Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is an award presented annually by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role on a television drama series for the primetime network season.

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
The 2022 recipient: Zendaya
Awarded forOutstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
CountryUnited States
Presented byAcademy of Television Arts & Sciences
First awarded1954
Currently held byZendaya,
Euphoria (2022)
Websiteemmys.com

The award was first presented at the 6th Primetime Emmy Awards on February 11, 1954. The acting awards presented during the inaugural years were not genre-specific, with actresses in either drama or comedy series receiving nominations and awards. While Eve Arden was the first winner in the female acting category, Loretta Young was the first actress to win for a lead performance in a drama series. By 1966, the acting awards were split into drama and comedy categories, undergoing several name changes until settling with the current title.

Since its inception, the award has been given to 36 actresses, with 31 winning for performances in a drama series. At four awards, Tyne Daly and Michael Learned hold the record for most wins in the category. Angela Lansbury is the most nominated actress in the category, with twelve nominations, though she has never won the award. In 2015, Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to win the award, for her performance as Annalise Keating on "How to Get Away with Murder". Zendaya is the current, as well as youngest, recipient of the award for her work on Euphoria.


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