Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

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Not to be confused with the Daytime Emmy Award with the same name.
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Awarded for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Country United States
Presented by Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
Currently held by Jon Hamm,
Mad Men (2015)
Official website http://www.emmys.com/

This is a list of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series winners. Beginning with the 18th Emmys leading actors in drama have competed alone. However, these dramatic performances included actors from miniseries, telefilms, and guest performers competing against main cast competitors. Such instances are marked below.

Award winners and nominations[edit]

1950s[edit]

Year Actor Program Role Network
1953
(6th)
[note 1]
Donald O'Connor The Colgate Comedy Hour Himself NBC
Sid Caesar Your Show of Shows Various Characters NBC
Wally Cox Mister Peepers Robinson Peepers
Jackie Gleason The Jackie Gleason Show Ralph Kramden CBS
Jack Webb Dragnet Sgt. Joe Friday NBC
1954
(7th)
[note 1]
Danny Thomas Make Room for Daddy Danny Williams ABC
Richard Boone Medic Dr. Konrad Styner NBC
Robert Cummings My Hero Robert Beanblossom
Jackie Gleason The Jackie Gleason Show Ralph Kramden CBS
Jack Webb Dragnet Sgt. Joe Friday NBC
1955
(8th)
[note 1]
Phil Silvers The Phil Silvers Show MSgt. Ernest G. Bilko CBS
Robert Cummings The Bob Cummings Show Bob Collins CBS
Jackie Gleason The Jackie Gleason Show Ralph Kramden
Danny Thomas Make Room for Daddy Danny Williams ABC
Robert Young Father Knows Best Jim Anderson CBS
1956
(9th)
Robert Young Father Knows Best Jim Anderson CBS
James Arness Gunsmoke Marshal Matt Dillon CBS
Charles Boyer Four Star Playhouse Various Characters
David Niven
Hugh O'Brian The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp Wyatt Earp ABC
1957
(10th)
[note 1]
Robert Young Father Knows Best Jim Anderson NBC
James Arness Gunsmoke Marshal Matt Dillon CBS
Robert Cummings The Bob Cummings Show Bob Collins CBS / NBC
Phil Silvers The Phil Silvers Show MSgt. Ernest G. Bilko CBS
Danny Thomas The Danny Thomas Show Danny Williams ABC / CBS
19581959
(11th)
Raymond Burr Perry Mason Perry Mason CBS
James Arness Gunsmoke Marshal Matt Dillon CBS
Richard Boone Have Gun – Will Travel Paladin
James Garner Maverick Bret Maverick ABC
Craig Stevens Peter Gunn Peter Gunn NBC
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. 77 Sunset Strip Stuart Bailey ABC

1960s[edit]

Year Actor Program Role Network
19591960
(12th)
[note 1]
Robert Stack The Untouchables Eliot Ness ABC
Raymond Burr Perry Mason Perry Mason CBS
Richard Boone Have Gun – Will Travel Paladin
19601961
(13th)
[note 1]
Raymond Burr Perry Mason Perry Mason CBS
Jackie Cooper Hennesey Chick Hennesey CBS
Robert Stack The Untouchables Eliot Ness
19611962
(14th)
[note 1]
E. G. Marshall The Defenders Lawrence Preston CBS
Vincent Edwards Ben Casey Ben Casey ABC
Jackie Cooper Hennesey Chick Hennesey CBS
Paul Burke Naked City Adam Flint ABC
George Maharis Route 66 Buz Murdock CBS
19621963
(15th)
[note 1]
E. G. Marshall The Defenders Lawrence Preston CBS
Vic Morrow Combat! Sgt. Sanders ABC
Dick Van Dyke The Dick Van Dyke Show Rob Petrie CBS
Ernest Borgnine McHale's Navy Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale
Paul Burke Naked City Det. Adam Flint ABC
19631964
(16th)
[note 1]
Dick Van Dyke The Dick Van Dyke Show Rob Petrie CBS
Richard Boone The Richard Boone Show Various Characters NBC
Dean Jagger Mr. Novak Principal Albert Vane
David Janssen The Fugitive Dr. Richard Kimble ABC
George C. Scott East Side/West Side Neil Brock CBS
19641965
(17th)
No Award
19651966
(18th)
Bill Cosby I Spy Alexander Scott NBC
David Janssen The Fugitive Dr. Richard Kimble ABC
Robert Culp I Spy Kelly Robinson NBC
David McCallum The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Illya Kuryakin
Richard Crenna Slattery's People James Slattery CBS
19661967
(19th)
Bill Cosby I Spy Alexander Scott NBC
David Janssen The Fugitive Dr. Richard Kimble ABC
Robert Culp I Spy Kelly Robinson NBC
Martin Landau Mission: Impossible Rollin Hand CBS
Ben Gazzara Run for Your Life Paul Bryan NBC
19671968
(20th)
Bill Cosby I Spy Alexander Scott NBC
Robert Culp I Spy Kelly Robinson NBC
Raymond Burr Ironside Robert T. Ironside
Martin Landau Mission: Impossible Rollin Hand CBS
Ben Gazzara Run for Your Life Paul Bryan NBC
19681969
(21st)
Carl Betz Judd, for the Defense Clinton Judd ABC
Raymond Burr Ironside Robert T. Ironside NBC
Peter Graves Mission: Impossible Jim Phelps CBS
Martin Landau Rollin Hand
Ross Martin The Wild Wild West Artemus Gordon

