Entertainment
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The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)

Updated May 21, 2020 31.1k votes 2.8k voters 26.7k views82 items

List RulesMale actors, primarily known for TV work, who have been eligible for an Emmy award in an acting category - but haven't won.

What do Steve Carrell, Jerry Seinfeld, and Ed O'Neill have in common? No, it's not fame, fortune, or prestige. (Although they all have those too.) All three are one of TV's most iconic actors who have never won an Emmy. Shocked? You should be.

Michael Landon never won an Emmy for his stellar work on Little House on the Prairie after nine years on the show and his white hot run as Joe Cartwright. “Why didn’t you win an Emmy, Pa?” Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls might have said. Shoot, even Nellie Oleson felt bad for him. The Emmy snub for Landon is not rare. There are many actors who never won an Emmy. It’s a shocking list.

Jackie Gleason? Entertained millions night after night, but never won an Emmy. Hugh Laurie, who’s British and classically trained, acted his thespian hindquarters off season after season on House. But no Emmy for the cantankerous doctor. Jerry Seinfeld? He changed American culture, changed comedy on TV, and created new archetypes. He never won an Emmy. What’s the deal with all of these actors getting the big finger from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences?

Could any one of these Emmy snubs be blamed on politics, bad memories, or an aversion to consistent talent and hard work? Whatever the reasoning, it certainly doesn’t follow any kind of logic. George Clooney and Chistopher Meloni got the Emmy Snub, along with Jason Alexander despite his eight Emmy nominations.  

American’s beloved single dad, Andy Griffith, was never counted among those who won Emmys no matter how many times he took Opie fishing. Or how about Ed O’Neill? He’s been hilarious since Married with Children and he’s had to watch his Modern Family costars outshine his decades-long career.

Of all of the talented actors who never won an Emmy on this list, who was most deserving of the recognition? Vote up the Emmy snubs that you're most surprised by below. It might be hard to believe that each actor below has never won an Emmy for acting on television, even though he was eligible or even nominated. But it's true!

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  • 1
    1,203
    322

    The Office as Michael Scott (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 2006 - 2011)

  • 2
    868
    428
    House M.D. as Gregory House (Nom. Lead Actor in a Drama Series 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011)
  • 3
    854
    325

    Bernie Mac

    Dec. at 51 (1957-2008)
    The Bernie Mac Show (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 2002 - 2003)
  • 4
    670
    400
    Parks and Recreation as Andy Dwyer
  • 5
    470
    267
    Parks and Recreation as Ron Swanson
  • 6
    578
    333

    Ed O'Neill

    Age: 74
    Modern Family as Jay Pritchett (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 2011 - 2013)
  • 7
    315
    237

    Breaking Bad as Mike Ehrmantraut (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series 2008), Better Call Saul as Mike Ehrmantraut (Nom. Outstanding Support Actor in a Drama Series 2015 - 2016)

  • 8
    728
    343

    Boardwalk Empire as Nucky Thompson (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series 2011 - 2012), The Sopranos as Tony Blundetto (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series 2004)

  • 9
    400
    314

    Rob Lowe

    Age: 56

    The West Wing as Sam Seaborn (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series 2001); Parks and Recreation as Chris Traeger

  • 10
    338
    283
    Dexter as Dexter Morgan (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series 2008 - 2012), Six Feet Under as David Fisher (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series 2002)
  • 11
    203
    84
  • 12
    137
    84
  • 13
    421
    343
    Seinfeld as George Costanza (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 1992 - 1998)
  • 14
    51
    16
  • 15
    366
    321
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Det. Elliot Stabler (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series 2006)
  • 16
    532
    395
    ER as Doug Ross (Nom. Lead Actor in a Drama Series 1995 - 1996)
  • 17
    836
    552

    voting closed at #17

    Henry Winkler

    Age: 74

    Barry as Gene Cousineau (Winner: Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 2018);

    Happy Days as Arthur Fonzarelli (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 1976 - 1978)

  • 18
    1,104
    296
    Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 1992 - 1996)
  • 19
    133
    98
  • 20
    806
    250

    Desi Arnaz

    Dec. at 69 (1917-1986)

    I Love Lucy as Ricky Ricardo

  • 21
    206
    57
  • 22
    38
    21
  • 23
    520
    274

    Andy Griffith

    Dec. at 86 (1926-2012)
    The Andy Griffith Show as Andy Griffith
  • 24
    317
    296

    X-Files as Fox Mulder (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series 1997 - 1998); Californication as Hank Moody

  • 25
    232
    242

    Hugh Dancy

    Age: 45

    Elizabeth I as Earl of Essex (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie 2006);Hannibal as Will Graham