15 couples with Emmys
From Hollywood royalty to four lucky couples who took home Emmy awards on the same night, some couples just make love and working together look easy. From Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks to Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin, here are some legendary power couples who have been blessed by the Television Academy.
Anne Bancroft earned an Oscar, two Tony Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and two Emmys over the course of her storied career; one Emmy for the variety show The Women in the Life of a Man in 1970 and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie Emmy for 1999’s Deep in My Heart on CBS. Mel Brooks scored his first Emmy for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Variety in 1967 for his work on The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special, and then won the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for three years in a row for his role as Uncle Phil on the popular 1990’s sitcom Mad About You.
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Bonnie Bartlett and William Daniels got to experience the thrill of them both winning Emmys on the same night for their performances on the medical drama St. Elsewhere in 1986. Bartlett earned three Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series nominations and two wins for her role as Ellen Craig while Daniels saw five nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series with two wins for his part of Dr. Mark Craig.
Known for her impressive career on Broadway, Colleen Dewhurst earned 13 Emmy nominations and two wins for her television efforts. Her first Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Special win was for the ABC movie Between Two Women in 1986, and she earned a second win in the category in 1989 for her role in the NBC movie Those She Left Behind. Dewhurst took home a second Emmy at the 1989 awards show in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series category for her role as Avery Brown on Murphy Brown, a part that earned her a second win in the category two years later in 1991. George C. Scott saw eight Emmy nominations with two wins over the years, including one for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie in 1998 for his work in Showtime’s adaptation of 12 Angry Men, but it’s his win for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in 1971 for The Price while he was married to Dewhurst that lands him on this list.
Another couple that was honored at the Emmys during the same awards show! Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt spent much of their legendary careers acting in the same productions on stage, in film, and on television, but it was their portrayals of Fanny Bowditch Holmes and Oliver Wendell Holmes in NBC’s Hallmark Hall of Fame anthology series presentation of The Magnificent Yankee that earned each Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment - Actors and Performers wins in 1965.
Indie film and stage veterans Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy are no strangers to award shows, but the Emmys have not been as generous with wins as they have been with nominations for the power couple. Huffman has been nominated for five Emmys, but her only win came for the first season of ABC’s Desperate Housewives in 2005. Macy has seen 14 Emmy nominations in his career, including five Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series nominations for Shameless, and took home two trophies in 2003 for Outstanding Lead Actor In a Miniseries or a Movie and Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special for his work on TNT’s Door To Door.
Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn often appeared together on stage, screen, and television over the course of their 52-year marriage, but they earned their Emmys with different projects. Tandy won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special for CBS’ presentation of Hallmark Hall of Fame film Foxfire in 1988 while Cronyn was honored with three Emmys — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special in 1990 for HBO’s Age-Old Friends, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Special for ABC’s production of Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound in 1992, and a second Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special award for CBS’ To Dance With the White Dog, which he costarred in with his wife.
With Marlo Thomas, Emmys just run in the family. Not only does she have an Emmy for Outstanding Children's Special (Marlo Thomas and Friends in Free to Be...You and Me, 1974), based on her children’s empowerment book and record, she earned an Outstanding Children's Program Emmy in 1989 for her follow up project Free to Be... a Family. Marlo was also nominated four times for her popular sitcom That Girl, and won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special for CBS’ Nobody's Child in 1986. Her father, Danny Thomas, not only earned an Emmy for Best Actor Starring in a Regular Series in 1951, he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1991, and was honored with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award in 2004. Meanwhile, her husband, talk show host Phil Donahue, earned multiple Daytime Emmys, including 10 for Outstanding Talk or Service Show Host, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. Donahue was also inducted to the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1993.
Emmy magic doesn’t just happen between actors. Lynn Whitfield was honored for her portrayal of Josephine Baker in the The Josephine Baker Story with an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Special win, while then-husband Brian Gibson took home the prize for Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries or a Special. EW reviewer Ken Tucker had this to say about The Josephine Baker Story in 1991: “Whitfield is exceptionally good as the legendary singer-dancer who came to prominence in the ’20s for her throaty singing and her notorious ‘banana dance’ — a wiggly little number executed while wearing nothing except a skirt of real bananas. Whitfield and director Brian Gibson (Drug Wars: The Camarena Story) utilize cable television’s artistic freedom in showing us the dance, [and for that] the nation should feel profoundly grateful, but Whitfield’s skill is more than banana-skin deep. When Whitfield reproduces Baker’s elaborate stage act, you can see why Baker was such a sensation — she fully conveys not only Baker’s sexiness but also her passion, her eccentricity, and her gift for improvisation.”
Hollywood royalty without matching Emmys on the shelf? Not when it comes to these two legends. Joanne Woodward earned an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series in 1978 for See How She Runs, an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special Emmy for Do You Remember Love in 1985, and an Outstanding Informational Special Emmy for the “Broadway's Dreamers: The Legacy of the Group Theatre” episode of American Masters on PBS. Paul Newman won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his performance in HBO’s Empire Falls in 2005.
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Carrie Preston won the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series on The Good Wife in 2013 for her role as Elsbeth Tascioni, a part that would see Preston earn a second nomination in 2016. Her husband, five-time Emmy nominee Michael Emerson, took home Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for The Practice in 2001 and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2009 for his part as Ben Linus on Lost.
Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond share three Outstanding Comedy Series Emmys for 30 Rock, and are both nominated for the 2020 Outstanding Television Movie Emmy for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend, an interactive special on Netflix where viewers could pick their own ending in a very Choose Your Own Adventure-style movie filled with Easter eggs.
Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin share three Emmy Awards for writing Tomlin’s comedy specials; Best Writing in Comedy-Variety, Variety or Music for Lily in 1974, Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Special for The Lily Tomlin Special in 1976, and Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program for Lily: Sold Out in 1981, while Tomlin herself has an additional Emmys for Outstanding Comedy-Variety, Variety or Music Special for Lily, for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Special for NBC’s The Paul Simon Special in 1978, and an Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for her narration An Apology to Elephants. The couple married in 2014 after four decades together.
Producer Thomas Schlamme saw his first Emmy win in 1997 for Tracey Takes On..., which he followed with an Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Emmy in 1999 for Sports Night, but it was The Wing Wing that earned Schlamme an additional seven Emmy wins, including four for Outstanding Drama Series. Actress Christine Lahti has an Oscar, two Golden Globes, and one Primetime Emmy, winning the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Emmy in 1998 for her role as Dr. Kathryn Austin on the medical drama Chicago Hope.
James Brolin won the Emmy for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama in 1970 for his work as Dr. Steven Kiley on Marcus Welby, M.D., a role he would be nominated for again in 1971, 1972, and 1973. Brolin was also nominated for an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Emmy in 2004 for his portrayal of Ronald Reagan in The Reagans. Barbra Streisand won her first Emmy in the category of Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment - Actors and Performers for 1965’s My Name Is Barbra, her second Emmy for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special for 1995’s Barbra: The Concert, and the 2001 Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program for her Timeless: Live in Concert performance.
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While Sarah Paulson has been nominated five times for her work on the anthology series American Horror Story, it was her portrayal of District Attorney Marcia Clark on American Crime Story in 2016 that saw her take home the trophy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie. Paulson was also nominated in the same category for 2012’s Game Change, HBO’s movie about Sarah Palin. Holland Taylor won the 1999 Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her turn on ABC’s The Practice. Taylor was nominated again for The Practice along with The Lot in 2000 before being nominated for her role as mother and grandmother Evelyn Harper on Two and Half Men in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2010, and is up for the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie in 2020 for her performance in Hollywood.
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