Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

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Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Awarded for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama of Series
Country United States
Presented by Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
First awarded 1954
Currently held by Tatiana Maslany,
Orphan Black (2016)
Official website emmys.com

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

Winners and nominations[edit]

1950s[edit]

Year Actress Program Role Network
1953
(6th)
[note 1]
Eve Arden Our Miss Brooks Connie Brooks CBS
Lucille Ball I Love Lucy Lucy Ricardo CBS
Imogene Coca Your Show of Shows Various Characters NBC
Dinah Shore The Dinah Shore Show Herself
Loretta Young The Loretta Young Show Various Characters
1954
(7th)
[note 1]
Loretta Young The Loretta Young Show Various characters CBS
Gracie Allen The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show Gracie Allen CBS
Eve Arden Our Miss Brooks Connie Brooks
Lucille Ball I Love Lucy Lucy Ricardo
Ann Sothern Private Secretary Susie McNamara
1955
(8th)
[note 1]
Lucille Ball I Love Lucy Lucy Ricardo CBS
Gracie Allen The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show Gracie Allen CBS
Eve Arden Our Miss Brooks Connie Brooks
Jean Hagen Make Room for Daddy Margaret Williams ABC
Ann Sothern Private Secretary Susie McNamara CBS
1956
(9th)
Loretta Young The Loretta Young Show Various characters NBC
Jan Clayton Lassie Ellen Miller CBS
Ida Lupino Four Star Playhouse Various Characters
Peggy Wood Mama Mama
Jane Wyman Fireside Theatre Various Characters NBC
1957
(10th)
[note 1]
Jane Wyatt Father Knows Best Margaret Anderson NBC
Eve Arden The Eve Arden Show Liza Hammond CBS
Spring Byington December Bride Lily Ruskin
Jan Clayton Lassie Ellen Miller
Ida Lupino Mr. Adams and Eve Eve Drake
195859
(11th)
Loretta Young The Loretta Young Show Various characters NBC
Jan Clayton Lassie Ellen Miller CBS
Phyllis Kirk The Thin Man Nora Charles NBC
Jane Wyman Fireside Theatre Various Characters
195960
(12th)
[note 1]
Jane Wyatt Father Knows Best Margaret Anderson CBS
Donna Reed The Donna Reed Show Donna Stone ABC
Loretta Young The Loretta Young Show Various Characters NBC

1960s[edit]

Year Actress Program Role Network
196061
(13th)
[note 1]
Barbara Stanwyck The Barbara Stanwyck Show Various characters NBC
Donna Reed The Donna Reed Show Donna Stone ABC
Loretta Young The Loretta Young Show Various Characters NBC
196162
(14th)
[note 1]
Shirley Booth Hazel Hazel Burke NBC
Gertrude Berg The Gertrude Berg Show Sarah Green CBS
Donna Reed The Donna Reed Show Donna Stone ABC
Mary Stuart Search for Tomorrow Joanne Gardner CBS
Cara Williams Pete and Gladys Gladys Porter
196263
(15th)
[note 1]
Shirley Booth Hazel Hazel Burke NBC
Lucille Ball The Lucy Show Lucy Carmichael CBS
Shirl Conway The Nurses Liz Thorpe
Mary Tyler Moore The Dick Van Dyke Show Laura Petrie
Irene Ryan The Beverly Hillbillies Granny
196364
(16th)
[note 1]
Mary Tyler Moore The Dick Van Dyke Show Laura Petrie CBS
Shirley Booth Hazel Hazel Burke NBC
Patty Duke The Patty Duke Show Cathy Lane ABC
Irene Ryan The Beverly Hillbillies Granny CBS
Inger Stevens The Farmer's Daughter Katy Holstrum ABC
196465
(17th)
No award
196566
(18th)
Barbara Stanwyck The Big Valley Victoria Barkley ABC
Ann Francis Honey West Honey West ABC
Barbara Parkins Peyton Place Betty Anderson Cord
196667
(19th)
Barbara Bain Mission: Impossible Cinnamon Carter CBS
Diana Rigg The Avengers Emma Peel ABC
Barbara Stanwyck The Big Valley Victoria Barkley
196768
(20th)
Barbara Bain Mission: Impossible Cinnamon Carter CBS
Diana Rigg The Avengers Emma Peel ABC
Barbara Stanwyck The Big Valley Victoria Barkley
196869
(21st)
Barbara Bain Mission: Impossible Cinnamon Carter CBS
Joan Blondell Here Come the Brides Lottie Hatfield ABC
Peggy Lipton The Mod Squad Julie Barnes
196970
(22nd)
Susan Hampshire # The Forsyte Saga Fleur Mont NET
Joan Blondell Here Come the Brides Lottie Hatfield ABC
Peggy Lipton The Mod Squad Julie Barnes

