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13 LGBT Actors Emmy-Nominated For Playing LGBT Characters: Sean Hayes

By /bent | /Bent August 12, 2014 at 8:58AM

We look back at the history of LGBT actors getting nominations for playing LGBT characters at the Emmys.
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Sean Hayes

In this series of posts leading up to this year's Emmy Awards (going down on August 25th), we're highlighting the 13 LGBT actors who were nominated for playing LGBT characters in years past, in honor of the fact that a whopping 7 new additions to that list have been nominated this year (Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Laverne Cox, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Nathan Lane, Joe Mantello and Kate McKinnon).  

We're going in chronological order, with the posts so far looking John Glover and his nomination for 1985's TV movie "An Early Frost" (read that here, along with some more background on Emmy's history with LGBT nominees), Ian McKellen and Ellen DeGeneres, who collectively are the only two LGBT people to receive two different nominations for playing LGBT characters, and Angelina Jolie, the only bisexual person ever nominated for an Emmy for playing another bisexual person. Today, we look at another example, and the first one to actually take home a trophy...

Sean Hayes 2

Sean Hayes

Nominated For: In 2000, Hayes would receive the first of 7 consecutive Emmy nominations in the best supporting actor in a comedy series category, for his role as Jack McFarland on "Will & Grace." 
Did He Win?: He did, and on the first try -- which ended a winning streak for David Hyde Pierce as Niles on "Frasier," oddly enough another gay man -- though Pierce wasn't out at the time. Hayes himself wasn't entirely open about his sexuality either (at least not when 'Will & Grace' started), so this should be taken with something of an asterisk. Also of note: This would be only time over those 7 years that Hayes won.
Significance: Hayes is the first LGBT person to ever win an Emmy for playing an LGBT character, and only a few have followed in his footsteps since (though we suspect a few more will come this year). The overall love for "Will & Grace" (every primary cast member won an Emmy, and the series itself won 16 total over its 8 year run) suggested a shift in the ability of Emmy voters to embrace LGBT content, as they hadn't quite done a few years earlier with "Ellen."


Watch a clip of Hayes on "Will & Grace" below.


Check back tomorrow for the next nominee… and check out the previous posts below:

John Glover

Ian McKellen

Ellen DeGeneres

Angelina Jolie


This article is related to: Television, Emmy Awards, LGBT at the Emmys