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Drama supporting actors prove Emmy winners not always TV reruns

July 13, 2010 |  9:38 am

One of our top Emmy Awards gurus -- forums moderator Chris "Boomer" Beachum -- deftly disproves the notion that the Emmys anoint the same winners year after year. Although the likes of Don Knotts ("The Andy Griffith Show") and John Larroquette ("Night Court") virtually owned the supporting award in the 1960s and 1980s, respectively, both of those talented men featured on comedy series.

Michael Emerson Terry O'Quinn Lost Emmy AwardsSince being created in 1979, the drama supporting actor category has rarely had repeat winners, with 27 different men winning the 31 races. Only four have won this category twice for the same role, and the first two -- Stuart Margolin for "The Rockford Files" (1979, 1980) and Michael Conrad for "Hill Street Blues" (1981, 1982) -- did so in the early days of this award. Larry Drake won for "L.A. Law" (1988, 1989) while Ray Walston was a repeat champ with his two consecutive wins for "Picket Fences" (1995, 1996).

Of this year's nominees, only the men from "Lost" -- Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn -- have prevailed previously in this race. Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad") and John Slattery ("Mad Men") are repeat nominees in this category while Andre Braugher ("Men of a Certain Age") and Martin Short ("Damages") are past Emmy champs in other categories.

In the last 14 years, 14 different men have taken home this award:

1996 Ray Walston ("Picket Fences")
1997 Hector Elizondo ("Chicago Hope")
1998 Gordon Clapp ("NYPD Blue")
1999 Michael Badalucco ("The Practice")
2000 Richard Schiff ("The West Wing")
2001 Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing")
2002 John Spencer ("The West Wing")
2003 Joe Pantoliano ("The Sopranos")
2004 Michael Imperioli ("The Sopranos")
2005 William Shatner ("Boston Legal")
2006 Alan Alda ("The West Wing")
2007 Terry O'Quinn ("Lost")
2008 Zeljko Ivanek ("Damages")
2009 Michael Emerson ("Lost")

The other one-time winners were:

1994 Fyvush Finkel ("Picket Fences")
1993 Chad Lowe ("Life Goes On")
1992 Richard Dysart ("L.A. Law")
1991 Timothy Busfield ("thirtysomething")
1990 Jimmy Smits ("L.A. Law")
1987 John Hillerman ("Magnum, P.I.")
1986 John Karlen ("Cagney & Lacey")
1985 Edward James Olmos ("Miami Vice")
1984 Bruce Weitz ("Hill Street Blues")
1983 James Coco ("St. Elsewhere")

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Photo: Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson in "Lost." Credit: ABC

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