1970s[edit]

Year Actress Program Role Network
197071
(23rd)
Susan Hampshire # The First Churchills Sarah Churchill PBS
Linda Cristal The High Chaparral Victoria Montoya NBC
Peggy Lipton The Mod Squad Julie Barnes ABC
197172
(24th)
Glenda Jackson # Elizabeth R Queen Elizabeth I of England PBS
Peggy Lipton The Mod Squad Julie Barnes ABC
Susan Saint James McMillan & Wife Sally McMillian NBC
197273
(25th)
Michael Learned The Waltons Olivia Walton CBS
Lynda Day George Mission: Impossible Lisa Casey CBS
Susan Saint James McMillan & Wife Sally McMillian NBC
197374
(26th)
Michael Learned The Waltons Olivia Walton CBS
Jean Marsh Upstairs, Downstairs Rose Buck PBS
Jeanette Nolan Dirty Sally Sally Fergus CBS
197475
(27th)
Jean Marsh Upstairs, Downstairs Rose Buck PBS
Angie Dickinson Police Woman Sgt. Leann "Pepper" Anderson NBC
Michael Learned The Waltons Olvia Walton CBS
197576
(28th)
Michael Learned The Waltons Olivia Walton CBS
Angie Dickinson Police Woman Sgt. Leann "Pepper" Anderson NBC
Anne Meara Kate McShane Kate McShane CBS
Brenda Vaccaro Sara Sara Yarnell
197677
(29th)
Lindsay Wagner The Bionic Woman Jaime Sommers ABC
Angie Dickinson Police Woman Sgt. Leann "Pepper" Anderson NBC
Kate Jackson Charlie's Angels Sabrina Duncan ABC
Michael Learned The Waltons Olivia Walton CBS
Sada Thompson Family Kate Lawrence ABC
197778
(30th)
Sada Thompson Family Kate Lawrence ABC
Melissa Sue Anderson Little House on the Prairie Mary Ingalls NBC
Fionnula Flanagan How the West Was Won Aunt Molly Culhane ABC
Kate Jackson Charlie's Angels Sabrina Duncan
Michael Learned The Waltons Olivia Walton CBS
Susan Sullivan Having Babies Dr. Julie Farr ABC
197879
(31st)
Mariette Hartley § The Incredible Hulk Dr. Caroline Fields CBS
Barbara Bel Geddes Dallas Miss Ellie Ewing CBS
Rita Moreno § The Rockford Files Rita Capkovick NBC
Sada Thompson Family Kate Lawrence ABC
197980
(32nd)
Barbara Bel Geddes Dallas Miss Ellie Ewing CBS
Lauren Bacall § The Rockford Files Kendall Warren NBC
Mariette Hartley § Althea Morgan
Kristy McNichol Family Buddy Lawrence ABC
Sada Thompson Kate Lawrence

1980s[edit]

