There have been some groundbreaking and memorable moments during the history of the Daytime Emmy Awards, many evoking huge smiles and applause from the assembled soap opera stars in the audience.
Soap Opera’s Top 10 Daytime Emmy Moments
The Daytime Emmys have had many incarnations — a dinner, on network television, and even on the Internet. Here’s a look back at the Top 10 all-time greatest moments for the soap community.
1. Major Milestone
Al Freeman Jr. made daytime history in 1979 when he became the first African-American actor to win the Outstanding Lead Actor trophy. He’d delivered a powerful performance as One Life to Live’s Ed Hall, a police captain leading an investigation into a local murder.
2. The First Time
Although a couple of soap awards were originally doled out at the Primetime Emmys, the genre got its own separate ceremony in 1974. Barbara Walters and Peter Marshall hosted the afternoon gala, which was broadcast live from the Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center in New York.
3. Teen Sensation
A 19-year-old Judi Evans ruffled a few feathers among the industry’s seasoned vets, when she became the youngest performer to win the Supporting Actress category in 1984. The very next year, an Outstanding Young Actress category was added to the mix.
4. The Last Hurrah
Bridget Dobson, who created Santa Barbara with her husband Jerome Dobson, charged the stage at the 1988 ceremony when the soap was named Outstanding Drama Series. The couple had been locked out of the studio, after trying to fire head writer, Anne Howard Bailey, and filed a $53 million lawsuit against NBC and New World Television. “Though New World Television locked me out of the studio, they couldn’t lock me out of the Emmys,” declared a triumphant Dobson.
5. Father Daytime
In 1992, Jeanne Cooper (ex-Katherine, The Young and the Restless) presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to William J. Bell, following a video presentation of his soap opera work translated into different languages. “In any language, your genius doth shine, kind sir,” declared Cooper to her longtime boss, best known as the creator of Another World, YR, and The Bold and the Beautiful. Bell promptly summoned his wife, Lee Phillip Bell, to the stage, noting that in 38 years marriage, not only had they been inseparable in their personal lives but also their careers.
6. Viva La Lucci
“The streak is over,” declared presenter Shemar Moore at the 1999 Daytime Emmy ceremony, when, after 19 nominations, All My Children’s Susan Lucci was named the Outstanding Lead Actress winner. Her losing streak, a top entertainment news story for nearly two decades, was finally replaced by a victory article.
7. Rock On
The Daytime Emmys switched locations from New York to Hollywood in 2006, making its debut from the Kodak Theater, and it was a rip-roaring night to remember. Musician and former General Hospital star Rick Springfield (ex-Noah Drake) opened the show with a mix of his greatest songs, including mega-hit Jesse’s Girl.
8. All Tied Up
For the first time ever two shows tied for the coveted Outstanding Drama Series in 2007. Guiding Light and The Young and the Restless, both on the CBS network, shared the honors.
9. Crazy Eighth
Anthony Geary took home the gold as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Luke Spencer on General Hospital in 2015. It marked the eighth time he’d been awarded the honor for the role; the highest number of victories for any performer in an acting category.
10. Terrific Ten
Ten daytime super soap opera vets were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. Minus the late Anna Lee (ex-Lila, GH), they all gathered on stage as the audience applauded them and their contribution to the genre. The group included Rachel Ames (Audrey, GH) John Clarke (Mickey, Days), Jeanne Cooper (Katherine, Y&R), Eileen Fulton (Lisa, As the World Turns), Don Hastings (Bob, As the World Turns), Ray MacDonnell (Joe, All My Children), Frances Reid (Alice, Days), Helen Wagner (Nancy, As the World Turns) and Ruth Warrick (Phoebe, All My Children).