NEW YORK -- A teary-eyed Susan Lucci -- co-host of the daytime Emmy Awards show -- accepted a standing ovation Tuesday night just moments after Erika Slezak, of 'One Life to Live,' received the prized Emmy alongside Peter Bergman, of 'The Young and The Restless.'
But excitement rushed through the celebrity audience at New York's Sheraton Hotel when ABC's 'All My Children' -- Lucci's show -- was voted top soap opera.
It beat out 'Guiding Light,' 'The Young and The Restless' and 'As The World Turns,' all on CBS.
Slezak rushed to the stage, saying, 'My God! I'm so proud.'
She thanked her co-workers for believing in her and allowing her to perform for 21 years on the daytime series, and thanked her 'mother and father who taught me to love the art of acting.'
She also beat out Elizabeth Hubbard of 'As the World Turns' and Jeanne Cooper, of 'The Young and the Restless.'
Bergman started off with, 'What a year!' as he accepted the Emmy for lead actor in a drama series. He then saluted the actors who faced the final decision with him -- David Canary, 'All My Children,' Roger Thorpe, 'Guilding Light' and A Martinez, 'Santa Barbara.'
'It is so wonderful to be a working actor,' Bergman said.
Lucci absent from the stage momentarily was greeted with a standing ovation by the audience after she lost the Emmy for best actress 13 times.
'I couldn't begin to tell you how much that means to me,' she said in response, wiping her tears. But then quickly with a smile, she hailed Slezak, saying, 'I vote for you every year. You're a brilliant actress. '
Earlier, Lucci, after describing one soap opera storyline that has a woman giving birth during her wedding ceremony, quipped, 'I can't wait to see what Dan Quayle thinks about that?'
Phil Donahue, her co-host, started out the evening by saying the nominees represented 'the best of daytime and we're proud of all of you,' and he pointed to the red ribbons worn by all on the show and in the audience in recognition of AIDS sufferers and those who are working for a cure for the disease.
Oprah Winfrey snatched both the Emmys for best host and talk show.
Winfrey, of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show,' was touted by the shows producers as 'one damned phenomenal woman' as tears flowed down the actress's face.
The show was selected from among five, including 'Donahue,' syndicated; 'The Joan Rivers Show,' syndicated; 'Live with Regis & Kathie Lee,' syndicated, and 'This Old House,' PBS.
In the talk show area, Winfrey won out against Donahue, 'Donahue,' syndicated; Joan Rivers for 'The Joan Rivers Show,' syndicated; Linda Ellerbee, 'Nickelodeon Special Edition,' Nickelodeon, and Sally Jessy Raphael, 'Sally Jessy Raphael,' syndicated.
Donahue was honored with film clips of his interviews and guests on the Silver Anniversary of his talk programs. Winfrey, who was among other talk show hosts who saluted him in taped segments, said, 'I still admire you and thank you for paving the way, congratulations on 25 years!'
Supporting actor awards went to Maeve Kinkead, 'Guiding Light,' and Thom Christopher, of 'One Life to Live.'
A shocked Kristoff St. John, of 'The Young and the Restless,' and a crying Tricia Cast, of the same soap, walked away with Emmys for their performances as younger cast members.
The directors' team of 'Another World' took top honors in their field while the Emmy for a writers' team went to 'The Young and the Restless' -- the first in nine years.
The syndicated 'Jeopardy!' won in the game/audience participation show.
Sonia Manzano, an actress from 'Sesame Street,' accepted the award for an outstanding children's series for her show, thanking the producers of the show for not forgetting 'that the most important things are our children -- all the children in our country.'
The PBS show was the most nominated non-soap opera with nine nominations.
'Vincent and Me' won for best children's special and Nickelodeon's 'Rugrats' won for outstanding animated program.
Bob Barker won in the category of outstanding game show hosts for his work on 'The Price Is Right,' CBS.
CBS' 'Guilding Light' was up for 15 awards at the evening began, with stars and celebrities flooding the show that was broadcast live on NBC at 9 p.m. EDT.
CBS had 68 nominations and PBS was second with 41 nominations. Syndicated shows had 41 nominations, ABC 25, NBC 24, Disney 17, Nickelodeon 4, ABC syndicated shows 3, Fox 2, and CNN, HBO and Lifetime 1 each.
Among the individual shows in contention, the top three were CBS's 'Guiding Light,' with 15 nominations, CBS's 'The Young and the Restless,' with 15 nominations, and NBC's 'Another World,' with 10.