The cast of 'Will and Grace'

On the night of May 18, 2006, millions of devoted fans will be grieving—the curtain is coming down for the last time on Will & Grace. After eight successful years and 73 Emmy nominations, the cast is on Oprah for a final farewell.
The cast of 'Will and Grace'

Stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes agree that taping the show's final episode left them emotionally drained.

Debra: [The next day] I was so distraught and exhausted that I slept till 2:30 in the afternoon. I couldn't get out of bed.

Eric: Yeah, like that's weird that you slept till 2:30!

Sean: And [Debra and I] are spooning, so I get up about 20 minutes after that!

Oprah: So Megan, I heard that you knew it was going to be a bloodbath…

Megan: The term bloodbath had come to mind because I knew it was going to be a virtual bloodbath of emotion, and it exceeded my wildest expectations. It was very wrenching.

Debra: Literally, like, organs were being cried up.

Sean: We did the ugly cry.
Sean Hayes

After eight years of playing Jack, Sean says he's ready to say goodbye.

"When I got the show I was 26 years old—and [I'm] 28 now, which is weird—and so I hadn't had as much experience as my three fellow actors. So I was anxious to kind of scare myself again, and I'm enjoying that fear now—the fear of not knowing what's next."
Megan Mullally

Megan says she could have happily played the character of Karen, Grace's socialite assistant, forever. The trauma of leaving her dressing room for the last time almost sent her over the edge.

"I was dealing with the show wrapping pretty well, but I could not wrap my mind around having to give up my dressing room and I couldn't leave the room that night," she says. "After a certain point I thought, 'There's a fine line between having a hard time leaving and mental illness!' And I just went out the door."

"That's not the truth," Eric jokes. "The actual story is, very sad, three security people dragging her through the parking lot."
Debra Messing

Debra says she will miss the fun of playing Grace, a klutzy and at times graceless everywoman. "I'll miss her extremity, her physical demonstrativeness and how gross she was!" Debra says. "You know, just being able to do the things that in polite company one would not normally do."

For Debra, leaving Grace behind will be like losing a part of herself. "I was talking to someone who had been on a long-running show and they said something that really hit me," she says. "They said it felt like they lost their last name."
Eric McCormack

In real life, Eric is married to a woman, but for eight years he's played a gay character. Does he worry about being typecast?

"I think it crossed my mind. It always does, but now I've seen a lot more straight actors take on that challenge—television, film, whatever, Brokeback Mountain—and with a lot less fear. So I'm kind of proud."

Eric says playing a gay character allowed him more physical freedom than some other roles. "All of a sudden you're playing a gun-toting cop," he says, "and you really have to make sure that the pinkie's not up."

Leaving Will & Grace will mean leaving a whole way of life for Eric and the gang. "Sitcom life in general is a pretty good way to live. With our show, we worked about three hours a day," Eric says. "Now people are like, 'Oh, you must be happy to have a break.' I'm, like, 'No, now the hard work starts—the break is over!"
The cast of 'Will and Grace'

Oprah wants to know—what will the cast miss most about the past eight years?

Sean: The thing I'll miss is the learning process—every single day, even on a personal level, from my peers.

Eric: Because we're older, Sean?

Sean: Yeah, because I always learn from the elderly.

Megan: We had some extraordinary human beings who worked on our crew and staff and I learned a lot.

Debra: [I'll miss] the laughing—we laughed together every single day at work and that is such an extraordinary gift and a blessing.