy items donated by Emmy nominee Chandra Wilson; set visits to Melrose Place, Medium, Monk and The Young and the Restless; a table read of Family Guy; and a Primetime Emmy Awards ticket package, including tickets to the show and HBO’s exclusive After Party.

Other items include bleacher seating for the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards red carpet arrivals; Trophy Girl dresses from the 60th Primetime Emmys, designed by Lauren Conrad and Christian Siriano; autographed posters from Academy “Evening With” events, among them The Office, and VIP parking/seating packages for the 2010 Rose Parade.

Foundation executive director Terri Clark said her team is "thrilled with the variety of high-profile items (they were) been able to secure."

"The support from the networks, shows and individuals who donated set visits, props and autographed memorabilia to help make the Foundation’s online auction a success is absolutely wonderful.”

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