Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Last updated
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Awarded forOutstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Country United States
Presented by Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
First awarded1954
Currently held by Jeremy Strong,
Succession (2020)
Website emmys.com

This is a list of winners and nominees of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Beginning with the 18th Primetime Emmy Awards, 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:

Contents

Winners and nominations

1950s

YearActorRoleProgramNetwork
Best Male Star of a Regular Series
1954
(6th)
[note 1]
Donald O'Connor Himself The Colgate Comedy Hour NBC
Sid Caesar Various characters Your Show of Shows NBC
Wally Cox Robinson Peepers Mister Peepers
Jackie Gleason Various characters The Jackie Gleason Show CBS
Jack Webb Joe Friday Dragnet NBC
Best Actor Starring in a Regular Series
1955
(7th)
[note 1]
Danny Thomas Danny Williams Make Room for Papi ABC
Richard Boone Dr. Konrad Styner Medic NBC
Robert Cummings Robert Beanblossom My Hero
Jackie GleasonVarious charactersThe Jackie Gleason ShowCBS
Jack WebbJoe FridayDragnetNBC
Best Actor - Continuing Performance
1956
(8th)
[note 1]
Phil Silvers MSgt. Ernest G. Bilko The Phil Silvers Show CBS
Robert CummingsBob Collins The Bob Cummings Show CBS
Jackie GleasonRalph Kramden The Honeymooners
Danny ThomasDanny WilliamsMake Room for DaddyABC
Robert Young Jim Anderson Father Knows Best CBS
Best Continuing Performance by an Actor
1957
(9th)
Robert YoungJim AndersonFather Knows BestNBC
James Arness Matt Dillon Gunsmoke CBS
Charles Boyer Various characters Four Star Playhouse
David Niven
Hugh O'Brian Wyatt Earp The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp ABC
Best Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic or Comedy Series
1958
(10th)
[note 1]
Robert YoungJim AndersonFather Knows BestNBC
James ArnessMatt DillonGunsmokeCBS
Robert CummingsBob CollinsThe Bob Cummings Show
Phil SilversMSgt. Ernest G. BilkoThe Phil Silvers Show
Danny ThomasDanny Williams The Danny Thomas Show ABC & CBS
Best Actor in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series
1959
(11th)
Raymond Burr Perry Mason Perry Mason CBS
James ArnessMatt DillonGunsmokeCBS
Richard BoonePaladin Have Gun – Will Travel
James Garner Bret Maverick Maverick ABC
Craig Stevens Peter Gunn Peter Gunn NBC
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Stuart Bailey 77 Sunset Strip ABC