Year Actress Program Role Network
198081
(33rd)
Barbara Babcock § Hill Street Blues Grace Gardner NBC
Barbara Bel Geddes Dallas Miss Ellie Ewing CBS
Linda Gray Sue Ellen Ewing
Veronica Hamel Hill Street Blues Joyce Davenport NBC
Michael Learned Nurse Mary Benjamin
Stefanie Powers Hart to Hart Jennifer Hart ABC
198182
(34th)
Michael Learned Nurse Mary Benjamin NBC
Debbie Allen Fame Lydia Grant NBC
Veronica Hamel Hill Street Blues Joyce Davenport
Michele Lee Knots Landing Karen Fairgate CBS
Stefanie Powers Hart to Hart Jennifer Hart ABC
198283
(35th)
Tyne Daly Cagney & Lacey Mary Beth Lacey CBS
Debbie Allen Fame Lydia Grant NBC
Linda Evans Dynasty Krystle Carrington ABC
Sharon Gless Cagney & Lacey Chris Cagney CBS
Veronica Hamel Hill Street Blues Joyce Davenport NBC
198384
(36th)
Tyne Daly Cagney & Lacey Mary Beth Lacey CBS
Debbie Allen Fame Lydia Grant Syndicated
Joan Collins Dynasty Alexis Colby ABC
Sharon Gless Cagney & Lacey Chris Cagney CBS
Veronica Hamel Hill Street Blues Joyce Davenport NBC
198485
(37th)
Tyne Daly Cagney & Lacey Mary Beth Lacey CBS
Debbie Allen Fame Lydia Grant Syndicated
Sharon Gless Cagney & Lacey Chris Cagney CBS
Veronica Hamel Hill Street Blues Joyce Davenport NBC
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher CBS
198586
(38th)
Sharon Gless Cagney & Lacey Chris Cagney CBS
Tyne Daly Cagney & Lacey Mary Beth Lacey CBS
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher
Cybill Shepherd Moonlighting Maddie Hayes ABC
Alfre Woodard St. Elsewhere Roxanne Turner NBC
198687
(39th)
Sharon Gless Cagney & Lacey Chris Cagney CBS
Tyne Daly Cagney & Lacey Mary Beth Lacey CBS
Susan Dey L.A. Law Grace Van Owen NBC
Jill Eikenberry Ann Kelsey
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher CBS
198788
(40th)
Tyne Daly Cagney & Lacey Mary Beth Lacey CBS
Susan Dey L.A. Law Grace Van Owen NBC
Jill Eikenberry Ann Kelsey
Sharon Gless Cagney & Lacey Chris Cagney CBS
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher
198889
(41st)
Dana Delany China Beach Colleen McMurphy ABC
Susan Dey L.A. Law Grace Van Owen NBC
Jill Eikenberry Ann Kelsey
Linda Hamilton Beauty and the Beast Catherine Chandler CBS
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher

1990s[edit]

