Emmys 2013: Jeff Daniels wins best actor in a drama

Jeff Daniels.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Jeff Daniels won an Emmy as lead actor in a drama Sunday for his role as acclaimed but troubled news anchor Will McAvoy in the HBO drama “The Newsroom.”

Daniels, who was one of two newcomers to the category, scored a surprise win over a field of top contenders, including last year’s winner, Damian Lewis of “Homeland,” three-time winner Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), repeat nominees Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) and Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”) and fellow rookie Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”).

Since making his film debut in 1977 in “Ragtime,” Daniels has appeared in leading and supporting roles in dozens of films. He is also a musician and runs his own nonprofit theater company, the Purple Rose Theatre Company, which was named after “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” the 1985 Woody Allen comedy starring Daniels. He also received a Golden Globe nomination for that film.


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Other notable roles include “Terms of Endearment,” “Speed,” “Dumb & Dumber,” “Gettysburg,” “Arachnophobia,” “Pleasantville” and “Looper.”

“The Newsroom,” which just concluded its second season, was created by Oscar- and Emmy-winner Aaron Sorkin, and stars Daniels as McAvoy, a celebrated TV news anchor who suffers a meltdown and is forced to work with a new team of staffers, including former lover Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer).

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards are being held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, and the show is airing live on CBS.