1960s

YearActorRoleProgramNetwork
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Series (Lead or Support)
1960
(12th)
[note 1]
Robert Stack Eliot Ness The Untouchables ABC
Richard Boone Paladin Have Gun – Will Travel CBS
Raymond Burr Perry Mason Perry Mason
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Series (Lead)
1961
(13th)
[note 1]
Raymond BurrPerry MasonPerry MasonCBS
Jackie Cooper Chick Hennesey Hennesey CBS
Robert StackEliot NessThe UntouchablesABC
Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Series (Lead)
1962
(14th)
[note 1]
E. G. Marshall Lawrence Preston The Defenders CBS
Paul Burke Det. Adam Flint Naked City ABC
Jackie CooperChick HenneseyHenneseyCBS
Vince Edwards Ben Casey Ben Casey ABC
George Maharis Buz Murdock Route 66 CBS
1963
(15th)
[note 1]
E. G. MarshallLawrence PrestonThe DefendersCBS
Ernest Borgnine Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale McHale's Navy ABC
Paul BurkeDet. Adam FlintNaked City
Vic Morrow Sgt. Sanders Combat!
Dick Van Dyke Rob Petrie The Dick Van Dyke Show CBS
1964
(16th)
[note 1]
Dick Van DykeRob PetrieThe Dick Van Dyke ShowCBS
Richard BooneVarious characters The Richard Boone Show NBC
Dean Jagger Principal Albert Vane Mr. Novak
David Janssen Dr. Richard Kimble The Fugitive ABC
George C. Scott Neil Brock East Side/West Side CBS
Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment - Actors and Performers
1965
(17th)
Leonard Bernstein Conductor New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts with Leonard Bernstein CBS
Lynn Fontanne Fanny Bowditch Holmes Hallmark Hall of Fame : "The Magnificent Yankee"NBC
Alfred Lunt Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Barbra Streisand Herself My Name Is Barbra CBS
Dick Van DykeRob PetrieThe Dick Van Dyke Show
Julie Andrews Herself The Andy Williams Show : "November 30, 1964"NBC
Johnny Carson Host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
Gladys Cooper Margaret St. Clair The Rogues
Robert Coote Timmy St. Clair
Richard Crenna James Slattery Slattery's People CBS
Julie Harris Florence Nightingale Hallmark Hall of Fame: "The Holy Terror"NBC
Bob Hope HimselfChrysler Presents A Bob Hope Comedy Special
Dean JaggerPrincipal Albert VaneMr. Novak
Danny Kaye Host The Danny Kaye Show CBS
David McCallum Illya Kuryakin The Man from U.N.C.L.E. NBC
Red Skelton Himself The Red Skelton Hour CBS
Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series
1966
(18th)
Bill Cosby Alexander Scott I Spy NBC
Richard CrennaJames SlatterySlattery's PeopleCBS
Robert Culp Kelly RobinsonI SpyNBC
David JanssenDr. Richard KimbleThe FugitiveABC
David McCallumIllya KuryakinThe Man from U.N.C.L.E.NBC
1967
(19th)
Bill CosbyAlexander ScottI SpyNBC
Robert CulpKelly RobinsonI SpyNBC
Ben Gazzara Paul Bryan Run for Your Life NBC
David JanssenDr. Richard KimbleThe FugitiveABC
Martin Landau Rollin Hand Mission: Impossible CBS
1968
(20th)
Bill CosbyAlexander ScottI SpyNBC
Raymond BurrRobert T. Ironside Ironside NBC
Robert CulpKelly RobinsonI Spy
Ben GazzaraPaul BryanRun for Your Life
Martin LandauRollin HandMission: ImpossibleCBS
1969
(21st)
Carl Betz Clinton Judd Judd, for the Defense ABC
Raymond BurrRobert T. IronsideIronsideNBC
Peter Graves Jim PhelpsMission: ImpossibleCBS
Martin LandauRollin Hand
Ross Martin Artemus Gordon The Wild Wild West

1970s

YearActorRoleProgramNetwork
1970
(22nd)
Robert Young Dr. Marcus Welby Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC
Raymond Burr Robert T. Ironside Ironside NBC
Mike Connors Joe Mannix Mannix CBS
Robert Wagner Al Mundy It Takes a Thief ABC
1971
(23rd)
Hal Holbrook Hays Stowe The Bold Ones: The Senator NBC
Raymond BurrRobert T. IronsideIronsideNBC
Mike ConnorsJoe MannixMannixCBS
Robert YoungDr. Marcus WelbyMarcus Welby, M.D.ABC
1972
(24th)
Peter Falk Columbo Columbo NBC
Raymond BurrRobert T. IronsideIronsideNBC
Mike ConnorsJoe MannixMannixCBS
Keith Michell # Henry VIII of England The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Robert YoungDr. Marcus WelbyMarcus Welby, M.D.ABC
1973
(25th)
Richard Thomas John-Boy Walton The Waltons CBS
David Carradine Kwai Chang Caine Kung Fu ABC
Mike ConnorsJoe MannixMannixCBS
William Conrad Frank Cannon Cannon
Peter FalkColumboColumboNBC
1974
(26th)
Telly Savalas Lt. Theo Kojak Kojak CBS
William ConradFrank CannonCannonCBS
Karl Malden Lt. Mike Stone The Streets of San Francisco ABC
Richard ThomasJohn-Boy WaltonThe WaltonsCBS
1975
(27th)
Robert Blake Det. Tony Baretta Baretta ABC
Karl MaldenLt. Mike StoneThe Streets of San FranciscoABC
Barry Newman Anthony J. Petrocelli Petrocelli NBC
Telly SavalasLt. Theo KojakKojakCBS
1976
(28th)
Peter FalkColumboColumboNBC
James Garner Jim Rockford The Rockford Files NBC
Karl MaldenLt. Mike StoneThe Streets of San FranciscoABC
1977
(29th)
James GarnerJim RockfordThe Rockford FilesNBC
Robert BlakeDet. Tony BarettaBarettaABC
Peter FalkColumboColumboNBC
Jack Klugman Dr. R. Quincy, M.E. Quincy, M.E.
Karl MaldenLt. Mike StoneThe Streets of San FranciscoABC
1978
(30th)
Ed Asner Lou Grant Lou Grant CBS
James Broderick Doug Lawrence Family ABC
Peter FalkColumboColumboNBC
James GarnerJim RockfordThe Rockford Files
Jack KlugmanDr. R. Quincy, M.E.Quincy, M.E.
Ralph Waite John Walton, Sr.The WaltonsCBS
1979
(31st)
Ron Leibman Kazinsky Kaz CBS
Ed AsnerLou GrantLou GrantCBS
James GarnerJim RockfordThe Rockford FilesNBC
Jack KlugmanDr. R. Quincy, M.E.Quincy, M.E.

