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

Updated May 21, 2020 26.5k votes 2.8k voters 25.7k 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
    Steve Carell is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    1,270
    361

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

  • 2
    Hugh Laurie is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    909
    472
    House M.D. as Gregory House (Nom. Lead Actor in a Drama Series 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011)
  • 3
    Nick Offerman is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
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    286
    Parks and Recreation as Ron Swanson
  • 4
    Chris Pratt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
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    439
    Parks and Recreation as Andy Dwyer
  • 5
    Ed O'Neill is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
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    366

    Ed O'Neill

    Age: 73
    Modern Family as Jay Pritchett (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 2011 - 2013)
  • 6
    Steve Buscemi is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    766
    380

    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)

  • 7
    Jonathan Banks is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    333
    253

    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
    Jason Bateman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    221
    92
  • 9
    Don Cheadle is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    147
    91
  • 10
    George Clooney is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    553
    431
    ER as Doug Ross (Nom. Lead Actor in a Drama Series 1995 - 1996)
  • 11
    Rob Lowe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    414
    337

    Rob Lowe

    Age: 55

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

  • 12
    Jason Alexander is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    444
    366
    Seinfeld as George Costanza (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 1992 - 1998)
  • 13
    Michael C. Hall is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    356
    304
    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)
  • 14
    Henry Winkler is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    842
    566

    voting closed at #14

    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)

  • 15
    Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    52
    18
  • 16
    Christopher Meloni is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    388
    345
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Det. Elliot Stabler (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series 2006)
  • 17
    Matt LeBlanc is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    145
    103
  • 18
    Michael Kelly is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    253
    186
    House of Cards as Doug Stamper (Nom. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series 2013)
  • 19
    Patrick Stewart is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    232
    63
  • 20
    Andy Griffith is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    549
    302

    Andy Griffith

    Dec. at 86 (1926-2012)
    The Andy Griffith Show as Andy Griffith
  • 21
    Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    426
    317
    Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld (Nom. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 1992 - 1996)
  • 22
    Sean Bean is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    152
    124

    Sean Bean

    Age: 60
  • 23
    Anthony Anderson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    129
    74
  • 24
    Freddie Highmore is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    115
    98
  • 25
    Kristen Wiig is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Emmy (For Acting)
    41
    25
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