When exploring the Hollywood celeb landscape maybe you’ve come across the term EGOT…. and maybe you haven’t. It’s definitely 1 of those “#iykyk” situations. Luckily, we here at Hollywood.com are all about celebrating the good news, including legendary celebrity achievements. So we’re taking a closer look at a few members of the EGOT circle and seeing just how many you knew about before reading this.
But first things first, let’s clarify this acronym so everybody’s on the same page, shall we?
It stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony. For an individual to earn the distinction of “EGOT,” they must be the recipient of all 4 awards throughout their career in entertainment.
The term became widely popularized in a 2009 30 Rock episode. “Who’s an EGOT?” Tracy Morgan’s character, Tracy Jordan, asks a salesman upon finding a blinged-out necklace emblazoned with the 4 letters at a jewelry store called Yakov’s Nubian Bling Explosion.
“EGOT is not a person, T.J., it’s a goal,” the salesman replies.
“That’s a good goal for a talented crazy person,” Tracy states, before embarking on a quest to achieve the same combination of distinctions.
In truth, the term “EGOT” was coined in 1984, over 20 years before the advent of 30 Rock, by Miami Vice star Philip Michael Thomas. The actor really did purchase a gold pendant emblazoned with the 4 letters (albeit much smaller than the 1 from 30 Rock) and told reporters at the time, “That stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Hopefully in the next 5 years I will win all those awards.”
Spoiler alert: Philip Michael Thomas did not achieve this distinction. But honestly, good on him for being so ambitious in the first place. See, if the star did not identify such a lofty goal, and set the acronym in gold, the anecdote would have never been popularized in 30 Rock and the modern-day distinction of “EGOT winner” wouldn’t have come to gain such pop cultural significance. (So thanks for that, Philip Michael Thomas!)
Bobby Lopez has 2 G’s, 3 T’s, 3 E’s, and now, 2 O’s.
EGOT no longer applies.
My man is a TOE TOE EGG T.
He’s a 💯 GETTTO O. GEE.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 5, 2018
You ever look up at the moon and wonder if it is too late for Phillip Michael Thomas to complete the EGOT?
— Roy, star of the hit USA show Wings (@KimJongIllmatic) March 12, 2021
According to a 2019 feature article from The Ringer about the term’s origin (and mainstream-ization):
“As hype over who wins has grown, so has a fascination with show business’s overachievers. Only a talented few have reached the apex of this proverbial horse race, but it wasn’t until a multiseason 30 Rock subplot that the public knew what to call it.”
Once the esteemed accolade had a name, celebs and fans alike have waited with bated breath to see who would be the next star to join the illustrious list of EGOT winners. Let’s dive in and see how many winners you’re familiar with.
Who’s an EGOT winner?
Let it be known that, at this current moment in time, only 16 people have officially earned the distinction of “EGOT winner.” (Although there are more if you count honorary awards and distinctions.) Upon perusing the complete EGOT roster, a trend quickly emerges: The majority of EGOT winners are composers (see: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jonathan Tunick, and Marvin Hamlisch, among others.) This is why it’s particularly fitting that the very first EGOT winner (who won the combo of awards decades before Philip Michael Thomas coined the acronym) was 1 of the most prolific composers of the 20th century.
EGOT winner: Richard Rodgers
If you’ve ever seen a Rodgers & Hammerstein movie or musical, you know Richard Rodgers’s work. But we bet you didn’t know *just* how many awards Richard raked in during his heyday. The first EGOT winner received a total of 13 awards across the board between 1945 and 1979. The composer won his first Oscar way back in 1945. He was awarded Best Song for “It Might as Well Be Spring” from the film State Fair.
Richard Rodgers would go on to receive multiple Tonys for hit Broadway musicals such as The King and I, South Pacific, and The Sound of Music. His Grammy Awards were granted for cast recordings of The Sound of Music (1960) and No Strings (1962). 1962 also delivered the final jewel in the composer’s EGOT crown: an Emmy Award for Best Composer for the documentary Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years.
