2012 Primetime Emmys: Did Julia Louis-Dreyfus Break A Record With Third Victory?

Related: Nikki Finke: Live-Snarking The 64th Emmys

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TV coverage

The win by Julia Louis-Dreyfus for lead actress in a comedy series sent Emmys historians scrambling to the record books to discover whether anyone had previously won trophies for regular roles in three different series — as Louis-Dreyfus now has for Seinfeld (supporting comedy actress, 1996), The New Adventures Of Old Christine (lead comedy actress, 2006) and this year for HBO’s Veep (lead comedy actress). There had been speculation that it had been done previously by Betty White for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls and — way back in 1952 — something called Life With Elizabeth. But the only problem is, neither IMDb nor the TV Academy have a record of White winning for Life With Elizabeth.

There was, however, one previous winner of Emmys for roles in three different shows: Tyne Daly, for lead in Cagney & Lacey (1983-1985, 1988) and her supporting work in Christy (1996) and Judging Amy (2003). The significance of the achievement wasn’t lost on Louis-Dreyfus: Asked backstage to compare tonight’s win with her victories in other years, she said, “I would say this is a helluva lot of good fortune. I mean, I need an Advil. I have a headache….But really, I can’t believe it. I’m very thrilled and moved.”

Related: 2012 Primetime Emmys Winners’ List

(Photo: Getty Images) 

    1. I dunno…her timing is impeccable and I came a little late to the VEEP game, but I think it’s a pretty good show…. and I usually hate everything… I even started watching NEW ADVENTURES on syndication and I find it quite enjoyable.

      …and this is coming from a failed (fired) sitcom writer, who is usually bitter at everything…


  1. Everyone will hark on this but if you actually watch Veep it is indeed a fun little show. But did she deserve to win? Probably not.

  2. Julia is amazing on Veep and the show is great. Based on Emmy submissions, it was actually Tina Fey who deserved to win for an amazing episode, with Julia and Amy neck and neck for second place. So at least it was deserved.

    It’s just a shame that Amy Poehler gets to loose every single damn time. At least she shows each year how awesome she is with these moments she prepares for the category. It’s sad to see her loose.

    They should consider how awesome her Emmy speech could be.

    1. Agreed re: Amy Poehler. She’s the only actress nominated to have made me both laugh til I cried, and genuinely cry, in the same 22 minute episode of television. She is spectacular.

  3. And it should be noted for the record that Kelsey Grammer won for playing the SAME character in three different series: CHEERS, FRASIER and (as a guest star) WINGS.

        1. Actually, a quick check of his IMDB page confirms that he did not win. He was nominated for Cheers in 1988 and 1990. He lost to John John Larroquette in Night Court and Alex Rocco in The Famous Teddy Z. In 1992 he was nominated for Wings and lost to Craig T. Nelson in Coach.

  4. Did Jon Cryer set a record tonight as well? Has anyone else won Best Supporting and Best Lead Actor for the same role on the same show?

    1. Allison Janney on “The West Wing”, Patricia Wettig on “thirtysomething” and I think there are others. It’s not that uncommon.

    2. I wondered the same thing about Jon Cryer winning both awards for the same character in a comedy series. I don’t think there is anyone else who has won both. I looked at Kelsey Grammar’s and Sherman Hemsley’s bios but they didn’t win for best supporting actor. If somebody else knows of another actor, please enlighten me.

  5. VEEP … a disappointment, but that said, I’m rather fond of JLD and she can keep her award even IF I think Amy deserved it more.

    Still … every time I watch VEEP I am struck by the paucity of its humour when compared with ‘The Thick Of It’, the Brit show from which it was inspired. Do yourselves a favour and look for it on youtube or some other file-sharing service because it ROCKS. And quite frankly craps all over the US ‘version’ of the show. My ten fils. :-)

  6. Veep is hilarious. That said, I wouldn’t have gone with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I would have loved to see Amy win.

  7. I like Julia, but find Veep tedious as hell. It’s the same joke over and over and over and it wasn’t even that funny the first time. And Julia is basically playing Elaine as VP. SO many more qualified actresses for the award this year.

  8. I found Veep to be a fresh funny satirical comedy and JDL pulls it off effortlessly and hilariously. I had her pegged to win bit would also have been stoned if Amy P won since she is also deserving for Parks.

  9. The source of the confusion over Betty White’s win for Life with Elizabeth is that she won a local Emmy for Los Angeles programming, not a Primetime Emmy, in one of the first years that separate ceremonies for the two existed. White’s account of that Regional Emmy win (in which she unexpectedly beat Zsa Zsa Gabor) was quoted a lot around the time of her Saturday Night Live nomination, creating the false impression that she’d won an early Primetime Emmy.

  10. Looks like Emmy was trying to go for history rather than actual merit. I love Veep, it’s fast-paced and smart, but don’t think JLD is Emmy material in it. On the other hand, those SNL chicks (Fey, Poehler, Wiig, et al) are jammed down our throats; over-hyped and annoying. Tough call.

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