By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Television legend Norman Lear and veteran actor Alan Alda received special honors at the International Emmy Awards on Monday, while programming from South America dominated the competition, with Argentina and Brazil each winning two Emmys.
Lear, best known as creator of the ground-breaking 1970s hit comedy "All in the Family," which premiered during a time of social upheaval and tackled issues such as race and women's rights, said "the world will, and needs to, come together through the arts" as he accepted the honor.
The producer and writer received a special 40th anniversary Founders Award from the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, as did Alda, star of the long-running Korean-war set comedy, M*A*S*H* about doctors on the front lines.
Alda paid tribute to "the men and women in the hospital tents," referring to real-life medical personnel who struggle to treat war injured, who he noted usually go unmentioned at award shows.
"Glee" creator Ryan Murphy received the annual International Founders Award, which was presented by Oscar-winner Jessica Lange, a star of his current series "American Horror Story."
Argentina won both acting categories, with honors going to actress Cristina Banegas for the dramatic series "Television x La Inclusion," in which she plays the mother of an ailing child waging battle with health insurers; while Dario Grandinetti picked up the best actor award for his performance as a racist taxi driver in the same series.
It marked the first time both honors were won by actors from the same program.
Brazil scored wins for comedy series for "The Invisible Woman," while "The Illusionist" was named outstanding telenovela.
In bestowing its prizes, the Emmys, which honor television produced outside the United States, extended their reach after years of domination and even sweeps by the United Kingdom, which this year won two, for best TV movie or miniseries "Black Mirror" and best documentary "Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die."
France, Germany and Australia each won one Emmy.
France took the best drama series prize for "Braquo season 2," while Germany's "Song of War" won for outstanding arts programming. The Australian franchise of the adventure competition "The Amazing Race" won the award for non-scripted, or reality, television.
The International Emmy directorate award went to Korean Broadcasting System president and CEO Dr. Kim In-Kyu.
Presenters at the ceremony, hosted by recently retired talk show host Regis Philbin, also included Victor Garber, Donnie Wahlberg, Cheyenne Jackson, Telenovela actress Edith González, German TV personalities Joko and Klaas and Indian actress Prerna Wanvari.
(Editing by Chris Michaud and Todd Eastham)