Richard earned the EGOT distinction a month before his 60th birthday and paved the way (whether he realized it or not) for a crop of other stars to follow in his footsteps (and for loads more to aspire to).
— billboard (@billboard) May 25, 2019
EGOT winner: Helen Hayes
The second EGOT winner in history, and the first female EGOT winner of all time, is actress Helen Hayes. Fans of the stage may know her as the “first lady of the American theater,” or perhaps from the Broadway theater that’s named for her. That’s why it’s no surprise that this talented thespian, whose career spanned a whopping 8(!) decades, has been on the EGOT roster since 1977.
Helen Hayes earned her first award of the bunch, an Oscar, way back in 1932 when she won Best Actress for The Sin of Madelon Claudet. This was the first sound film the actress starred in and marked her successful transition from the world of silent films to talkies. She went on to star in numerous Hollywood blockbusters of the era including A Farewell to Arms (1932) opposite Gary Cooper and The White Sister (1933) opposite Clark Gable. However, Helen Hayes’s heart remained in the theater.
The performer went on to earn not 1 but 2 Tony Awards, first for Best Dramatic Actress for the Anita Loos play Happy Birthday in 1947, and over a decade later for her performance in the Time Remembered (1958), in which she starred alongside Richard Burton.
Helen Hayes’s Emmy distinction came between her 2 Tony Awards when she won a Primetime Emmy for Best Actress in 1953 for her performance in the CBS anthology television series Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. Helen continued performing on Broadway until 1970 at age 70. However, she was far from retirement. In fact, Helen kept performing and making television appearances until the age of 85.
At 77, Helen Hayes completed her EGOT by winning a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Recording for Great American Documents (1976), which celebrated America’s bicentennial. Helen won her last award for reading the Bill of Rights. Yes, as in the Bill of Rights from the US Constitution. Isn’t it fitting that the “first lady of the American theater” won a Grammy for reading such a quintessential piece of American history.
It’s worth noting that Helen also earned the distinction of having the longest timespan among all existing EGOT winners between her first and last (non-honorary) award wins. 45 years!
New week, new #MondayMotivation!
The “First Lady of American Theatre” and one of the first EGOT winners ever, Helen Hayes, once shared this wonderful piece of wisdom. pic.twitter.com/pvKPFkCuoy
— Actors’ Equity (@ActorsEquity) September 23, 2019
EGOT winner: Rita Moreno
Continuing chronologically, the third person and the first Latinx individual to receive the EGOT distinction was actress Rita Moreno. Unlike Helen Hayes, Rita earned all 4 distinctions in the span of 16 years. Although the triple-threat performer appeared in classic films such as Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and The King and I (1956), classic movie fans surely know Rita from her breakout role as Anita in the 1962 original film production of West Side Story. The Academy recognized Rita Moreno for her performance, as she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the movie musical, which has since become a hallmark in the canon of 20th century American cinema.
Rita Moreno’s next award came in 1972 when she received a Grammy for her role in the 1970’s educational television series The Electric Company (an early predecessor for other public access children’s shows like Sesame Street). Appearing on the program with other soon-to-be Hollywood stars like Morgan Freeman, Rita received the Grammy for Best Children’s Recording. Yet kids of the ’70s probably remember her more for her on-screen performance on the show rather than the original soundtrack album.
The 1970s brought further success for Rita Moreno whose first and only Tony came in 1972 for Best Featured or Supporting Actress in the Terrence McNally play The Ritz. Rita went on to star in the film adaptation of The Ritz and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as Googie Gomez.
Rita Moreno officially earned the EGOT distinction in 1977 upon winning a Primetime Emmy for her appearance on The Muppet Show. Children’s television was good to Rita! To add icing to her EGOT cake, Rita earned another Primetime Emmy the following year, for her appearance in the detective drama The Rockford Files, which starred James Garner.
