LOS ANGELES: For the cast and crew of "Desperate Housewives," it was a Saturday afternoon of warm hellos and bittersweet goodbyes, as they greeted an auditorium filled with cheering fans but also bid adieu to one of the show's leading original cast members.
Nicollette Sheridan, who plays Wisteria Lane's saucy "Edie," makes her final appearance as a series regular on the episode airing Sunday.
Co-star Teri Hatcher, whose sweet "Susan" was often at odds with Edie, got misty-eyed when recalling the filming of Sheridan's final episode.
"I made a scrapbook as my sort of parting gift, and it reminded me of how great those two characters were together," she said.
Excepting Sheridan, most of the "Housewives" principals participated in a panel discussion on the show as part of the two-week PaleyFest, an annual festival celebrating television held by The Paley Center for Media.
Sheridan's relationship with "Housewives" creator Marc Cherry has been described by some as contentious. Sheridan was recently quoted in "TV Guide" as saying she felt "Housewives"' writers were unjustly ignoring Edie.
But cast mates Saturday said Sheridan's last days on the set were amiable and professional.
"Her attitude made them completely bearable," noted actor James Denton, whose plumber "Mike" was the longtime object of Edie's affections. "It could have been tough and sad, but she was so great.
Denton noted that Sheridan made a point to thank the show's writers and cast, who were gathered at the table-read of the script for the first episode that she will not be in.
"She said, 'While you're all together, I'm here to say thank you for everything. You guys are great. You guys are awesome,"' Denton related. "She walked out of the room and Felicity (Huffman) looked at me and said, 'classy,' and it sure was." Veteran character actor Kathryn Joosten, a two-time Emmy winner for her portrayal of nosey neighbor "Mrs. McCluskey," said she would miss Sheridan.
"She was my playmate. We got to throw barbs at each other," Joosten said. "I won't have anybody to fight with." Brenda Strong (narrator "Mary Alice") said she would miss Sheridan for personal reasons.
"There's a huge space in my heart for Nicollette, because she absolutely adores my son, and is so generous with him. I'm honored to have her in my life," Strong said.
Actor Neal McDonough (villain "Dave Williams") said that he would miss Sheridan probably more than anyone, although he's only been on the show for one season.
"Nic was like my sister," he said. "She was so close to my wife and my kids, and we had so many scenes together this year. That last scene we did was really tough, really emotional." Hatcher said she thought that Sheridan seemed ready to leave to show.
"I think that character will be missed on the show, and I don't believe that character is replaceable," Hatcher said. "But I do believe there are some kind of arenas, like a neighborhood, where, as great as they are, people can come and go, and there can be something new and exciting that you didn't expect."