In his 13 years with As the World Turns, Michael Park has received three Daytime Emmy nominations. This year marked his second nomination in the Outstanding Lead Actor category. Though the actor had been pegged to win Emmy gold in the past, many critics felt that this year marked Park's best chance to win an Emmy. And he did.
Park submitted a gut-wrenching episode for Emmy consideration, one in which his character confessed to his sister-in-law that he'd shot and killed his brother -- her husband. Park admitted that the scenes hit close to home for him. While taping the episode, the actor couldn't help but think of his sister, who died of leukemia when she was just 14.
Clearly overcome in the moment, Michael Park offered one of the more poignant victory laps in recent years. The actor sobbed as he thought about the 60 or so men and women who are out of a job now that As the World Turns has wrapped production.
"It's not bittersweet. It's just bitter," Park commented with a laugh. "There's 60 people who worked so hard at what they do and maybe I'll see them on other shows, but I don't know where their next job is going to be, and you kind of take that on."
Park became emotional as he thought about giving his Emmy to his grandmother, a fan of As the World Turns for 53 years.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I was this good," Park said softly, his gaze turning to the Emmy statuette in his left hand.
Earlier on-stage, Park thanked As the World Turns' executive producer, Christopher Goutman, his off-and-on on-screen love interest, and his real-life family.
"Chris Goutman. Thank you for your leadership and the opportunity I've had to play this role for thirteen years -- it's amazing," Park said. "Maura West [...] I'm really gonna miss you. And to Lori Park, I don't know where I'm gonna be, but I know I'm gonna be with my wife!"
Park has not yet landed a post-ATWT job offer, but rumors have hinted that One Life to Live might be interested in signing the actor. For his part, Park remains open. "You move where the food is," he explained. "My shingle is out."
Parks win in the Outstanding Lead Actor category is just the third win for As the World Turns, and the show's first since Larry Bryggman (John Dixon) picked up his second Lead Actor trophy in 1987.
IN-DEPTHFind out what other stars have been named Outstanding Lead Actor.
For the first time in Daytime Emmy history, the Lead Actor and Actress winners were part of a daytime supercouple. Maura West earned her second Emmy trophy in four years. While some say it's an honor just to be nominated, West confessed that she was happier for her co-star, Michael Park, than for her own win.
"Everybody that I work with knows [that] Michael Park winning is enough for me," West beamed. "But to honor me this way, in the presence of one of my children, is more than I can bear."
With her daughter Kate by her side in the pressroom, West echoed her acceptance speech backstage.
"I said Michael winning was enough for me, and I genuinely meant that. It would have been a great night indeed if my hands were empty and his were golden," West explained.
West recalled filming her Emmy-winning episode, and noted that she was eight-and-a-half months pregnant at the time. The episode, in which Carly's loved ones held an intervention to get her the help she needed for an alcohol addiction, was a plot device to usher West's character off-screen while West took her real-life maternity leave.
"That was a long, hard day for a very pregnant woman," Maura recalled. "But I think if you see that reel, you see the extraordinary castmates of mine who rose to the occasion and helped me through some difficult stuff."