1970s[edit]

Year Actor Program Role Network
19691970
(22nd)
Robert Young Marcus Welby, M.D. Dr. Marcus Welby ABC
Raymond Burr Ironside Robert T. Ironside NBC
Robert Wagner It Takes a Thief Al Mundy ABC
Mike Connors Mannix Joe Mannix CBS
19701971
(23rd)
Hal Holbrook The Bold Ones: The Senator Hays Stowe NBC
Raymond Burr Ironside Robert T. Ironside NBC
Mike Connors Mannix Joe Mannix CBS
Robert Young Marcus Welby, M.D. Dr. Marcus Welby ABC
19711972
(24th)
Peter Falk Columbo Columbo NBC
Raymond Burr Ironside Robert T. Ironside NBC
Mike Connors Mannix Joe Mannix CBS
Robert Young Marcus Welby, M.D. Dr. Marcus Welby ABC
Keith Michell # The Six Wives of Henry VIII Henry VIII of England CBS
19721973
(25th)
Richard Thomas The Waltons John-Boy Walton CBS
William Conrad Cannon Frank Cannon CBS
David Carradine Kung Fu Kwai Chang Caine ABC
Mike Connors Mannix Joe Mannix CBS
Peter Falk Columbo Columbo NBC
19731974
(26th)
Telly Savalas Kojak Lt. Theo Kojak CBS
William Conrad Cannon Frank Cannon CBS
Karl Malden The Streets of San Francisco Lt. Mike Stone ABC
Richard Thomas The Waltons John-Boy Walton CBS
19741975
(27th)
Robert Blake Baretta Det. Tony Baretta ABC
Telly Savalas Kojak Theo Kojak CBS
Barry Newman Petrocelli Anthony J. Petrocelli NBC
Karl Malden The Streets of San Francisco Lt. Mike Stone ABC
19751976
(28th)
Peter Falk Columbo Columbo NBC
James Garner The Rockford Files Jim Rockford NBC
Karl Malden The Streets of San Francisco Lt. Mike Stone ABC
19761977
(29th)
James Garner The Rockford Files Jim Rockford NBC
Robert Blake Baretta Det. Tony Baretta ABC
Peter Falk Columbo Columbo NBC
Jack Klugman Quincy, M.E. Dr. R. Quincy, M.E.
Karl Malden The Streets of San Francisco Lt. Mike Stone ABC
19771978
(30th)
Ed Asner Lou Grant Lou Grant CBS
James Broderick Family Doug Lawrence ABC
Peter Falk Columbo Columbo NBC
Jack Klugman Quincy, M.E. Dr. R. Quincy, M.E.
James Garner The Rockford Files Jim Rockford
Ralph Waite The Waltons John Walton, Sr. CBS
19781979
(31st)
Ron Leibman Kaz Kazinsky CBS
Ed Asner Lou Grant Lou Grant CBS
Jack Klugman Quincy, M.E. Dr. R. Quincy, M.E. NBC
James Garner The Rockford Files Jim Rockford