Year Actress Program Role Episode Network
198990
(42nd)
Patricia Wettig thirtysomething Nancy Krieger-Weston "The Other Shoe" ABC
Dana Delany China Beach Colleen McMurphy "How to Stay Alive in Vietnam" ABC
Jill Eikenberry L.A. Law Ann Kelsey "Lie Down and Deliver" NBC
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher "How to Make a Killing Without Really Trying" CBS
Piper Laurie Twin Peaks Catherine Martell "The Last Evening" ABC
199091
(43rd)
Patricia Wettig thirtysomething Nancy Krieger-Weston "Guns and Roses" ABC
Dana Delany China Beach Colleen McMurphy "Fever" ABC
Sharon Gless The Trials of Rosie O'Neill Rosie O'Neill "When I'm 44" CBS
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher "Thursday's Child"
199192
(44th)
Dana Delany China Beach Colleen McMurphy "Through and Through" ABC
Sharon Gless The Trials of Rosie O'Neill Rosie O'Neill "Heartbreak Hotel" CBS
Shirley Knight § Law & Order Melanie Currants "The Wages of Love" NBC
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher "Night Fears" CBS
Kate Nelligan § Road to Avonlea Sydney Carver "After the Honeymoon" Disney
Regina Taylor I'll Fly Away Lilly Harper "Coming Home" NBC
199293
(45th)
Kathy Baker Picket Fences Dr. Jill Brock "Thanksgiving" CBS
Swoosie Kurtz Sisters Alex Reed "Mirror, Mirror" NBC
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher "Night of the Coyote" CBS
Regina Taylor I'll Fly Away Lilly Harper "Comfort and Joy" NBC
Janine Turner Northern Exposure Maggie "Mary Margaret" O'Connell "Love's Labour Mislaid" CBS
199394
(46th)
Sela Ward Sisters Teddy Reed "Land of the Lost Children" NBC
Kathy Baker Picket Fences Dr. Jill Brock "Guns 'R' Us" CBS
Swoosie Kurtz Sisters Alex Reed "Protective Measures" NBC
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher "A Killing in Cork" CBS
Jane Seymour Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Michaela "Dr. Mike" Quinn "Best Friends"
199495
(47th)
Kathy Baker Picket Fences Dr. Jill Brock "Frogman Returns" CBS
Claire Danes My So-Called Life Angela Chase "Pilot" ABC
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher "Dear Deadly" CBS
Sherry Stringfield ER Dr. Susan Lewis "Motherhood" NBC
Cicely Tyson Sweet Justice Carrie Grace Battle "In the Name of the Sun"
199596
(48th)
Kathy Baker Picket Fences Dr. Jill Brock "Bottled" CBS
Gillian Anderson The X-Files Dr. Dana Scully "Piper Maru" Fox
Christine Lahti Chicago Hope Dr. Kathryn "Kate" Austin "Transplanted Affection" CBS
Angela Lansbury Murder, She Wrote Jessica Fletcher "Death by Demographics"
Sherry Stringfield ER Dr. Susan Lewis "Take These Broken Wings" NBC
199697
(49th)
Gillian Anderson The X-Files Dr. Dana Scully "Memento Mori" Fox
Roma Downey Touched by an Angel Monica "Missing in Action" CBS
Christine Lahti Chicago Hope Dr. Kathryn "Kate" Austin "Back to the Future"
Julianna Margulies ER Carol Hathaway "The Long Way Around" NBC
Sherry Stringfield Dr. Susan Lewis "Fear of Flying"
199798
(50th)
Christine Lahti Chicago Hope Dr. Kathryn "Kate" Austin "Cabin Fever" CBS
Gillian Anderson The X-Files Dr. Dana Scully "All Souls" Fox
Roma Downey Touched by an Angel Monica "The Spirit of Liberty Moon" CBS
Julianna Margulies ER Carol Hathaway "Carter's Choice" NBC
Jane Seymour Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Michaela "Dr. Mike" Quinn "Point Blank" CBS
199899
(51st)
Edie Falco The Sopranos Carmela Soprano "College" HBO
Gillian Anderson The X-Files Dr. Dana Scully "Milagro" Fox
Lorraine Bracco The Sopranos Dr. Jennifer Melfi "The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti" HBO
Christine Lahti Chicago Hope Dr. Kathryn "Kate" Austin "Karmic Relief" CBS
Julianna Margulies ER Carol Hathaway "The Storm" (Part 2) NBC
19992000
(52nd)
Sela Ward Once and Again Lily Manning "Pilot" ABC
Lorraine Bracco The Sopranos Dr. Jennifer Melfi "Big Girls Don't Cry" HBO
Amy Brenneman Judging Amy Amy Gray "The Wee Hours" CBS
Edie Falco The Sopranos Carmela Soprano "Full Leather Jacket" HBO
Julianna Margulies ER Carol Hathaway "Great Expectations" NBC

2000s[edit]

