The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series is an award presented annually by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a guest starring role on a television drama series for the primetime network season.
The award was first presented at the 27th Primetime Emmy Awards on May 19, 1975 to Zohra Lampert for her performance on Kojak and Cloris Leachman for her role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. It has undergone several name changes, originally honoring single leading and supporting appearances in drama and comedy series through 1978. The award was reintroduced at the 38th Primetime Emmy Awards under the name Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series, honoring actors and actresses in guest starring roles on television drama series. In 1989, the category was split into categories for each gender, resulting in the name change to its current title.