"Oh, this is such a treat," Clarke sighed as he accepted his trophy. "I think [Guiding Light] is so fabulous, and the people on it. I've watched them for 30 years [and] have grown with you guys."
Clarke holds the distinction of being a rare type of Emmy winner: he is not a contract player with Guiding Light -- and has not been on contract for nearly a decade. Fans may also not know that Billy Lewis is not Clarke's first role on Guiding Light. He first appeared in Springfield over 30 years ago as a gynecologist.
"I had my first job on Guiding Light in 1974 playing an OB-GYN named Tim Ryan for two years," recalled Clarke. "I came back as Billy Lewis in '83 and I've been Billy for almost 22 years, so that's very nice, very nice."
Would Clarke be open to going back on contract?
"It would be nice," the actor responded. "I'm ready to go back and make some real money."
Clarke was pegged as an early favorite by many media outlets that had been fortunate enough to view this year's Emmy submissions. Clarke's two reels effectively offered an arc of his character's storyline over the course of the last year. In his first scene, Billy had just fallen off the wagon. In is second clip, the character was forced to face the aftermath of his decision to start drinking again. It is widely believed these types of submission packages allow voters - some of whom have never watched the show for which an actor had been nominated - to get a better feel for the actor's work.
As a cast member of a New York-based show, Clarke, like many other celebs from the East Coast, marveled in the atmosphere surrounding this year's Hollywood ceremony. And in doing so, Clarke may have offered one of the most memorable off-the-cuff quips.
"This whole area has come up," Clarke marveled. "Where are the hookers?!"
The Emmy win came as a surprise to Tognoni, who felt that her co-star was certain to take home the award.
"I'm really was surprised [to win]," Tognoni beamed. "I thought Crystal [Chappell] had it."
With ratings down across the board and her show's recent cast cutting, Tognoni expressed no fear in Guiding Light's future.
"I think that what happened was that [the show] was in the midst of a great change. I see Guiding Light on the air for a long time," Tognoni stated. "I don't believe we're going anywhere."
IN-DEPTHFind out was scenes Tognoni submitted in her Emmy reel.