Year Actress Program Role Episode Network
200001
(53rd)
Edie Falco The Sopranos Carmela Soprano "Second Opinion" HBO
Lorraine Bracco The Sopranos Dr. Jennifer Melfi "Employee of the Month" HBO
Amy Brenneman Judging Amy Amy Gray "The Undertow" CBS
Marg Helgenberger CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Catherine Willows "Justice Is Served"
Sela Ward Once and Again Lily Manning "Second Time Around" ABC
200102
(54th)
Allison Janney The West Wing C. J. Cregg "The Women of Qumar" NBC
Amy Brenneman Judging Amy Amy Gray "Tidal Wave" CBS
Frances Conroy Six Feet Under Ruth Fisher "Pilot" HBO
Jennifer Garner Alias Sydney Bristow "Truth Be Told" ABC
Rachel Griffiths Six Feet Under Brenda Chenowith "The Secret" HBO
200203
(55th)
Edie Falco The Sopranos Carmela Soprano "Whitecaps" HBO
Frances Conroy Six Feet Under Ruth Fisher "Nobody Sleeps" HBO
Jennifer Garner Alias Sydney Bristow "Phase One" ABC
Marg Helgenberger CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Catherine Willows "Lady Heather's Box" CBS
Allison Janney The West Wing C. J. Cregg "The Long Goodbye" NBC
200304
(56th)
Allison Janney The West Wing C. J. Cregg "Access" NBC
Edie Falco The Sopranos Carmela Soprano "All Happy Families..." HBO
Jennifer Garner Alias Sydney Bristow "The Two" ABC
Mariska Hargitay Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Olivia Benson "Control" NBC
Amber Tamblyn Joan of Arcadia Joan Girardi "Pilot" CBS
200405
(57th)
Patricia Arquette Medium Allison DuBois "In Sickness and Adultery" NBC
Glenn Close The Shield Monica Rawling "Hurt" FX
Frances Conroy Six Feet Under Ruth Fisher "Coming and Going" HBO
Jennifer Garner Alias Sydney Bristow "Before the Flood" ABC
Mariska Hargitay Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Olivia Benson "Charisma" NBC
200506
(58th)
Mariska Hargitay Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Olivia Benson "911" NBC
Frances Conroy Six Feet Under Ruth Fisher "Everyone's Waiting" HBO
Geena Davis Commander in Chief Mackenzie Allen "Pilot" ABC
Allison Janney The West Wing C. J. Cregg "Institutional Memory" NBC
Kyra Sedgwick The Closer Brenda Leigh Johnson "Fantasy Date" TNT
200607
(59th)
Sally Field Brothers & Sisters Nora Walker "Mistakes Were Made" (Part 2) ABC
Patricia Arquette Medium Allison DuBois "Be Kind, Rewind" NBC
Minnie Driver The Riches Dahlia Malloy "Pilot" FX
Edie Falco The Sopranos Carmela Soprano "The Second Coming" HBO
Mariska Hargitay Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Olivia Benson "Florida" NBC
Kyra Sedgwick The Closer Brenda Leigh Johnson "Slippin'" TNT
200708
(60th)
Glenn Close Damages Patty Hewes "Get Me a Lawyer" FX
Sally Field Brothers & Sisters Nora Walker "History Repeating" ABC
Mariska Hargitay Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Olivia Benson "Undercover" NBC
Holly Hunter Saving Grace Grace Hanadarko "Tacos, Tulips, Duck, and Spices" TNT
Kyra Sedgwick The Closer Brenda Leigh Johnson "Manhunt"
200809
(61st)
Glenn Close Damages Patty Hewes "Trust Me" FX
Sally Field Brothers & Sisters Nora Walker "A Father Dreams" ABC
Mariska Hargitay Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Olivia Benson "PTSD" NBC
Holly Hunter Saving Grace Grace Hanadarko "Have a Seat, Earl" TNT
Elisabeth Moss Mad Men Peggy Olson "Meditations in an Emergency" AMC
Kyra Sedgwick The Closer Brenda Leigh Johnson "Cherry Bomb" TNT
200910
(62nd)
Kyra Sedgwick The Closer Brenda Leigh Johnson "Maternal Instincts" TNT
Connie Britton Friday Night Lights Tami Taylor "After the Fall" The 101 Network
NBC
Glenn Close Damages Patty Hewes "Your Secrets Are Safe" FX
Mariska Hargitay Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Olivia Benson "Perverted" NBC
January Jones Mad Men Betty Draper "The Gypsy and the Hobo" AMC
Julianna Margulies The Good Wife Alicia Florrick "Threesome" CBS

