Daytime Emmys: Watch 11 Funny and Emotional Moments From the Past 43 Years

9:00 AM 4/28/2017

by Lexy Perez

Ahead of Sunday's ceremony, THR looks back at some highlights from the show.

From left: Betty White, George Lucas and Ellen DeGeneres
From left: Betty White, George Lucas and Ellen DeGeneres
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NATAS; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Karin Olsen/WireImage

On Sunday, the Daytime Emmy Awards returns for its 44th year to honor and celebrate the best in daytime television. Whether paying tribute to the late Joan Rivers or celebrating the first win of beloved daytime host Ellen DeGeneres, every year the Daytime Emmys delivers memorable moments.

Ahead of Sunday's ceremony, taking place at the Pasedena Convention Center and live-streaming on Twitter and Facebook, THR takes a look at 11 of the most memorable moments from the show's previous ceremonies. 


  • Susan Lucci Breaks Her Losing Streak


    After being nominated 19 times, the All My Children veteran, dubbed the “Queen of Daytime,” won her first Daytime Emmy for lead actress. Prior to announcing Lucci as the winner, presenter Shemar Moore excitedly shouted, "The streak is over!" The star — visibly emotional and shocked — accepted her award in front of an excited audience. Fighting back tears, Lucci emotionally said, “I truly never believed that this would happen. … Nineteen times is something I will treasure always.” 

  • Betty White Receives Lifetime Achievement Award


    Before accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award, the then-93-year-old danced alongside Charo, proving that at her age she is still a force to be reckoned with. Acknowledging her many years in the industry, White comically thanked the various generations over the years: "So much thanks to you and your mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers. And a couple of great-grandfathers when I was younger."

  • Melissa Rivers Honors Her Mother, Joan


    At the 2015 Daytime Emmys, Melissa Rivers took the stage to pay tribute to her mother, Joan, after her sudden passing. As she fought back tears, Rivers took the time to thank the Daytime Emmys for their embrace and love for her mother. In 1990, Joan won her only Emmy for her daytime talk show, The Joan Rivers Show. Of her mother, Rivers said, “My mother felt loved and valued by the daytime community, and for that I will always be grateful."

  • Rosie O'Donnell Wins Her First Emmy


    In the 1997 ceremony, O’Donnell accepted her first Emmy for outstanding talk show host with a powerful speech. The then-talk show host tearfully explained the personal meaning that the ceremony's location, Radio City Music Hall, had to her. “My mother used to bring me to this theater with my sister and we ate lemon drops. We watched the Nutcracker Suite, the Christmas show, and I feel like she is guiding me in my life,” O’Donnell said, moving some in the audience to tears. 

  • 'The Talk' Hosts Given Wrong Envelope


    Possibly foreshadowing the Moonlight fiasco that would take place four years later at the Academy Awards, the hosts of The Talk were left confused when onstage to present the award for best informative talk show. When host Aisha Tyler opened the envelope to reveal the winner, she realized she was given the wrong category. Rather than state what was on the card, the host jokingly put the envelope back and told the audience, “Someone’s going to bring me another envelope and it’s going to have a lot of money in it and a puppy.” The moment went down as one of the ceremony’s most memorable moments. 

  • Oprah Winfrey Receives Lifetime Achievement Award


    During the 25th annual Daytime Emmy Awards in 1998, Barbara Walters presented Winfrey with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Visibly emotional, the speech provided a glimpse at Winfrey and her longtime partner, Stedman Graham’s, relationship. Looking at her partner, Winfrey said, “Stedman, you are the sweetest man with the greatest integrity. Thank you for helping me be all that I am, and all that is to come.” 

  • Anthony Geary Wins His Last Emmy


    “Thank you Academy for not being sick of me yet,” Geary told the audience during his acceptance speech at the 2015 ceremony. After announcing his departure from General Hospital after 20 years, Geary kicked off his retirement with a bang by wining outstanding lead actor. Winning his eighth Emmy, Geary took time to thank GH writers, production staff, directors and executive producer Frank Valentini: “The base of this (award) belongs to you and you can visit it in Amsterdam anytime.” Geary had previously announced that after his retirement he would enjoy living in Amsterdam. 

  • Ellen DeGeneres Wins Her First Emmy


    In 2004, the popular talk show host took home her first Daytime Emmy for her now successful show. Elated and humbled, DeGeneres was cheered on by her mother and colleagues, excited to witness the host’s first win. “I should’ve been in daytime a long time ago. I love this,” DeGeneres told the audience. The star and her show have gone on to win more than 29 Daytime Emmy Awards. 

  • Young Jonathan Jackson Gets Emotional During His Speech


    Known for portraying GH’s iconic Lucky Spencer, the son of Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis), a young Jackson won for outstanding younger actor in 1995. Although appearing calm after his TV mom announced his name, Jackson became emotional onstage as he pointed at Geary and Francis. “I want to thank them for everything they’ve done for me and I want to thank God for giving me the pleasure of working on such a great show like General Hospital and that’s it,” said the young star. Jackson went on to winning five Daytime Emmy awards before leaving the soap. Jackson now stars in CMT’s Nashville

  • Gladys Knight and Celine Dion Say Goodbye to 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'


    During the 2011 ceremony, stars came together to bid farewell to The Oprah Winfrey Show after being on the air for 25 years. Presenting Winfrey with the first Chairman’s Crystal Pillar Award, an elite group of stars shared loving and admirable words for the beloved host. Those paying their respect included Dr. Oz, Barbara Walters, Dr. Phil and Ellen DeGeneres. “For the past 25 years, the world has been lucky to call you a friend,” said DeGeneres in her pre-recorded message. Broadcasting live from her Cesars Palace residency, Celine Dion dedicated her performance to saying farewell to Winfrey. Winfrey herself recorded a message for audience members, apologizing for being unable to attend the ceremony. “We thank you for 25 years. This show has served as a platform to enlighten as well as entertain,” said Winfrey, alongside her show's crew. 

  • George Lucas Wins First Emmy


    At the 2013 ceremony, Star Wars creator George Lucas won his first Emmy for Cartoon Network's Star Wars: The Clone Wars, for which he served as executive producer. During his speech, Lucas mentioned that the Emmy was only the second award he's ever won — his first being the NAACP Image Award for the movie, Red Tails. While accepting his trophy Lucas said, 'We've been out there quite a while. We're proud to finally win an Emmy."

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