1980s[edit]

Year Actor Program Role Network
19791980
(32nd)
Ed Asner Lou Grant Lou Grant CBS
James Garner The Rockford Files Jim Rockford NBC
Larry Hagman Dallas J. R. Ewing CBS
Jack Klugman Quincy, M.E. R. Quincy NBC
19801981
(33rd)
Daniel J. Travanti Hill Street Blues Frank Furillo NBC
Ed Asner Lou Grant Lou Grant CBS
Jim Davis (posthumous) Dallas Jock Ewing
Louis Gossett Jr. § Palmerstown Bessie’s Father
Larry Hagman Dallas J. R. Ewing
Pernell Roberts Trapper John, M.D. Trapper John McIntyre
19811982
(34th)
Daniel J. Travanti Hill Street Blues Frank Furillo NBC
Ed Asner Lou Grant Lou Grant CBS
John Forsythe Dynasty Blake Carrington ABC
James Garner Bret Maverick Bret Maverick NBC
Tom Selleck Magnum, P.I. Thomas Magnum CBS
19821983
(35th)
Ed Flanders St. Elsewhere Donald Westphall NBC
William Daniels St. Elsewhere Mark Craig NBC
John Forsythe Dynasty Blake Carrington ABC
Tom Selleck Magnum, P.I. Thomas Magnum CBS
Daniel J. Travanti Hill Street Blues Frank Furillo NBC
19831984
(36th)
[1]
Tom Selleck Magnum, P.I. Thomas Magnum CBS
William Daniels St. Elsewhere Mark Craig NBC
Ed Flanders Donald Westphall
John Forsythe Dynasty Blake Carrington ABC
Daniel J. Travanti Hill Street Blues Frank Furillo NBC
19841985
(37th)
William Daniels St. Elsewhere Mark Craig NBC
Ed Flanders St. Elsewhere Donald Westphall NBC
Don Johnson Miami Vice Sonny Crockett
Tom Selleck Magnum, P.I. Thomas Magnum CBS
Daniel J. Travanti Hill Street Blues Frank Furillo NBC
19851986
(38th)
William Daniels St. Elsewhere Mark Craig NBC
Ed Flanders St. Elsewhere Donald Westphall NBC
Tom Selleck Magnum, P.I. Thomas Magnum CBS
Bruce Willis Moonlighting David Addison ABC
Edward Woodward The Equalizer Robert McCall CBS
19861987
(39th)
Bruce Willis Moonlighting David Addison ABC
Corbin Bernsen L.A. Law Arnie Becker NBC
William Daniels St. Elsewhere Mark Craig
Ed Flanders Donald Westphall
Edward Woodward The Equalizer Robert McCall CBS
19871988
(40th)
Richard Kiley A Year in the Life Joe Gardner NBC
Corbin Bernsen L.A. Law Arnie Becker NBC
Ron Perlman Beauty and the Beast Vincent CBS
Michael Tucker L.A. Law Stuart Markowitz NBC
Edward Woodward The Equalizer Robert McCall CBS
19881989
(41st)
Carroll O'Connor In the Heat of the Night Bill Gillespie NBC
Ron Perlman Beauty and the Beast Vincent CBS
Michael Tucker L.A. Law Stuart Markowitz NBC
Ken Wahl Wiseguy Vinnie Terranova CBS
Edward Woodward The Equalizer Robert McCall

1990s[edit]