Film and theater fans alike can see Rita Moreno in the upcoming Steven Spielberg adaptation of West Side Story, set to hit theaters in December of this year. While Rita sadly won’t be reprising her role as Anita, she will be appearing in the film, which she also executive produced.
Bow at the altar of Puerto Rican EGOT queen Rita Moreno pic.twitter.com/zdVgNT0T93
— 𝚑𝚒𝚜𝚙𝚊𝚗𝚒𝚌 𝚙𝚒𝚡𝚒𝚎 𝚍𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚐𝚒𝚛𝚕 (@mathewrodriguez) March 5, 2018
EGOT winner: Audrey Hepburn
If you’re reading this list thinking to yourself “I don’t know who these people are…” then rest assured because virtually everybody knows who Audrey Hepburn is!
Audrey, the 4th Hollywood star to achieve EGOT status, was the first to win her last of the 4 awards posthumously. And, like Helen Hayes, it took Audrey Hepburn over 4 decades to complete her EGOT distinction. The Belgium born beauty earned her first award of the 4, an Oscar for Best Leading Actress, in 1953 for her performance in the romantic comedy Roman Holiday, in which she starred opposite Hollywood legend Gregory Peck. Just the following year, in 1954, Audrey received a Tony for Best Actress in a Play for her leading performance in Ondine.
Although Audrey Hepburn received 4 Oscar nominations for her roles in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1962), Sabrina (1955), The Nun’s Story (1960), and Wait Until Dark (1968), her Best Actress win for Roman Holiday would surprisingly be her only Oscar. The other half of her EGOT distinctions did not come until the mid-’90s, once Audrey’s reputation as Hollywood royalty had been firmly cemented.
Although Audrey passed away in January of 1993 at age 63, the star won a Primetime Emmy that year for the travel documentary series Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn. The following year, she was also posthumously awarded a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales. Although the album was released in 1992, the posthumous win officially cemented Miss Holly Golightly in the illustrious EGOT winner’s circle.
Happy 90th birthday to Audrey Hepburn. Holder of the EGOT. Spoke 5 languages. UNICEF ambassador. Do something nice today in her honour. pic.twitter.com/dgTENqtvj7
— Kim Louise living alone (@Kinseys_speaks) May 4, 2019
EGOT winner: Whoopi Goldberg
So, chances are if you can name only 1 EGOT winner, it’s Whoopi Goldberg. Why is that? Perhaps it has to do with Whoopi’s cameo appearance in that episode of 30 Rock we referenced earlier where she explains to Tracy Morgan’s character how 1 ascends to EGOT-level fame. Or maybe it’s because you’re just a big Whoopi Goldberg fan. Either way, Whoopi’s EGOT status is worth a closer look.
From 1985 until 2009, Whoopi, born Caryn Elaine Johnson, earned herself a total of 6 awards, the first of which was a Grammy for Best Comedy Album for Whoopi Goldberg, an album recording of her eponymous Broadway show. (She won a Grammy for a Broadway performance… what a flex!) The same year, Whoopi had her breakout Hollywood role in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple, for which she earned a Golden Globe (and starred alongside Danny Glover and Oprah!).
Five years later, Whoopi Goldberg scored herself an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as an eccentric psychic in Ghost (for which she also earned her second Golden Globe). While she did not win any Oscars or Golden Globes for her performances in the hit films Sister Act (1992) or Sister Act II: Back in the Habit (1993), the success of both films made Whoopi the highest-paid actress in Hollywood at the time.
In 2002, Whoopi was awarded a Daytime Emmy for hosting Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel, which documented the life of the first female African-American to win an Oscar, over 50 years prior to Whoopi Goldberg’s Ghost win. She later won another Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 2002 for The View.