1980s

YearActorRoleProgramNetwork
1980
(32nd)
Ed Asner Lou Grant Lou Grant CBS
James Garner Jim Rockford The Rockford Files NBC
Larry Hagman J. R. Ewing Dallas CBS
Jack Klugman R. Quincy Quincy, M.E. NBC
1981
(33rd)
Daniel J. Travanti Frank Furillo Hill Street Blues NBC
Ed AsnerLou GrantLou GrantCBS
Jim Davis (posthumously) Jock Ewing Dallas
Louis Gossett Jr. §Bessie's Father Palmerstown, U.S.A.
Larry HagmanJ. R. EwingDallas
Pernell Roberts Trapper John McIntyre Trapper John, M.D.
1982
(34th)
Daniel J. TravantiFrank FurilloHill Street BluesNBC
Ed AsnerLou GrantLou GrantCBS
John Forsythe Blake Carrington Dynasty ABC
James GarnerBret Maverick Bret Maverick NBC
Tom Selleck Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I. CBS
1983
(35th)
Ed Flanders Donald Westphall St. Elsewhere NBC
William Daniels Mark CraigSt. ElsewhereNBC
John ForsytheBlake CarringtonDynastyABC
Tom SelleckThomas MagnumMagnum, P.I.CBS
Daniel J. TravantiFrank FurilloHill Street BluesNBC
1984
(36th)
[1]
Tom SelleckThomas MagnumMagnum, P.I.CBS
William DanielsMark CraigSt. ElsewhereNBC
Ed FlandersDonald Westphall
John ForsytheBlake CarringtonDynastyABC
Daniel J. TravantiFrank FurilloHill Street BluesNBC
1985
(37th)
William DanielsMark CraigSt. ElsewhereNBC
Ed FlandersDonald WestphallSt. ElsewhereNBC
Don Johnson Sonny Crockett Miami Vice
Tom SelleckThomas MagnumMagnum, P.I.CBS
Daniel J. TravantiFrank FurilloHill Street BluesNBC
1986
(38th)
William DanielsMark CraigSt. ElsewhereNBC
Ed FlandersDonald WestphallSt. ElsewhereNBC
Tom SelleckThomas MagnumMagnum, P.I.CBS
Bruce Willis David Addison Moonlighting ABC
Edward Woodward Robert McCall The Equalizer CBS
1987
(39th)
Bruce WillisDavid AddisonMoonlightingABC
Corbin Bernsen Arnie Becker L.A. Law NBC
William DanielsMark CraigSt. Elsewhere
Ed FlandersDonald Westphall
Edward WoodwardRobert McCallThe EqualizerCBS
1988
(40th)
Richard Kiley Joe Gardner A Year in the Life NBC
Corbin BernsenArnie BeckerL.A. LawNBC
Ron Perlman Vincent Beauty and the Beast CBS
Michael Tucker Stuart MarkowitzL.A. LawNBC
Edward WoodwardRobert McCallThe EqualizerCBS
1989
(41st)
Carroll O'Connor Bill Gillespie In the Heat of the Night NBC
Ron PerlmanVincentBeauty and the BeastCBS
Michael TuckerStuart MarkowitzL.A. LawNBC
Ken Wahl Vinnie Terranova Wiseguy CBS
Edward WoodwardRobert McCallThe Equalizer