Year Actor Program Role Episode Network
19891990
(42nd)
Peter Falk Columbo Columbo “Agenda for Murder” ABC
Scott Bakula Quantum Leap Dr. Sam Beckett N/A NBC
Robert Loggia Mancuso, F.B.I. Nick Mancuso N/A
Kyle MacLachlan Twin Peaks Dale Cooper N/A ABC
Edward Woodward The Equalizer Robert McCall N/A CBS
19901991
(43rd)
James Earl Jones Gabriel’s Fire Gabriel Bird “Gabriel’s Fire” ABC
Scott Bakula Quantum Leap Dr. Sam Beckett “Shock Theater: October 3, 1954” NBC
Peter Falk Columbo Columbo “Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star” ABC
Kyle MacLachlan Twin Peaks Dale Cooper Arbitrary Law
Michael Moriarty Law & Order Benjamin Stone “Indifference” NBC
19911992
(44th)
Christopher Lloyd § Road to Avonlea Alistair Dimple “Another Point of View” Disney
Scott Bakula Quantum Leap Dr. Sam Beckett “Dreams: February 28, 1979” NBC
Kirk Douglas § Tales from the Crypt General Kalthrob “Yellow” HBO
Michael Moriarty Law & Order Benjamin Stone “The Wages of Love” NBC
Rob Morrow Northern Exposure Joel Fleischman “Jules et Joel” CBS
Harrison Page § Quantum Leap Reverend Walters “A Song for the Soul: April 7, 1963” NBC
Sam Waterston I’ll Fly Away Forrest Bedford “Master Magician”
19921993
(45th)
Tom Skerritt Picket Fences Jimmy Brock “High Tidings” CBS
Scott Bakula Quantum Leap Dr. Sam Beckett “Lee Harvey Oswald: October 5, 1957 — November 22, 1963” NBC
Michael Moriarty Law & Order Benjamin Stone “Night & Fog”
Rob Morrow Northern Exposure Joel Fleischman “Kaddish, for Uncle Manny” CBS
Sam Waterston I’ll Fly Away Forrest Bedford “All in the Life” NBC
19931994
(46th)
Dennis Franz NYPD Blue Andy Sipowicz “NYPD Lou” ABC
David Caruso NYPD Blue John Kelly Pilot ABC
Peter Falk Columbo Columbo “It’s All in the Game”
Michael Moriarty Law & Order Benjamin Stone “Sanctuary” NBC
Tom Skerritt Picket Fences Jimmy Brock “Dairy Queen” CBS
19941995
(47th)
Mandy Patinkin Chicago Hope Dr. Jeffrey Geiger “Over the Rainbow” CBS
George Clooney ER Dr. Doug Ross “Long Day’s Journey” NBC
Anthony Edwards Dr. Mark Greene Love’s Labor Lost
Dennis Franz NYPD Blue Andy Sipowicz “A.D.A. Sipowicz” ABC
Jimmy Smits Bobby Simone “The Bookie and the Kooky Cookie”
19951996
(48th)
Dennis Franz NYPD Blue Andy Sipowicz “Closing Time” ABC
Andre Braugher Homicide: Life on the Street Frank Pembleton “For God and Country” NBC
George Clooney ER Dr. Doug Ross “Hell and High Water”
Anthony Edwards Dr. Mark Greene “A Shift in the Night”
Jimmy Smits NYPD Blue Bobby Simone “A Death in the Family” ABC
19961997
(49th)
Dennis Franz NYPD Blue Andy Sipowicz “Where’s ‘Swaldo?” ABC
David Duchovny The X-Files Fox Mulder Small Potatoes Fox
Anthony Edwards ER Dr. Mark Greene “Tribes” NBC
Jimmy Smits NYPD Blue Bobby Simone “My Wild Irish Nose” ABC
Sam Waterston Law & Order Jack McCoy “Mad Dog” NBC
19971998
(50th)
Andre Braugher Homicide: Life on the Street Frank Pembleton Fallen Heroes” (Part 2) NBC
David Duchovny The X-Files Fox Mulder Redux II Fox
Anthony Edwards ER Dr. Mark Greene “Family Practice” NBC
Dennis Franz NYPD Blue Andy Sipowicz “The One That Got Away” ABC
Jimmy Smits Bobby Simone “Lost Israel”
19981999
(51st)
Dennis Franz NYPD Blue Andy Sipowicz “Safe Home” ABC
James Gandolfini The Sopranos Tony Soprano The Sopranos HBO
Dylan McDermott The Practice Bobby Donnell “Happily Ever After” ABC
Jimmy Smits NYPD Blue Bobby Simone Hearts and Souls
Sam Waterston Law & Order Jack McCoy “Sideshow” NBC

