ⓘ Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

                                     

ⓘ Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

The Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is an award presented annually by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. It is given to honor an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role while working within the daytime drama industry.

The 1st Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony was held in 1974, with Elizabeth Hubbard receiving the award for her role as Althea Davis on The Doctors. The award has undergone several name changes, originally honoring actresses in leading and supporting roles. Following the introduction of a new category in 1979, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, the awards name was altered to Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, before changing once again, to its current title, years later. The awards ceremony was not aired on television in 1983 and 1984, having been criticized for voting integrity. In 1985, another category was introduced: Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series; one criterion for this category was altered, requiring all actresses to be aged 26 or above.

Since its inception, the award has been given to 28 actresses. One Life to Live is the show with the most awarded actresses, with a total of eleven. In 1995, Erika Slezak became the actress with the most wins in the category when she won a fourth time, surpassing Helen Gallaghers previous record of three; Slezak went on to win in two additional years, ultimately receiving six wins. Susan Flannery and Kim Zimmer have since received four wins each. Susan Lucci has been nominated on 21 occasions, more than any other actress. As of the 2019 ceremony, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood is the most recent winner in this category for her portrayal of Steffy Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful.