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''Oscar winner Geena Davis''

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 27, 2005

For about the hundredth time today I heard one of those ''Commander in Chief'' promos referring to star Geena Davis's Academy Award. And for about the hundredth time I wondered if that should make any difference in your decision to watch the show.


After all, does Davis being billed as an ''Oscar winner'' mean she is a better actor than Donald Sutherland, who co-stars in the show but is merely an ''Emmy winner'' in the ads? I don't think so. Nor does her performance in ''The Accidental Tourist,'' which won her the Oscar for best supporting actress, mean that she's going to be convincing as president of the United States in ''Commander in Chief.''


After all, I'd rather watch her TV series ''Buffalo Bill,'' made before she could be called an ''Oscar winner,'' than ''The Geena Davis Show,'' a sitcom she made post-Oscar. And I'm not excited by what I've seen of ''Commander in Chief'' so far.


All this then got me thinking about Oscar winners and TV series, specifically people who won the Oscar and then did TV. (A lot of future Oscar winners got their starts on the small screen.)


Some of the people who fall in that category: Walter Brennan (who, by the way, won three supporting-actor Oscars in five years), Burl Ives, Anthony Quinn, Jack Albertson, Louis Gossett Jr., Timothy Hutton, Dianne Wiest, Cloris Leachman, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Wyman, Yul Brynner, Ernest Borgnine, Shirley Booth, James Stewart, Bing Crosby, Sally Field and Mary Steenburgen.


You can probably name some of their series. I doubt you can name them all, since there are some short runs in there. And that should tell you something about the value of an Oscar in a TV career.


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