The 'Gilmore Girls' Connection That Goes Way Back

by Emily Lackey

Here’s a little something that Gilmore Girls fans will love: If you thought that the first time Kelly Bishop and Edward Herrmann ever starred together on the same stage or screen was in the first episode of Gilmore Girls, you would mistaken. It turns out that these two Gilmore regulars were connected by something other than just Friday night dinners. Long before they were Emily and Richard Gilmore, the parents of Lorelai and the grandparents of Rory, these two Hartford socialites, Emily and Richard Gilmore, were actually connected by something else entirely.

It turns out that these two New York natives and Broadway regulars also won their first Tony Awards in the same year. In 1976, Kelly Bishop and Edward Herrmann won Tony Awards for their lead performances on the Broadway stage. For Bishop, the award came after an astounding performance as Sheila in A Chorus Line. Bishop won the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Feature Role in a Musical in a musical that year, the same year Herrmann won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play. For his part, Herrmann won his role in Mrs. Warren’s Profession, a play written by George Bernard Shaw.

It was 24 years before these two Broadway big wigs would come together as Richard and Emily Gilmore in the very first episode of Gilmore Girls, but this moment in 1976 was definitely the first that their lives collided. Even though the two were fast friends on the set of Gilmore Girls — in a TVLine interview, Bishop said that she and Herrmann “connected very well” and had a number of “routines” together during filming — it seems as though they were destined to appear together in more ways than one on this fated night in New York City.

Check out their acceptance speeches in the video below:

During the award ceremony at the Shubert Theatre, there was no way for these two actors to know that they would go on to play one of the most iconic couples in television history. But they would. And this moment — this moment when they were both celebrating their amazing talent and success — was just the start of their amazing work together.