6 actors who posthumously won Emmy Awards

One popular sitcom has two actors on this list.

Image: Everett Collection

For television actors, winning an Emmy Award is a rare accomplishment. Out of the hundreds of shows airing in primetime, only a handful of actors are awarded the top prizes in acting. 

With the fast-paced and demanding nature of television, this makes posthumous Emmy Awards even scarcer. In the years since the awards have been given out, only a few actors have been honored after their death. In fact, most of the actors on this list were ill during the production of their final television projects.

Some of the last awards handed out to screen legends like Ingrid Bergman and Audrey Hepburn were posthumous Emmys. Although this list isn't complete, it's definitely close. Here are six actors who were posthumously given Emmy Awards. 

1. Alice Pearce

Pearce was awarded the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1966 for her portrayal of nosey neighbor Gladys Kravitz on Bewitched. Just over two months before the awards were handed out, Pearce died of ovarian cancer. 

Image: Sony Pictures Television

2. Marion Lorne

If it's rare for an actor to win a posthumous Emmy, then it's even more rare for a series to have multiple actors win after they've passed. In 1968, Marion Lorne posthumously won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role of Aunt Clara on Bewitched. Lorne died just 10 days before the ceremony, and Elizabeth Montgomery accepted the award on her behalf. 

Image: Sony Pictures Television

3. Diana Hyland

Hyland appeared in the 1976 television movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble alongside John Travolta. The two forged a relationship after its production, but it was short-lived. Early in 1977, Hyland was diagnosed with breast cancer and died in March of that year. She won an Emmy for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Special later that year. 

Image: CBS Television Distribution

4. Ingrid Bergman

Screen legend Ingrid Bergman's last role was on the television mini-series A Woman Called Golda, about the late prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir. Despite suffering from breast cancer during production, Bergman was awarded the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie in September 1982. A month prior, Bergman had succumed to her illness. 

Image: CBS Television Distribution

5. Audrey Hepburn

Hepburn's posthumous Emmy Award was for her documentary specials Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn. The series was filmed in 1990 but didn't premiere until one day after her death on January 21, 1993. Later that year, she was given the Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement. Two posthumous awards helped Hepburn become the fifth person ever to become an EGOT winner. 

Image: PBS

6. Raúl Juliá

Puerto Rican sensation Raúl Juliá appeared in the television movie The Burning Sensation in 1994. Juliá became ill during production, but ultimately rebounded to complete the film. However, stomach issues complicated by a stroke lead to the actor's untimely death in October 1994. The next year, Juliá was awarded the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special. 

Image: HBO

Posthumous Nominations

There have been very prominent actors who have been nominated for top awards posthumously. In 2004, John Ritter was posthumously nominated for his role on 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.

Just three weeks after her death in 2009, Farrah Fawcett was nominated as a producer for Farrah's Story, a documentary about the actress' battle with cancer.

Most recently, Kathryn Joosten (right) was posthumously nominated for the series finale of Desperate Housewives in 2012. Joosten died from lung cancer twenty days after her character on the program died of the same affliction. 

Image: Disney-ABC Domestic Television

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Walter 45 months ago
Diana Hyland was playing the mom, Joan Bradford, in the first season of Eight is Enough but only made it through the first 4 episodes and died about a week after the mid-season premier. Joan "died" off camera and season two revolved around the family coping with her death.
maniagrid Walter 36 months ago
I always wondered why Betty Buckley wasn't cast as Joan instead of Abby. I think it would have fit the spirit of the show better.
jeopardyhead 62 months ago
I remember during the Emmys ceremony, Andy Griffith referred to A Woman Called Golda as "A Man Called Golda."
maniagrid jeopardyhead 36 months ago
When Golda was told that Henry Kissinger called her the toughest man he'd ever negotiated with, she said, "He said man? Good." She would have loved Andy Griffith's slip.
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