Of the 16 EGOT winners – those who have won an Emmy®, Grammy®, Oscar® and a Tony® – three of them won the grand slam before it was actually dubbed an EGOT.
The first three winners of the big four entertainment awards were:
1 – Richard Rodgers (1962), one of America’s most significant composers, including musical theater favorites Oklahoma, The King and I and The Sound of Music, was the first EGOT “winner” and reigned alone with that title for 15 years.
2 – Helen Hayes (1977), The First Lady of American Theatre earned her award perfecta with a Grammy® win for Best Spoken Word Recording, Great American Documents, a reading of The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and more by Hayes, Henry Fonda, James Earl Jones and Orson Welles.
3 – Rita Moreno (1977), the actress’s Emmy-winning guest appearance on The Muppet Show was the last jewel in her EGOT crown and she is the earliest winner of all four awards still alive.
The term EGOT came to be in 1984, when Miami Vice star Philip Michael Thomas was asked about a medallion around his neck with the letters E, G, O, T which displayed his ambition in winning.
“Hopefully, in the next five years, I will win all of those awards,” he reportedly said.
This is glory yet to be realized – and won’t be. Sorry, Mr. Thomas. Thirty-six years after his utterance, he’s never been nominated for any of the awards needed. Sometime when it became apparent to him it wasn’t going to happen, he said that the necklace medallion actually stood for energy, growth, opportunity and talent. For the record, he was nominated in 1986 for a Golden Globe®, losing to Miami Vice co-star Don Johnson and nominated with Johnson for “Coolest Crime Fighting Team” at the TV Land Awards, losing to the team from Dragnet, respectively. According to IMDB, his last acting job was in 2015, billed as Michael Philip Thomas, as Bloody Captain/Porter in Thank You, 15, a movie short by the Hilberry Acting Ensemble.
Cautionary tale: be ambitious but maybe keep it to yourself.
The remaining 13 EGOT winners are:
- John Gielgud, the British actor’s last link in the EGOT chain was his Best Supporting Oscar® for his role in as Hobson the butler in Arthur
- Audrey Hepburn, the actress is the first to win her EGOT posthumously – an Emmy® win for Gardens of the World; she died in 1993
- Marvin Hamlisch, the composer and conductor’s collaborations with Barbra Streisand won him three out of the four required awards; his Best Score Tony® win A Chorus Line got him his EGOT
- Jonathan Tunick, composer, orchestrator and Stephen Sondheim collaborator earned his Oscar® and EGOT for Best Orchestrations in Titanic
- Mel Brooks, the famed comedian’s stage musical The Producers, won 12 Tony Awards® and got him his EGOT
- Mike Nichols, the actor, writer and director earned the distinction in 2001 for his Emmy®-winning direction Outstanding Made for TV Movie Wit
- Whoopi Goldberg, the first black EGOT winner jokes that her Daytime Emmy ®for host of 2002’s Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel “still counts”
- Scott Rudin, a movie, theater and TV producer won his EGOT thanks to a Best Musical Theater Album Grammy® for The Book of Mormon
- Robert Lopez, the songwriter and youngest EGOT holder (he earned it when he was 39 years old), too, has a Daytime Emmy® in his awards trove and an Oscar® for Frozen’s “Let It Go”
- Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and John Legend, the legendary musical composer, lyricist and Webber collaborator and famed R&B singer, respectively earned their EGOT status in 2018 for the NBC presentation of Jesus Christ Superstar
- Alan Menken, the composer and songwriter, got his EGOT wings this year with a Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Original Song, “Waiting in the Wings” from Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure
A few other interesting EGOT facts:
- There are a few stars that have “sort of” EGOTs – those who have three of the awards in competitive categories and have earned the fourth through honorary or “special” awards. They are actor James Earl Jones who has an honorary Oscar; actress-singer Liza Minnelli who was given a Grammy Legend Award, music legends Harry Belafonte and Quincy Jones, who both were awarded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and actress-director-singer Barbra Streisand who was given a Special Tony Award in 1970 honoring her as Star of the Decade.
- Robert Lopez is the only person on the list who has earned the EGOT twice, having won his second Oscar for Best Original Song “Remember Me” from Coco
- There also is a PEGOT designation but there is disagreement what the “P” represents. Some believe it is the Pulitzer Prize, which Rodgers and Hamlisch have earned. Others say the “P” is for the Peabody Award which has been won by Moreno and Nichols.
- Two years ago, the sports and entertainment website The Ringer deemed not all EGOT honorees equal and ranked them by their “impressiveness.” In the No. 1 spot, Mike Nichols. His seven directing wins at the Tonys, plus two Emmys and and Oscar for directing The Graduate starring Dustin Hoffman, makes him “far and away the EGOT GOAT,” according to The Ringer.
- The Ringer put Jonathan Tunick, who has one award of each required, at the bottom of the list. The noted they especially weren’t enamored with his “Best Orchestrations” Oscar win, joking he is “the least most impressive person to ever live.” For the record, Audrey Hepburn also only had one-win-each of the required awards and finished next to last on The Ringer list.
- For many years, producer Scott Rudin was the EGOTer with most competitive awards – 20, including 17 Tony Awards. He was unseated this year by Alan Menken, with 21 award wins including 10 Oscars for his work on multiple Disney films including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
- John Legend is the EGOT honoree with the most Grammy Awards – 11 – including Best New Artist in 2006.
- Audrey Hepburn, like Tunick, only has one of each award.
- Thirty stars are one award away from earning their award grand slam:
Needs an Oscar: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Billy Porter, Lily Tomlin, Bette Midler, Cynthia Nixon, Dick Van Dyke, Cyndi Lauper, Audra McDonald, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo, Hugh Jackman and Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Needs a Tony: Kate Winslet, Julie Andrews, Cher, Common, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard and John Williams
Needs an Emmy: songwriting duo Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, Elton John, and Stephen Sondheim
Needs a Grammy: Frances McDormand, Viola Davis, Jeremy Irons, Helen Mirren, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer and Maggie Smith