A two-hour virtual reunion of the cast of "ER" featured plenty of laughter and some tears on Thursday night, particularly when they looked back on a poignant scene with the aunt of one of the show's biggest stars.
George Clooney's aunt, late singer Rosemary Clooney, had a memorable guest-starring appearance on the hit NBC show, which racked up 22 Emmy Awards in its run from 1994-2009 and drew an audience of more than 40 million viewers at its peak.
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Rosemary Clooney, who died at 74 in 2002 from lung cancer, received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her guest role in a 1995 episode in which she played an Alzheimer's patient who can only communicate through singing.
A clip of her singing as she's comforted by Noah Wyle's character, Dr. John Carter, was shown during the virtual reunion and left the cast members visibly emotional.
"Oh my God, I have to get a tissue," said Julianna Margulies, who played nurse Carol Hathaway.
"That was intense," said Gloria Reuben, who played physician assistant Jeanie Boulet.
Clooney also became emotional as he watched his late aunt.
"I miss her," he said. "She was the fun one in my family."
Wyle reminisced about his time working with her on the show.
"I had the great benefit getting sort of all the older patients, so I got Sanford Meisner, I got Red Buttons and I got Eli Wallach and I got Mickey Rooney, so I had an unbelievable embarrassment of riches with the people I got to work with," Wyle said. "But Rosemary was one of the earliest sort of heavy hitter guest stars that we had on the show, and I thought she was just amazing.
"It's very hard to play less intelligent than you are or more confused than you are, and she had a really interesting quality. And then when she began to sing, the expectation is that she would fall into her old sort of performance rhythm, but she didn't, she found a sort of vocal quality that seemed much more pedestrian and less polished than a professional would be, which made it all the more heartbreaking."
"Noah was the nephew she always wanted," Clooney joked.
Surprisingly, her famous nephew was not the one who landed her the role on the show.
"I had nothing to do with it," Clooney said. "(Executive producer) John Wells called me up one day and said, 'I got a part for your aunt,' and I was like, 'Oh, OK,' and then they called her up and asked her to do it.
"I wish I could take credit for it, but I had nothing to do with it."
The two-hour chat for the YouTube series "Stars in the House," which benefits The Actors Fund, also included Clooney sharing that his wife Amal is now watching "ER" reruns and not happy about some of the bad behavior of his character.
The cast also shared that Steven Spielberg once gifted them cell phones instead of cars for Christmas, "the gift that keeps on taking," Clooney joked.
They also talked about the possibility of a reboot of the show, which looks like a long shot.
"I don't know," Clooney said. "The hardest part is that when you look at the show and consistently over so many years — it would be hard to say that you could do it at the level that we did it. I'm not sure that that's available."
"You can't capture lightning in a bottle twice," Margulies said. "I think you have to leave what was so beautiful and move on, because it just feels cheap…It would cheapen it for me."