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During the Emmy Awards last night, cameras kept panning to a woman dressed in a cowgirl shirt. Her name is Temple Grandin. But who is that, exactly?

The HBO biopic Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes in the title role, was critically acclaimed, nominated for seven awards Sunday and winning five.

But for many Emmy viewers, the movie’s high-profile wins were the first they’d heard of the extraordinary autistic woman named Temple Grandin.

Ellen Pompeo attends the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards
Photo via Getty Images

Claire Danes won an Emmy for portraying Temple Grandin.

Temple, who was diagnosed with autism in 1950 at the age of 2, stood up as she was thanked by those being celebrated for portraying her life story.

Despite so many setbacks, Grandin went on to earn multiple advanced degrees, including a doctorate in animal science from the University of Illinois.

She is considered one of the top advocates of both autism-spectrum understanding and animal welfare, and might be best-known for her invention of more humane slaughterhouse practices, for which she has been recognized by PETA.

The HBO movie, Temple Grandin, for which Danes prepared by listening to audiotapes of Grandin’s speaking engagements and by working with a choreographer to perfect Grandin’s mannerisms – tells the story of Grandin’s struggles.

In that era, autism was a mystery even to doctors.

Grandin is the author of several books and papers about autism and animal welfare, and has been featured in Time magazine, the New York Times, and an amazing mini-documentary by Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris.

In addition to her ongoing work as an advocate for autism, Temple Grandin is a professor at Colorado State University and a consultant to the livestock industry.

She’s led an amazing life against long odds and it’s terrific to see her story get the attention it deserves, complete with her personal appearance Sunday.