When Laura Linney accepted the 2013 Best TV Movie/Limited Series Actress Emmy for portraying Cathy Jamison on “The Big C: Hereafter,” she joined an elite group of women who have amassed four victories for as many different primetime programs. Cloris Leachman became the first to achieve the feat in 1984, followed by Alfre Woodard in 2003 and Betty White in 2010. Four years after concluding her run as Jamison, which she began when “The Big C” was classified as a comedy series, Linney took on her second regular role as Wendy Byrde on Netflix’s “Ozark.”
Linney’s performance as Byrde brought her three bids for the Best Drama Actress award between 2019 and 2022. During the show’s two-part fourth and final season, her money-laundering character develops into an even more ruthless and calculating high-end criminal whose mental state sometimes wavers when she is reminded of her brother’s murder or her father’s abusive nature. Linney received her last “Ozark” nomination at age 58 and thus solidified her position as the 10th oldest competitor in her category’s history.
The television academy has recognized the work of lead actresses on continuing drama programs since the sixth Emmys ceremony in 1954. The award’s inaugural recipient was Loretta Young (“The Loretta Young Show”), while the most recent was Olivia Colman (“The Crown”).
Check out our photo gallery to find out who ranks ahead of Linney on the list of 10 oldest Best Drama Actress Emmy nominees.