1990s

YearActorRoleProgramNetwork
1990
(42nd)
Peter Falk Columbo Columbo ABC
Scott Bakula Sam Beckett Quantum Leap NBC
Robert Loggia Nick Mancuso Mancuso, F.B.I.
Kyle MacLachlan Dale Cooper Twin Peaks ABC
Edward Woodward Robert McCall The Equalizer CBS
1991
(43rd)
James Earl Jones Gabriel Bird Gabriel's Fire ABC
Scott BakulaSam BeckettQuantum LeapNBC
Peter FalkColumboColumboABC
Kyle MacLachlanDale CooperTwin Peaks
Michael Moriarty Benjamin Stone Law & Order NBC
1992
(44th)
Christopher Lloyd §Alistair Dimple Road to Avonlea Disney Channel
Scott BakulaSam BeckettQuantum LeapNBC
Kirk Douglas §General Kalthrob Tales from the Crypt HBO
Michael MoriartyBenjamin StoneLaw & OrderNBC
Rob Morrow Joel Fleischman Northern Exposure CBS
Harrison Page §Reverend WaltersQuantum LeapNBC
Sam Waterston Forrest Bedford I'll Fly Away
1993
(45th)
Tom Skerritt Jimmy Brock Picket Fences CBS
Scott BakulaSam BeckettQuantum LeapNBC
Michael MoriartyBenjamin StoneLaw & Order
Rob MorrowJoel FleischmanNorthern ExposureCBS
Sam WaterstonForrest BedfordI'll Fly AwayNBC
1994
(46th)
Dennis Franz Andy Sipowicz NYPD Blue ABC
David Caruso John Kelly NYPD BlueABC
Peter FalkColumboColumbo
Michael MoriartyBenjamin StoneLaw & OrderNBC
Tom SkerrittJimmy BrockPicket FencesCBS
1995
(47th)
Mandy Patinkin Jeffrey Geiger Chicago Hope CBS
George Clooney Doug Ross ER NBC
Anthony Edwards Mark Greene
Dennis FranzAndy SipowiczNYPD BlueABC
Jimmy Smits Bobby Simone
1996
(48th)
Dennis FranzAndy SipowiczNYPD BlueABC
Andre Braugher Frank Pembleton Homicide: Life on the Street NBC
George ClooneyDoug RossER
Anthony EdwardsMark Greene
Jimmy SmitsBobby SimoneNYPD BlueABC
1997
(49th)
Dennis FranzAndy SipowiczNYPD BlueABC
David Duchovny Fox Mulder The X-Files Fox
Anthony EdwardsMark GreeneERNBC
Jimmy SmitsBobby SimoneNYPD BlueABC
Sam Waterston Jack McCoy Law & OrderNBC
1998
(50th)
Andre BraugherFrank PembletonHomicide: Life on the StreetNBC
David DuchovnyFox MulderThe X-FilesFox
Anthony EdwardsMark GreeneERNBC
Dennis FranzAndy SipowiczNYPD BlueABC
Jimmy SmitsBobby Simone
1999
(51st)
Dennis FranzAndy SipowiczNYPD BlueABC
James Gandolfini Tony Soprano The Sopranos HBO
Dylan McDermott Bobby Donnell The Practice ABC
Jimmy SmitsBobby SimoneNYPD Blue
Sam WaterstonJack McCoyLaw & OrderNBC

