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

Updated May 21, 2020 25.6k votes 2.8k voters 25.9k 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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  • Steve Carell1
    1,206
    325

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

  • Hugh Laurie2
    873
    429
    House M.D. as Gregory House (Nom. Lead Actor in a Drama Series 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011)
  • Bernie Mac3
    855
    325

    Bernie Mac

    Dec. at 51 (1957-2008)
    The Bernie Mac Show (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 2002 - 2003)
  • Nick Offerman4
    472
    268
    Parks and Recreation as Ron Swanson
  • Ed O'Neill5
    582
    335

    Ed O'Neill

    Age: 74
    Modern Family as Jay Pritchett (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 2011 - 2013)
  • Chris Pratt6
    671
    402
    Parks and Recreation as Andy Dwyer
  • Steve Buscemi7
    729
    345

    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)

  • Jonathan Banks8
    316
    239

    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)

  • Jason Bateman9
    200
    86
  • George Clooney10
    533
    398
    ER as Doug Ross (Nom. Lead Actor in a Drama Series 1995 - 1996)
  • Rob Lowe11
    402
    317

    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

  • Michael C. Hall12
    340
    285
    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)
  • Don Cheadle13
    136
    84
  • Jason Alexander14
    422
    345
    Seinfeld as George Costanza (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 1992 - 1998)
  • Angela Lansbury15
    51
    17
  • Christopher Meloni16
    368
    323
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Det. Elliot Stabler (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series 2006)
  • Henry Winkler17
    837
    553

    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)

  • Patrick Stewart18
    207
    59
  • Matt LeBlanc19
    134
    100
  • Andy Griffith20
    522
    278

    Andy Griffith

    Dec. at 86 (1926-2012)
    The Andy Griffith Show as Andy Griffith
  • Freddie Highmore21
    109
    91
  • Jerry Seinfeld22
    406
    299
    Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 1992 - 1996)
  • Sean Bean23
    140
    118

    Sean Bean

    Age: 61
  • Zach Braff24
    144
    82

    Zach Braff

    Age: 44
  • David Duchovny25
    318
    298

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