Aniston cries, 'Will & Grace' cast jokes on James Burrows special

Story highlights

  • Jennifer Aniston: "We would do anything for Jim Burrows"
  • Burrows has directed 1,000 episodes of TV, including "Friends"

(CNN)Jennifer Aniston teared up. The "Will & Grace" cast cracked jokes. And everybody praised James Burrows, the man who made it possible.

NBC's "Must See TV: An All-Star Tribute to James Burrows," which aired Sunday, was full of emotional moments -- usually of laughter but sometimes of tears.
"Friends" star Aniston was shown drying her eyes as Burrows gave a speech about his career. No wonder, as she was one of the most effusive about the director and producer, who has helmed 1,000 episodes of television, including broadcasts of "Friends," "Frasier," "Cheers," "Taxi" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
    "We would do anything for Jim Burrows, because he really gave us the opportunity of a lifetime," she said during a cast chat.
    James Burrows has directed some of the most famed shows in TV history.
    Aniston also said she originally was supposed to be Monica, and co-star Courteney Cox was supposed to be Rachel.
    "I think we both just thought the other was better for the other part," she said.
    "Will & Grace's" Eric McCormack talked about a scene that went very well, in which he and Debra Messing's Grace had a serious argument about having a baby.
    "At the end of it, there was a hush over the crowd, and I heard Jimmy say from the darkness, 'Beautiful. Cut,' " McCormick said, mimicking Burrows' earthy accent.
    Ted Danson, Sam from "Cheers," agreed that there was nothing more valuable than Burrows' approval.
    "When Jimmy laughed during rehearsal, you knew it was funny," he said. "He was infallable."
    Burrows gave the credit back to the writers and performers -- and the audience.
    "Thanks for laughing, embracing and loving the characters for all of those years," he said in his speech. "And still on occasion, when somebody walks into a bar, hollering, 'NORM!' "