2000s[edit]

Year Actor Program Role Episode Network
19992000
(52nd)
James Gandolfini The Sopranos Tony Soprano The Happy Wanderer HBO
Dennis Franz NYPD Blue Andy Sipowicz “The Last Round Up” ABC
Jerry Orbach Law & Order Lennie Briscoe “Marathon” NBC
Martin Sheen The West Wing Josiah Bartlet “Take This Sabbath Day”
Sam Waterston Law & Order Jack McCoy “Killerz”
20002001
(53rd)
James Gandolfini The Sopranos Tony Soprano Amour Fou HBO
Andre Braugher Gideon’s Crossing Dr. Ben Gideon “The Lottery” ABC
Dennis Franz NYPD Blue Andy Sipowicz “In the Wind”
Rob Lowe The West Wing Sam Seaborn “Somebody’s Going to Emergency, Somebody’s Going to Jail” NBC
Martin Sheen Josiah Bartlet Two Cathedrals
20012002
(54th)
Michael Chiklis The Shield Vic Mackey Pilot FX
Michael C. Hall Six Feet Under David Fisher “A Private Life” HBO
Peter Krause Nate Fisher “In the Game”
Martin Sheen The West Wing Josiah Bartlet “Night Five” NBC
Kiefer Sutherland 24 Jack Bauer “11:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.” Fox
20022003
(55th)
James Gandolfini The Sopranos Tony Soprano Whitecaps HBO
Michael Chiklis The Shield Vic Mackey “Dominoes Falling” FX
Peter Krause Six Feet Under Nate Fisher “Death Works Overtime” HBO
Martin Sheen The West Wing Josiah Bartlet Twenty Five NBC
Kiefer Sutherland 24 Jack Bauer “Day 2: 10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.” Fox
20032004
(56th)
James Spader The Practice Alan Shore “Mr. Shore Goes to Town” ABC
James Gandolfini The Sopranos Tony Soprano Where’s Johnny? HBO
Anthony LaPaglia Without a Trace Jack Malone “Copycat” CBS
Martin Sheen The West Wing Josiah Bartlet “Memorial Day” NBC
Kiefer Sutherland 24 Jack Bauer “Day 3: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.” Fox
20042005
(57th)
James Spader Boston Legal Alan Shore “Death Be Not Proud” ABC
Hank Azaria Huff Dr. Craig “Huff” Huffstodt “Crazy, Nuts, and All Messed Up” Showtime
Hugh Laurie House Dr. Gregory House Detox Fox
Ian McShane Deadwood Al Swearengen “The Whores Can Come” HBO
Kiefer Sutherland 24 Jack Bauer “Day 4: 2:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.” Fox
20052006
(58th)
Kiefer Sutherland 24 Jack Bauer Day 5: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Fox
Peter Krause Six Feet Under Nate Fisher “Time Flies” HBO
Denis Leary Rescue Me Tommy Gavin “Justice” FX
Christopher Meloni Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Elliot Stabler “Ripped” NBC
Martin Sheen The West Wing Josiah Bartlet “Tomorrow”
20062007
(59th)
James Spader Boston Legal Alan Shore “Angels of Death” ABC
James Gandolfini The Sopranos Tony Soprano The Second Coming HBO
Hugh Laurie House Dr. Gregory House Half-Wit Fox
Denis Leary Rescue Me Tommy Gavin “Retards” FX
Kiefer Sutherland 24 Jack Bauer “Day 6: 5:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m.” Fox
20072008
(60th)
Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad Walter White Pilot AMC
Gabriel Byrne In Treatment Dr. Paul Weston “Week 4: Paul and Gina” HBO
Michael C. Hall Dexter Dexter Morgan “There’s Something About Harry” Showtime
Jon Hamm Mad Men Don Draper “The Wheel” AMC
Hugh Laurie House Dr. Gregory House House’s Head Fox
James Spader Boston Legal Alan Shore “The Court Supreme” ABC
20082009
(61st)
Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad Walter White Phoenix AMC
Simon Baker The Mentalist Patrick Jane “Pilot” CBS
Gabriel Byrne In Treatment Dr. Paul Weston “Week 4: Gina” HBO
Michael C. Hall Dexter Dexter Morgan “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” Showtime
Jon Hamm Mad Men Don Draper “The Mountain King” AMC
Hugh Laurie House Dr. Gregory House Under My Skin Fox

