10 oldest Emmy winners of Best Comedy Actor

Before John Lithgow brought home Primetime Emmy awards for his dramatic work on “Dexter” (2010) and “The Crown” (2017), he nabbed a trio of prizes for playing the role of Dick Solomon on the sitcom “3rd Rock from the Sun.” The series’ bizarre premise was centered on the earthly expedition of a team of extraterrestrials disguised as a typical American family, with Lithgow’s character posing as their patriarch. 

Lithgow’s final win for this role came for the fourth season episode, “What’s Love Got to Do, Got to Do with Dick?,” in which Solomon navigates an attraction toward a colleague, played by Best Comedy Guest Actress nominee Laurie Metcalf. Being 53 at the time of his victory, Lithgow was the eighth oldest champion in his category, but currently ranks 10th. This is due to the fact that, over the last six years alone, the category has seen its first two septuagenarian winners. 

Since 1954, a total of 38 actors have won Emmys for their lead roles on continuing comedy programs, beginning with Donald O’Connor (“The Colgate Comedy Hour”). Including Lithgow, 16 of the winners have bagged two or more trophies.

Check out our photo gallery to find out who ranks ahead of Lithgow on the list of 10 oldest Best Comedy Actor Emmy winners. This list also factors in winners of the now-retired variety performance awards, since regular cast members on continuing variety series now compete here.