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Jean Smart joins Betty White as the only performers to complete the comedy Emmy trifecta

 27 days ago

As expected , “Hacks” star Jean Smart took home the Emmy for Best Comedy Actress during Sunday’s 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards. In doing so, the 11-time nominee became just the second person in history to win an Emmy in the comedy lead, supporting and guest categories — and all for different shows. The only other person to complete the trifecta is the legendary Betty White .

On the HBO Max comedy, Smart portrays Deborah Vance, a comedy pioneer with a long-running Vegas show who reluctantly takes a young writer (newcomer and Emmy nominee Hannah Einbinder ) under her wing. It’s an unforgettable and quite possibly career-best performance from Smart, who was also nominated this year for her supporting role as the mother of Kate Winslet ’s titular character on the HBO limited series “Mare of Easttown.”

Previously, Smart — who now has four Emmys to her name — scored back-to-back Best Comedy Guest Actress Emmys in 2000 and 2001 for her work on the long-running sitcom “Frasier.” In 2008, she also took home the award for Best Comedy Supporting Actress for her performance as Regina, the mother of Christina Applegate ’s character, on ABC’s “Samantha Who?”

SEE Full list of Emmy winners

Meanwhile, White, who has received a total of 21 Primetime Emmy nominations throughout her career, has taken home five. She won her first in 1975 for her supporting role as Sue Ann Nivens on the classic comedy series “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” She took home the same award the following year. Then, a decade later, she won the Emmy for Best Comedy Actress for her performance as the affable Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls.” In 1996, she triumphed in the comedy guest actress category for playing herself on “The John Larroquette Show.” Finally, in 2010, White took home another Emmy in the same category for hosting “Saturday Night Live” at the ripe old age of 88.

With her triumph over fellow nominees Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”), Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”), Allison Janney (“Mom”) and Aidy Bryant (“Shill”), Smart has joined White in the history books. Not even Cloris Leachman and Julia Louis-Dreyfus , who are tied as the most decorated performers with eight Emmys apiece, have the full comedy collection (the former never won in lead and the latter is missing a guest trophy).

Hopefully this win will take some of the sting out of the fact Smart went home empty-handed the last two times she was nominated and predicted to win . Both losses occurred in the Best Limited/TV Movie Supporting Actress race, where she was nominated for “Fargo” in 2016 and “Watchmen” in 2020.

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