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March 15, 1996
Source: Detroit News wire services

Azaria likes the exposure he's getting

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- One minute Hank Azaria was in a struggling Fox TV sitcom, the next in the critically acclaimed Quiz Show. Now, it's hard to describe what he's in -- almost nothing.

But that's a good thing.

In tight, skimpy shorts and with an accent that would make Meryl Streep proud, Azaria plays the scene-stealing Guatemalan houseboy in The Birdcage, No. 1 at the box office last weekend.

"I was happy with the shorts," says Azaria, 31, especially after seeing some outfits originally considered. "Some made the shorts look like long pants and a winter coat."

But he still has a scene with stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane where he is clad only in a tush-revealing thong. "I was a little shy that day."

Azaria went after the role in Quiz Show between seasons of TV's Herman's Head. He was shocked when he got the part, but it's been smooth sailing since: "Quiz Show really stamped my passport."

There was a bump in the road. This season, his TV comedy series with Elizabeth McGovern, If Not For You, was among the first canceled. Girlfriend Helen Hunt has found more TV success, with the sitcom Mad About You.

Azaria's next movie is Grosse Pointe Blank with John Cusack.