2000s

YearActorRoleProgramNetwork
2000
(52nd)
James Gandolfini Tony Soprano The Sopranos HBO
Dennis Franz Andy Sipowicz NYPD Blue ABC
Jerry Orbach Lennie Briscoe Law & Order NBC
Martin Sheen Josiah Bartlet The West Wing
Sam Waterston Jack McCoy Law & Order
2001
(53rd)
James GandolfiniTony SopranoThe SopranosHBO
Andre Braugher Dr. Ben Gideon Gideon's Crossing ABC
Dennis FranzAndy SipowiczNYPD Blue
Rob Lowe Sam Seaborn The West WingNBC
Martin SheenJosiah Bartlet
2002
(54th)
Michael Chiklis Vic Mackey The Shield FX
Michael C. Hall David Fisher Six Feet Under HBO
Peter Krause Nate Fisher
Martin SheenJosiah BartletThe West WingNBC
Kiefer Sutherland Jack Bauer 24 Fox
2003
(55th)
James GandolfiniTony SopranoThe SopranosHBO
Michael ChiklisVic MackeyThe ShieldFX
Peter KrauseNate FisherSix Feet UnderHBO
Martin SheenJosiah BartletThe West WingNBC
Kiefer SutherlandJack Bauer24Fox
2004
(56th)
James Spader Alan Shore The Practice ABC
James GandolfiniTony SopranoThe SopranosHBO
Anthony LaPaglia Jack Malone Without a Trace CBS
Martin SheenJosiah BartletThe West WingNBC
Kiefer SutherlandJack Bauer24Fox
2005
(57th)
James SpaderAlan Shore Boston Legal ABC
Hank Azaria Dr. Craig "Huff" Huffstodt Huff Showtime
Hugh Laurie Gregory House House Fox
Ian McShane Al Swearengen Deadwood HBO
Kiefer SutherlandJack Bauer24Fox
2006
(58th)
Kiefer SutherlandJack Bauer24Fox
Peter KrauseNate FisherSix Feet UnderHBO
Denis Leary Tommy Gavin Rescue Me FX
Christopher Meloni Elliot Stabler Law & Order: Special Victims Unit NBC
Martin SheenJosiah BartletThe West Wing
2007
(59th)
James SpaderAlan ShoreBoston LegalABC
James GandolfiniTony SopranoThe SopranosHBO
Hugh LaurieGregory HouseHouseFox
Denis LearyTommy GavinRescue MeFX
Kiefer SutherlandJack Bauer24Fox
2008
(60th)
Bryan Cranston Walter White Breaking Bad AMC
Gabriel Byrne Paul Weston In Treatment HBO
Michael C. Hall Dexter Morgan Dexter Showtime
Jon Hamm Don Draper Mad Men AMC
Hugh LaurieGregory HouseHouseFox
James SpaderAlan ShoreBoston LegalABC
2009
(61st)
Bryan CranstonWalter WhiteBreaking BadAMC
Simon Baker Patrick Jane The Mentalist CBS
Gabriel ByrnePaul WestonIn TreatmentHBO
Michael C. HallDexter MorganDexterShowtime
Jon HammDon DraperMad MenAMC
Hugh LaurieGregory HouseHouseFox