2010s[edit]

Year Actor Program Role Episode Network
20092010
(62nd)
Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad Walter White Full Measure AMC
Kyle Chandler Friday Night Lights Eric Taylor “East of Dillon” NBC
Matthew Fox Lost Dr. Jack Shephard The End ABC
Michael C. Hall Dexter Dexter Morgan The Getaway Showtime
Jon Hamm Mad Men Don Draper “The Gypsy and the Hobo” AMC
Hugh Laurie House Dr. Gregory House Broken Fox
20102011
(63rd)
Kyle Chandler Friday Night Lights Eric Taylor “Always” NBC
Steve Buscemi Boardwalk Empire Nucky Thompson A Return to Normalcy HBO
Michael C. Hall Dexter Dexter Morgan “Teenage Wasteland” Showtime
Jon Hamm Mad Men Don Draper The Suitcase AMC
Hugh Laurie House Dr. Gregory House After Hours Fox
Timothy Olyphant Justified Raylan Givens “Reckoning” FX
20112012
(64th)
Damian Lewis Homeland Nicholas Brody Marine One Showtime
Hugh Bonneville Downton Abbey Robert Crawley “Episode Seven” PBS
Steve Buscemi Boardwalk Empire Nucky Thompson “Two Boats and a Lifeguard” HBO
Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad Walter White Crawl Space AMC
Michael C. Hall Dexter Dexter Morgan “Nebraska” Showtime
Jon Hamm Mad Men Don Draper The Other Woman AMC
20122013
(65th)
Jeff Daniels The Newsroom Will McAvoy We Just Decided To HBO
Hugh Bonneville Downton Abbey Robert Crawley “Episode Five” PBS
Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad Walter White Say My Name AMC
Jon Hamm Mad Men Don Draper “In Care Of”
Damian Lewis Homeland Nicholas Brody Q&A Showtime
Kevin Spacey House of Cards Frank Underwood Chapter 1 Netflix
20132014
(66th)
Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad Walter White Ozymandias AMC
Jeff Daniels The Newsroom Will McAvoy “Election Night, Part II” HBO
Jon Hamm Mad Men Don Draper “The Strategy” AMC
Woody Harrelson True Detective Martin Hart “The Locked Room” HBO
Matthew McConaughey Rustin Cohle “Form and Void”
Kevin Spacey House of Cards Frank Underwood “Chapter 26” Netflix
20142015
(67th)
Jon Hamm Mad Men Don Draper Person to Person AMC
Kyle Chandler Bloodline John Rayburn “Part 12” Netflix
Jeff Daniels The Newsroom Will McAvoy “What Kind of Day Has It Been” HBO
Bob Odenkirk Better Call Saul Jimmy McGill Pimento AMC
Liev Schreiber Ray Donovan Ray Donovan “Walk This Way" Showtime
Kevin Spacey House of Cards Frank Underwood “Chapter 32” Netflix
20152016
(68th)
*Winner will be announced on September 18, 2016
Kyle Chandler Bloodline John Rayburn “Part 23” Netflix
Rami Malek Mr. Robot Elliot Alderson “eps1.0_hellofriend.mov” USA
Bob Odenkirk Better Call Saul Jimmy McGill Klick AMC
Matthew Rhys The Americans Philip Jennings “The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears” FX
Liev Schreiber Ray Donovan Ray Donovan “Exsuscito” Showtime
Kevin Spacey House of Cards Frank Underwood “Chapter 52” Netflix

Multiple wins[edit]

Multiple nominations[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Early Emmy ceremonies did not have genre specific acting categories

References[edit]

See also[edit]