Kim Delaney’s National Constitution Center Speech Debacle (UPDATED)

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The feisty Philadelphia Daily News, which bills itself as “The People’s Paper” has as its headline a story that’s creating quite a buzz in the old and new news and celebrity gossip media. “MELTDOWN WHAT HAPPENED WITH KIM DELANEY?” the tabloid’s front page screams with the headline letters against a photo of the “Army Wives” star at a microphone. It’s story:

In retrospect, Roxborough native Kim Delaney probably wishes her shaky Thursday night appearance at the National Constitution Center was, as she’d like to say, “all make-believe.”

No such luck.

It was as real as the series finale to the ABC soap opera “All My Children,” the show that gave the 51-year-old actress her big break.

Delaney’s brief speech at the Liberty Medal Ceremony, which honored former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, became a much-buzzed-about video clip yesterday.

Confusion, long pauses and tight smiles dotted Delaney’s speech as she spoke in front of Gates, Gov. Corbett and Lisa Nutter, the mayor’s wife. The video ends with a production worker escorting the actress off the stage.

The silent audience grew uncomfortable as Delaney spoke and many seemed to feel sorry for her.

The video was linked on celebrity gossip blogs and news sites, prompting the bloggerati and office workers alike to ponder “What’s the deal with Kim Delaney?”

TMZ.com, PerezHilton.com, the Drudge Report and others used the video to revisit her 2002 DUI arrest in Malibu, as well as her subsequent rehab stints for substance abuse. Wink, wink.

But on closer inspection, there appeared to be more to Delaney’s appearance. The national media failed to highlight what appeared to be some teleprompter and production issues that contributed to the confusion.

Delany’s name has long been ranked in gossip and other stories with substance abuse, although there is no confirmation of it in stories about this as of yet. I was a huge fan of hers when she appeared on NYPD Blue.

Here’s the You Tube. Watch it, judge for yourself and leave your comment below:
YouTube Preview Image

UPDATE: More reaction:

CNN:

Those who were there reportedly noted that it appeared her teleprompter wasn’t working. After some long, awkward pauses and fumbled delivery, Delaney tried talking about her Lifetime show.

“Yes, we have members of…military, on ‘Army Wives,’ and we do our best to tell their stories,” she said. But she apparently paused too long as she began her next sentence, because a video abruptly began to play and CBS 3 reports that she was escorted offstage.

The station adds that calls to the Constitution Center, the production company for the ceremony and Delaney’s rep haven’t been returned.

Los Angreles Times Ministry of Gossip blog:

Delaney showed up at the National Constitution Center to honor former Defense secretary Robert Gates. In a gold mini dress (with a super-classy shoulder tattoo), the actress read what seemed to be some military background of her television character from a prompter.

Not that Delaney, or any of us, can know for sure — she barreled through the sentences she could manage to get out…..

A clip of the train wreck shows a panel beside the “NYPD Blue” alum looking very uncomfortable, but they didn’t have to suffer long. Delaney — who was born and raised in Philly — was soon escorted off stage by a producer.

Contra Costa Times:

The 49-year-old actress, described as looking “disheveled” when she took the stage, slurred her words, made strange gestures and misspoke about her own experience in the armed services.

The event was honoring former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

During her speech, reports said, Delaney rambled on the podium about “having served in active military duty family for five years.”

“I’ve seen soldiers come home with painful life-altering injuries borne of their time and service,” she added, slurring. “I’ve attended numerous military funerals, including that of my best friend’s son.” She later clarified that these events were not real but were scenes from her Lifetime series “Army Wives.”

Reports said the audience grew more uncomfortable as the speech went on, and grew more disoriented, until someone interrupted the speech and led Delaney offstage.

In 2002, Delaney was arrested for DUI in Malibu, and the following year sought treatment for alcohol abuse. She has not commented on the incident.