2010s[edit]

Year Actress Program Role Episode Network
201011
(63rd)
Julianna Margulies The Good Wife Alicia Florrick "In Sickness" CBS
Kathy Bates Harry's Law Harriet "Harry" Korn "Innocent Man" NBC
Connie Britton Friday Night Lights Tami Taylor "Always" The 101 Network
NBC
Mireille Enos The Killing Sarah Linden "Missing" AMC
Mariska Hargitay Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Olivia Benson "Rescue" NBC
Elisabeth Moss Mad Men Peggy Olson "The Suitcase" AMC
201112
(64th)
Claire Danes Homeland Carrie Mathison "The Vest" Showtime
Kathy Bates Harry's Law Harriet "Harry" Korn "Onward and Upward" NBC
Glenn Close Damages Patty Hewes "I've Done Way Too Much For This Girl" Audience Network
Michelle Dockery Downton Abbey Lady Mary Crawley "Episode Seven" PBS
Julianna Margulies The Good Wife Alicia Florrick "Parenting Made Easy" CBS
Elisabeth Moss Mad Men Peggy Olson "The Other Woman" AMC
201213
(65th)
Claire Danes Homeland Carrie Mathison "Q&A" Showtime
Connie Britton Nashville Rayna Jaymes "Pilot" ABC
Michelle Dockery Downton Abbey Lady Mary Crawley "Episode One" PBS
Vera Farmiga Bates Motel Norma Louise Bates "First You Dream, Then You Die" A&E
Elisabeth Moss Mad Men Peggy Olson "The Better Half" AMC
Kerry Washington Scandal Olivia Pope "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" ABC
Robin Wright House of Cards Claire Underwood "Chapter 10" Netflix
201314
(66th)
Julianna Margulies The Good Wife Alicia Florrick "The Last Call" CBS
Lizzy Caplan Masters of Sex Virginia Johnson "Pilot" Showtime
Claire Danes Homeland Carrie Mathison "The Star"
Michelle Dockery Downton Abbey Lady Mary Crawley "Episode One" PBS
Kerry Washington Scandal Olivia Pope "The Fluffer" ABC
Robin Wright House of Cards Claire Underwood "Chapter 26" Netflix
201415
(67th)
Viola Davis How to Get Away with Murder Annalise Keating "Freakin' Whack-a-Mole" ABC
Claire Danes Homeland Carrie Mathison "From A to B and Back Again" Showtime
Taraji P. Henson Empire Cookie Lyon "Pilot" Fox
Tatiana Maslany Orphan Black Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena, Rachel, and Krystal "Certain Agony of the Battlefield" BBC America
Elisabeth Moss Mad Men Peggy Olson "Person to Person" AMC
Robin Wright House of Cards Claire Underwood "Chapter 32" Netflix
201516
(68th)
[1]
Tatiana Maslany Orphan Black Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena, Rachel, M.K., and Krystal "The Antisocialism of Sex" BBC America
Claire Danes Homeland Carrie Mathison "Super Powers" Showtime
Viola Davis How to Get Away with Murder Annalise Keating "There's My Baby" ABC
Taraji P. Henson Empire Cookie Lyon "Rise by Sin" Fox
Keri Russell The Americans Elizabeth Jennings "The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears" FX
Robin Wright House of Cards Claire Underwood "Chapter 49" Netflix

Multiple awards[edit]

Multiple nominations[edit]

Notes[edit]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Emmy nominations 2016: See the full list". Entertainment Weekly. July 14, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2016.