12 of the Most Memorable Emmys Moments Ever
Any awards show worth its salt is stacked with memorable moments. From iconic red carpet looks to inspiring speeches and maybe even a little drama here and there, there are always plenty of reasons outside of the actual awards to tune in. In advance of the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, September 17, we're looking back at some Emmys memories in history — complete with epic make-outs, hilarious fake-outs, and just the right amount of tear-jerking moments. (Photos via Kevin Winter/Getty + Jason Merritt/Getty)
Walter O'Keefe hosts the very first Primetime Emmy Awards (January 1949). Just 600 people attended the first Primetime Emmy Awards at the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles. With only five awards given out and only locally produced TV shows eligible to win, it was hardly the celebrity-studded affair we know it as today. Nonetheless, LA Mayor Fletcher Bowron declared January 25, 1949 "TV Day," and we were off. (Photo via NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty)
Lucille Ball presents without her glasses (May 1975). Comedy legend Lucille Ball (seen here at the 1967 Emmys) ran into a snag at the 27th annual Emmys when she attempted to present the Outstanding Comedy Series award without her eyeglasses. After trying and failing to read the winner's name, she admitted, ''Oh, I'm really in trouble!'' Milton Berle ran to the stage with a wine glass before getting her some real glasses, and the day was saved. The award went to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. It was the first of the show's 29 Emmy wins. (Photo via NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty)
Ted Danson FINALLY wins (September 1990). After being nominated a whopping nine times for his lead role as Sam Malone on the hit sitcom Cheers, Ted Danson finally took home his very first Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series during the 42nd Annual Emmys on September 16, 1990. (Photo via Ron Galella/WireImage)
Ellen DeGeneres hosts the show post-9/11 (November 2001). The 53rd Primetime Emmy Awards were rescheduled twice in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the start of the Afghanistan war. When they finally aired seven weeks later on November 4, 2001, DeGeneres handled the stripped-down, somber show like a pro. She received several standing ovations throughout — and her version of Bjork's Oscars swan dress was instantly as iconic as the original. (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
Conan O'Brien keeps Bob Newhart in an airtight glass chamber for three hours (August 2006). Conan O'Brien was one of the more unforgettable and entertaining hosts through and through when he emceed the 58th Annual Primetime Emmys. One of his best gags lasted the whole show. In a bid to get winners to keep their acceptance speeches short, O'Brien put Newhart in an airtight chamber and said it would run out of air in exactly three hours. The show came in under time — a rare feat. (Photo via Vince Bucci/Getty)
Helen Mirren gets by the censors (August 2006). It's not often that an errant curse word gets by the censors and on air, but Helen Mirren managed it at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards. While accepting her Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie trophy for Elizabeth I, Mirren marveled at the fact that she didn't trip "a** over t*t." The audience, and everyone watching at home, loved it. Naturally. (Photo via Vince Bucci/Getty)
Jimmy Fallon makes a memorable first impression (August 2010). Jimmy Fallon's opening number for the 62nd Primetime Emmys was a showstopper. With the help of celebs such as Tina Fey, Jon Hamm, and Betty White, Fallon gloriously Glee-ified Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." The bit also featured many Glee cast members, including Lea Michele, Jane Lynch, and the late Cory Monteith before his death in 2013. It was an impressive production that was totally of its time, and it's still an iconic Emmys moment. (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
The funny ladies pull a fast one (September 2011). At the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, all of the women nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Melissa McCarthy, Edie Falco, Tina Fey, Laura Linney, Martha Plimpton, and Amy Poehler) rushed on stage when their names were read, staging a spoof beauty pageant complete with hand-holding, tears, and an actual tiara for the winner, Melissa McCarthy. They received a standing ovation. (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
Merritt Wever gives the shortest-ever acceptance speech (September 2013). Merritt Wever ran no risk of being played off when she won her Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy trophy for Nurse Jackie. After she made her way to the podium, she said a very quick thank you and followed it up with an unexpected, "I gotta go. Bye!" She received a standing ovation. (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston make out (August 2014). Before he was on Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston was one of the many Hollywood now-heavyweights who appeared on Seinfeld. Julia Louis-Dreyfus joked while presenting an award with him that he looked familiar, but acted as though she didn't remember their Seinfeld scene together. Later, as she made her way to the stage to accept her Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series award, Cranston intercepted, planting a huge kiss on her lips. (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
Billy Crystal pays beautiful tribute to Robin Williams (September 2014). Every year, the Emmys honor all the talented TV industry people who passed away in an In Memoriam segment. But at the 66th Primetime Emmys, Billy Crystal paid special tribute to his friend Robin Williams, who had died just a few months before. "It's very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives," Crystal said. There was very likely not a dry eye in the house. (Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty)
Viola Davis makes history (September 2015). How to Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis became the first Black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series when she triumphed at the 67th Emmys. Her speech paid tribute to the women of color who inspired her and, not unlike her super emotional Oscars speech, had viewers in tears. "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone is opportunity," she said. "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that are Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be Black." (Photo via Jason Merritt/Getty)
What’s your favorite Emmy Awards memory? Let us know @BritandCo!
Nicole is an entertainment and lifestyle writer covering pop culture, news, and cool women doing cool things. She likes yard sales, MTV's Teen Mom, and putting too many memes in the group chat. She lives in Toronto.