Amidst this year's Outstanding Lead Actor nominees were some familiar faces. The Young and the Restless' Peter Bergman (Jack) has received 13 nominations in the category; he's won twice. As The World Turns' Tom Eplin (Jake), though only with the show since 1999, has been playing Jake McKinnon since 1985. Eplin's character originated on Another World, but during that time, he never received an Emmy nomination. Eplin's co-star, Jon Hensley (Holden), was nominated for Outstanding Young Man in 1986, but earned his first nomination in the Lead Actor category this year. The Bold and the Beautiful's John McCook (Eric) was also a first time nominee, having been with B&B for nearly 14 years.
"I have such respect for this trophy because I have such respect for the actors who were nominated," Canary said during his acceptance speech.
Canary also took time to explain what he feels is the most important aspect of soap operas -- not "big hair" like he believed when he first joined All My Children in 1983.
With this year's win, Canary became the most honored performer in the Lead Actor category in Daytime Emmy history. Ironically, the woman who presented him with this year's Emmy, One Life to Live's Erika Slezak (Viki) had five wins of her own in the Lead Actress field. Later, Canary said of Slezak, "She's way out of my league. Erika is a wonderful actress and a wonderful woman."
Canary also took time to praise Finola Hughes, who also tackles dual roles - Anna Devane and Alex Marick - on the show. Canary described the difficulties involved in playing two roles at once. There's no standard way to film the parts, said Canary. The actor explained that often the show's producer will ask him which of the two characters' scenes he'd like to work on first. If there are no special effects involved, Canary says that he usually chooses to film the character who has the most lines in the given scene.
Canary joined the cast of All My Children 18 years ago and has been nominated for an Emmy 15 times. During this time, the actor has repeatedly pulled double-duty, playing twins Adam and Stuart Chandler.
The Lead Actress category was crowded by three performers from All My Children, all of them previous Emmy winners: Susan Lucci (Erica), Julia Barr (Brooke) and Marcy Walker (Liza), who won in 1989 for her work on Santa Barbara. In fact, the two other nominees also have Emmy gold somewhere in their homes. The Bold and the Beautiful's Susan Flannery (Stephanie) was last year's winner in this category and As The World Turns' Martha Byrne was named Outstanding Ingénue in 1987.
Even if Lucci were to win the category, making it her second win in 20 nominations, she would not have accepted the award. Well, almost. Due to a prior engagement, Lucci was performing with Regis Philbin in a cabaret act at Atlantic City's Resorts hotel and casino. If Lucci's name were inside the infamous envelope, a satellite crew would have broke into her cabaret show to deliver her Emmy to her.
There was no reason to interrupt. A teary Martha Byrne took to the stage as her As The World Turns co-star gave her a standing ovation. In her acceptance speech, Byrne took time to specifically thank one of her co-stars as well as her parents.
To her co-star, Jon Hensley, Byrne issued a special thank you. "Thank you for 15 years of sexual tension," she said to laughs from the audience. Byrne also thanked her parents for never having questioned her decision to pursue a career in acting. At age nine, Byrne said she told her parents that she wanted to star on Broadway. Rather than being told to focus on something more realistic, Byrne says her parents replied, "Let's go!"
Byrne was eventually given center stage and was immediately asked about the decision to create a have her play a dual role on the show. Byrne stated that the decision for her to play a double role was that of executive producer Chris Goutman.
"He liked the way that I as Martha Byrne played around during the off takes of scenes," Byrne explained. Byrne refused to place too much credence on the belief that playing a dual role gave her a leg up on the competition this year.
The actress also explained that she takes each episode one at a time and does not pick and choose scenes that might eventually help her land an Emmy nominated. "You can't work and think, 'This is my Emmy show.' You just work your butt off."
Byrne says she "really can't remember" what winning her first Emmy was like. This Emmy win, Byrne stated firmly, means much more to her than her win in 1986. "I'm an adult now. I'm not a kid any more. When you're 17, [good acting] comes from someplace you can't figure out. Now you've got those places to work with and kind of dive into those wonderful places and know where they are."
Canary and Byrne's wins mark the first time in Emmy history that both Lead Actor and Actress winners have played dual roles.