Catherine O’Hara is no bébé, but she is now the second oldest Best Comedy Actress Emmy champ ever. The “Schitt’s Creek” star, who was the season-long favorite, won the prize on Sunday at 66 years young.
O’Hara edged out Bea Arthur for the No. 2 spot. Arthur was also 66 when she triumphed for “The Golden Girls” in 1988, but O’Hara has her beat when you get down to the days: She was 66 years, 6 months and 17 days old on Emmy night vs. Arthur’s 66 years, 3 months and 16 days. They don’t come close at all to the record holder in the category, which was formally established in 1966 (previous years, outside of 1959, were not genre specific): Ruth Gordon was 82 years, 10 months and 11 days old when she prevailed for “Taxi” in 1979.
Gordon’s win does come with an asterisk. The acting and screenwriting legend — who was also born in the 19th century (1896) — was an unequivocal guest star on “Taxi,” having only ever appeared in that one episode for which she won over the sitcom’s five-season run (Carol Kane was also a “Taxi” guest star who won this category in 1982 before becoming a series regular). That mean’s O’Hara is the oldest comedy actress winner who was actually a series regular on her show.
With O’Hara’s victory, there are now four actresses who’ve won this category in their 60s, the others being Betty White, who was 64 years and 8 months old at the time of her win for “The Golden Girls” in 1986, and Isabel Sanford, the category’s only Black champ, who took home the honor for “The Jeffersons” 16 days after her 64th birthday in 1981. Most comedy actress winners have been in their 30s or 40s.
O’Hara, who won a writing Emmy for “SCTV” in 1982, was by far the grand dame of he category. The next oldest nominee was Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”), who is 48, followed by 47-year-old Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”) and 45-year-old Linda Cardellini. Issa Rae (“Insecure”) is 35, and Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) was the youngest at 30. Brosnahan, who was 28 when she won two years ago, is the category’s second youngest champ after then-23-year-old America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”), who dominated the season in 2007.