2010s

YearActorRoleProgramNetwork
2010
(62nd)
[2]
Bryan Cranston Walter White Breaking Bad AMC
Kyle Chandler Eric Taylor Friday Night Lights DirecTV
Matthew Fox Jack Shephard Lost ABC
Michael C. Hall Dexter Morgan Dexter Showtime
Jon Hamm Don Draper Mad Men AMC
Hugh Laurie Gregory House House Fox
2011
(63rd)
[3]
Kyle ChandlerEric TaylorFriday Night LightsDirecTV
Steve Buscemi Nucky Thompson Boardwalk Empire HBO
Michael C. HallDexter MorganDexterShowtime
Jon HammDon DraperMad MenAMC
Hugh LaurieGregory HouseHouseFox
Timothy Olyphant Raylan Givens Justified FX
2012
(64th)
[4]
Damian Lewis Nicholas Brody Homeland Showtime
Hugh Bonneville Robert Crawley Downton Abbey PBS
Steve BuscemiNucky ThompsonBoardwalk EmpireHBO
Bryan CranstonWalter WhiteBreaking BadAMC
Michael C. HallDexter MorganDexterShowtime
Jon HammDon DraperMad MenAMC
2013
(65th)
[5]
Jeff Daniels Will McAvoy The Newsroom HBO
Hugh BonnevilleRobert CrawleyDownton AbbeyPBS
Bryan CranstonWalter WhiteBreaking BadAMC
Jon HammDon DraperMad Men
Damian LewisNicholas BrodyHomelandShowtime
Kevin Spacey Frank Underwood House of Cards Netflix
2014
(66th)
[6]
Bryan CranstonWalter WhiteBreaking BadAMC
Jeff DanielsWill McAvoyThe NewsroomHBO
Jon HammDon DraperMad MenAMC
Woody Harrelson Martin Hart True Detective HBO
Matthew McConaughey Rust Cohle
Kevin SpaceyFrank UnderwoodHouse of CardsNetflix
2015
(67th)
[7]
Jon HammDon DraperMad MenAMC
Kyle ChandlerJohn Rayburn Bloodline Netflix
Jeff DanielsWill McAvoyThe NewsroomHBO
Bob Odenkirk Jimmy McGill Better Call Saul AMC
Liev Schreiber Ray Donovan Ray Donovan Showtime
Kevin SpaceyFrank UnderwoodHouse of CardsNetflix
2016
(68th)
[8]
Rami Malek Elliot Alderson Mr. Robot USA
Kyle ChandlerJohn RayburnBloodlineNetflix
Bob OdenkirkJimmy McGillBetter Call SaulAMC
Matthew Rhys Philip Jennings The Americans FX
Liev SchreiberRay DonovanRay DonovanShowtime
Kevin SpaceyFrank UnderwoodHouse of CardsNetflix
2017
(69th)
[9]
Sterling K. Brown Randall Pearson This Is Us NBC
Anthony Hopkins Dr. Robert Ford Westworld HBO
Bob OdenkirkJimmy McGillBetter Call SaulAMC
Matthew RhysPhilip JenningsThe AmericansFX
Liev SchreiberRay DonovanRay DonovanShowtime
Kevin SpaceyFrank UnderwoodHouse of CardsNetflix
Milo Ventimiglia Jack Pearson This Is UsNBC
2018
(70th)
[10]
Matthew RhysPhilip JenningsThe AmericansFX
Jason Bateman Martin "Marty" Byrde Ozark Netflix
Sterling K. BrownRandall PearsonThis Is UsNBC
Ed Harris The Man in Black / WilliamWestworldHBO
Milo VentimigliaJack PearsonThis Is UsNBC
Jeffrey Wright Bernard LoweWestworldHBO
2019
(71st)
Billy Porter Pray Tell Pose FX
Jason BatemanMartin "Marty" ByrdeOzarkNetflix
Sterling K. BrownRandall PearsonThis Is UsNBC
Kit Harington Jon Snow Game of Thrones HBO
Bob OdenkirkJimmy McGillBetter Call SaulAMC
Milo VentimigliaJack PearsonThis Is UsNBC

2020s

YearActorRoleProgramNetwork
2020
(72nd)
[11]
Jeremy Strong Kendall Roy Succession HBO
Jason Bateman Martin "Marty" Byrde Ozark Netflix
Sterling K. Brown Randall Pearson This Is Us NBC
Steve Carell Mitch Kessler The Morning Show Apple TV+
Brian Cox Logan RoySuccessionHBO
Billy Porter Pray Tell Pose FX
2021
(73rd)
[12]
Sterling K. BrownRandall PearsonThis Is UsNBC
Jonathan Majors Atticus Freeman Lovecraft Country HBO
Josh O'Connor Prince Charles The Crown Netflix
Regé-Jean Page Simon Bassett Bridgerton
Billy PorterPray TellPoseFX
Matthew Rhys Perry Mason Perry Mason HBO

Programs with multiple awards

Programs with multiple nominations

Performers with multiple awards

Performers with multiple nominations

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Early Emmy ceremonies did not have genre specific acting categories
  2. Originally titled "Make Room for Daddy", where the series was nominated twice.

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