Dying is easy; winning an Emmy is hard

Kathryn Joosten won two Emmys for guesting on “Desperate Housewives.” Less than seven weeks after her death on June 2, TV academy members paid tribute to her with a nomination as Best Comedy Supporting Actress for her role as the busybody neighbor Karen McCluskey.

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While four of our Experts, two Editors and many Users are predicting her to win, Emmy history says otherwise. Voters just aren’t sentimental when it comes to giving out their trophies. Since 1980, 13 performers were nominated after they died but only one — Raul Julia for his lead performance in the 1995 telefilm “The Burning Season” — prevailed. VIEW GALLERY

In the dramatic categories, the posthumous nominees were Michael Conrad (“Hill Street Blues”), Jim Davis (“Dallas”), Ossie Davis (“The L Word”) and Nancy Marchand (“The Sopranos”).

Comedic nods went to the late Nicholas Colasanto (“Cheers”), Selma Diamond (“Night Court”), Phil Hartman (“NewsRadio”), John Ritter (“8 Simple Rules”), and Danny Thomas (“Empty Nest”).

In addition to Julia, the TV movie/miniseries bids were by the recently-departed Jack Albertson (“My Body, My Child”), Richard Burton (“Ellis Island”), and J.T. Walsh (“Hope”).

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Two actresses have won Emmys after they died, but in each instance they passed away after voting was over. Ingrid Bergman was named Best TV Movie/Miniseries Actress for “A Woman Called Golda” three weeks after she died in 1982. And Colleen Dewhurst won her second Best Comedy Guest Actress award for “Murphy Brown” just three days after she died in 1991. 

4 thoughts on “Dying is easy; winning an Emmy is hard

  1. Alice Pearce’s posthumous 1966 win and Marion Lorne’s posthumous 1968 win, both for Supporting Actress on “Bewitched” deserve mention as well — although I don’t know how their deaths factored into the voting.

  2. Don’t forget Will Geer’s THREE posthumous nominations in 1978…Supporting Actor (Drama) for The Waltons, Guest Actor for The Love Boat and Guest Supporting Actor for Eight is Enough

  3. “Dying is easy”? Was “I Won An Emmy And All I Got Was This Stupid Lung Cancer” taken? I mean, really. Have a *modicum* of respect. Shame on you, Chris.

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