A Timeline Of Historic Primetime Emmys Wins: From Cicely Tyson To Alfre Woodard
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A Timeline Of Historic Primetime Emmys Wins: From Cicely Tyson To Alfre Woodard

Black actors have showed up and showed out at the Primetime Emmys, paving the path for future Black actors and actresses. Here's a list of the times Black actors have made history as they've collected their well-earned hardware.

1960: Harry Belafonte becomes the first Black performer nominated for and winning the Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. Belafonte won for his show, Tonight with Belafonte (The Revlon Revue).

1970: Gail Fisher is the first Black actress to be nominated and win in the category of Oustanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Mannix.

1974: Cicely Tyson wins the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. She became the first Black actress nominated and win in the category. She also became the first Black actress to win an Emmy overall.

1977: Louis Gossett Jr. is the first Black actor to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his role in Roots. Olivia Cole wins for her supporting role in miniseries Roots. She becomes the first Black actress to be nominated and win in the category Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.

1979: Robert Guillaume becomes the first Black actor to be nominated and win in the category for comedic guest-starring roles. He was awarded for his guest-starring role on Soap. Esther Rolle becomes the second Black actress to win for her supporting role in a miniseries or movie, Summer of My German Soldier.

1981: Isabel Sanford becomes the first Black actress to win in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in The Jeffersons. 

1983: Leontyne Price is the second Black peformer to win the Emmy for an individual performance in a variety or music program thanks to her show, Leontyne Price, Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic (Live from Lincoln Center). 

1984: Alfre Woodard makes the list of history-makers as the second Black actress to win for her dramatic supporting role in Hill Street Blues. 

1985: Robert Guillaume wins for his role in Benson, becoming the first Black actor to win the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category.

1986: Roscoe Lee Browne becomes the first Black actor to win the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his guest role in The Cosby Show. Whitney Houston becomes the third Black performer to win for her individual performance in a variety show or music program. Her Emmy honors her performance at the 28th Annual Grammy Awards. 

1987: Alfre Woodard tops the list again as she becomes the first Black Actress to win the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role in L.A. Law. Jackee Harry becomes the first Black actress to win the Emmy for her comedic supporting role in 227.

1988: Beah Richards becomes the first Black actress to win the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in Frank's Place.

1989: Cleavon Little becomes second Black actor to win the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in Dear John. 

1991: James Earl Jones wins in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category for his role in Gabriel's Fire. he continues to make Emmys history by becoming the first Black actor to win in the category for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his role in Heat Wave. Madge Sinclair also wins this year for her dramatic supporting role in Gabriel's Fire, becoming the third actress to win in the category. Ruby Dee is the third Black actress to win for a dramatic supporting role in a miniseries or movie, Decoration Day. Lynn Whitfield also wins in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie category for her role in The Josephine Baker Story. 

1993: Laurence Fishburne becomes the first Black actor to be nominated and win the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role in Tribeca. Mary Alice wins the Emmy for her dramatic supporting role in I'll Fly Away. She's the fourth Black actress to do so.

1994: Cicely Tyson becomes the fourth Black actress to win the Emmy for a supporting dramatic role in a miniseries or movie, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. 

1995: Paul Winfield becomes the second Black actor to win in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series category for his role in Picket Fences.

1997: Alfre Woodard becomes just the third actress to win in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie category for her role in Miss Evers' Boys. 

1998: Andre Braugher wins the Emmy for his leading role in drama series Homicide: Life on the Street.

1999: Ja'net Dubois becomes the first Black performer nominated for and winning in the Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for her work on The PJs. She would win in the same category the following year.

2000: Halle Berry's leading role in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge earns her the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, making her the fourth actress to win the category. Beah Richards makes history again as the second Black actress to win for her guest role in a drama, The Practice.

2002-2003: Charles S. Dutton has back-to-back wins for his guest roles in The Practice and Without a Trace.

2003: Alfre Woodard follows Richards' guest actress win for The Practice and also wins in the same category for the same series. Wayne Brady is the fourth Black performer to win for his individual performance in a music program or variety show, Whose Line is it Anyway?. 

2004: Jeffrey Wright becomes the second Black actor to win for his dramatic supporting role in miniseries Angels in America. 

2005: S. Epatha Merkerson keeps the winning streak for Black actresses in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie category going with her win for her role in Lackawanna Blues. Keith David is the second Black performer to win the Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.

2006: Andre Braugher becomes the second Black actor to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his role in Thief.

2008: Glynn Turman wins the Emmy for his guest role in In Treatment. Keith David would repeat his win in the Outstanding Voice-Over category for his work on The War. 

2011: Loretta Devine becomes the fourth Black actress to win an Emmy for a dramatic guest-starring role, this time for Grey's Anatomy. 

2014: Joe Morton wins for his guest role in Scandal. Uzo Aduba becomes the second Black actress to win the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in Orange is the New Black.

2015: Viola Davis becomes the first Black actress to win in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in How to Get Away with Murder. Reg E. Cathey wins for his guest role in House of Cards. Uzo Aduba wins for her supporting role on Orange is the New Black again, but this time, her nomination is placed in the dramatic category. Regina King is the fifth Black actress to win for her dramatic supporting role in a miniseries or movie, American Crime.

2016: Courtney B. Vance becomes the third Black actor to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role in The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. Sterling K. Brown wins for his dramatic supporting role in the same miniseries. He's the third Black actor to win in the dramatic supporting actor for a miniseries or movie category. King repeats her win the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie category with her role in American Crime. RuPaul Charles becomes the first Black host to win the Emmy for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program for RuPaul's Drag Race. Keith David becomes the first Black narrator to win the Emmy for his narration of Jackie Robinson. 

2017: Sterling K. Brown won in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category for This Is Us. Donald Glover also wins for his leading role in Atlanta, becoming the second Black actor to win in the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Dave Chappelle wins an Emmy for his guest role on Saturday Night Live, making him the third Black actor to win in the category for guest actors in a comedy series.

2018: Ron Cephas Jones wins for his role in This Is Us. Regina King also wins the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her role in Seven Seconds. Katt Williams wins the Emmy for his guest role in Atlanta, becoming the fourth Black actor to win the comedy category for guest actors. Tiffany Haddish becomes the third Black actress to win for her guest role in a comedy, Saturday Night Live. Samira Wiley wins for her dramatic guest-starring role in The Handmaid's Tale. Thandie Newton becomes the sixth Black actress to win for a supporting dramatic role, this time for Westworld. 

2019: Billy Porter becomes the first openly gay Black man to be nominated and win in any lead acting category for his role in Pose. He was nominated in the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, becoming the fifth person to win in the category. Jharrel Jerome also becomes the fourth Black actor to win in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie category and the first Afro-Latino to win an acting Emmy for When They See Us. 

2020: Ron Cephas Jones repeats his guest win for his role in This Is Us. At 24 years old, Zendaya also made history as the youngest winner in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Euphoria. Her win also makes her the second Black actress to win the category. Regina King also wins in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie category for her leading role in Watchmen. Eddie Murphy becomes the fifth Black actor to win an Emmy for his guest-starring role in a comedy, Saturday Night Live. Maya Rudolph wins the guest actress Emmy in the same comedic category for the same series. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is the fourth Black actor to win in the category for supporting actors in minseries or TV movies for his role in Watchmen. Uzo Aduba wins the Emmy for her supporting role in Mrs. America, becoming the sixth actress to win the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. Maya Rudolph becomes the first Black performer to win the Emmy for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance for her role in the Big Mouth episode "How To Have An Orgasm."

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