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Emmy Winners of the Past

by Legacy Staff

We’re taking a look back at a few great Emmy winners who are no longer with us.

The Emmys honor the best of American television. Today we’re looking back at a few of the many great Emmy Award winners who have died in recent years.

Mary Tyler Moore (1936 – 2017)


Moore was already a two-time Emmy winner for her work as Laura Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” when she launched her own eponymous television series. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” won a record-setting 29 Emmys, including three for Moore as best actress.

James Gandolfini (1961 – 2013)

Gandolfini won three Emmy Awards for his work as mafia boss Tony Soprano on “The Sopranos.” After his death, he was hailed as a “genius” by the show’s creator David Chase. “Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes.”

Estelle Getty (1923 – 2008)

After struggling for decades to find steady work as an actor, Getty won two Emmys as the spry octogenarian Sophia on “The Golden Girls.” All three of her co-stars – Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Betty White – also received Emmy Awards.

Don Knotts (1924 – 2006)

His 50-year career included seven television series and more than two dozen films. But is was his performance as lovably inept Deputy Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show” that earned him a record five Emmys.

Peter Boyle (1935 – 2006)

He’d already had a long and successful career in film and television before being cast as the curmudgeonly Frank Barone in the long-running “Everyone Loves Raymond.” Though he was nominated for on the sitcom, he actually won his Emmy for a guest-starring turn on “The X-Files.”

Isabel Sanford (1917 – 2004)

Became the first African-American woman to receive the Emmy for best actress in a comedy series for her portrayal of Weezie on “The Jeffersons.” She also appeared in the classic 1964 film “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?”

Bob Keeshan (1927 – 2004)

You might not immediately recognize the name, but you likely remember his most famous character – the mustachioed Captain Kangaroo. The beloved children’s show ran on national TV for 36 years and won 6 daytime Emmy Awards.

Fred Rogers (1928 – 2003)

Host of public television’s Emmy Award-winning “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” for more than 30 years, Rogers himself was honored in 1997 with an Emmy for Lifetime Achievement. One of his famous cardigan sweaters hangs in the Smithsonian Institution.

John Ritter (1948 – 2003)

Youngest son of actor and musician Tex Ritter, he received an Emmy for playing Jack Tripper in the smash 1970s sitcom “Three’s Company.” He was starring in the sitcom “8 Simple Rules…” when he died of a heart attack.

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