And while Whoopi Goldberg has starred in a number of Broadway shows like Xanadu (2007), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2003), and A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum (1996), she earned her first (and only current) Tony as a producer for Thoroughly Modern Millie, which starred Sutton Foster in the title role.
We would be quite remiss not to mention the fact that Whoopi Goldberg was not only the first female Black American to earn EGOT status, but she presently remains the only Black woman to have done so.
— Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) June 17, 2021
EGOT Winner: Robert Lopez
While the name Robert Lopez may not be as familiar to you as the likes of Audrey Hepburn or Whoopi Goldberg, chances are you’ve heard at least *1* song the composer has penned throughout his career. From Broadway’s Avenue Q to The Book of Mormon to the big screen’s Frozen and Coco, the musical works of Robert Lopez will play on for generations.
Not only is Robert the youngest recipient of an EGOT (winning his last of the 4 awards at age 39), he is the only member of this list to “Double EGOT,” meaning he’s won each award at least twice! Way to go, Robert!
Okay, let’s break this down starting from the beginning. Robert’s first Tony Award came in 2004 for his first Broadway musical, Avenue Q, for which the songwriter won Best Original Score.
In 2008 and 2010, Robert won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Musical Direction and Composition for Wonder Pets!, an animated television series on Nick Jr.
Then in 2011, Robert got himself 2 more Tony’s for The Book of Mormon. Along with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who collaborated with Robert on the musical’s book, music, and lyrics, the 3 won Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. If you’re counting, that’s 2 Emmys and 3 Tony Awards in 7 years for Robert.
The following year, in 2012, Robert earned his first Grammy when The Book of Mormon: Original Broadway Cast Recording won Best Musical Theater Album. Little did Robert Lopez know that he’d be back for more Grammy wins in 2015, after the release of a little animated film called Frozen. (Ever heard of it?)
Not only did Frozen win an Oscar in 2014 for Best Original Song (“Let it Go,” obviously!), but Robert won 2 more Grammys for Frozen for Best Song Written for Visual Media and Best Compilation Soundtrack. Following Frozen’s commercial and critical acclaim, Robert Lopez was officially the youngest individual to win an EGOT, and the fastest to do so. But Robert wasn’t done yet!
In 2018, Robert Lopez was awarded his second Oscar for Best Original Song for “Remember Me” from the Pixar movie Coco. It was performed live at the awards ceremony by the film’s star Gabriel Garcia Bernal. And surely, all Hollywood fans remember the performance of Robert’s biggest hit “Let it Go” 4 years prior when Frozen star Idina Menzel was unceremoniously introduced as “Adele Dazeem” by presenter John Travolta. (Hey, Robert still won the Oscar that night!) Luckily, Gabriel’s introduction went far more smoothly.
Robert Lopez didn’t win his awards for Frozen and Coco alone. In fact, the composer penned both film scores with his wife and collaborator, lyricist Kristen Anderson-Lopez. If you’ve been counting, that’s 2 Oscars, 2 Emmys, 3 Grammys, and 3 Tonysfor Lopez. And his career is far from over. In fact, just this month, the husband and wife duo were nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys for their work on the Marvel/Disney series WandaVision. An Emmy win would make Kristen Anderson-Lopez just 1 Tony away from joining her husband in EGOT-land.
*embed @Lin_Manuel tweet:
Bobby Lopez has 2 G’s, 3 T’s, 3 E’s, and now, 2 O’s.
EGOT no longer applies.
My man is a TOE TOE EGG T.
He’s a 💯 GETTTO O. GEE.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 5, 2018
EGOT Winner: John Legend
Oh, you didn’t hear? John Legend is also EGOT-certified. Yeah way! From 2006 to 2018, the R&B singer turned “the internet’s favorite cool dad” received 16 awards. With a current 13 Grammy wins under his belt (and counting), John has won the most Grammys out of the current roster of EGOT winners and is the first EGOT recipient who is primarily a musician, rather than an actor, composer, or producer. He was the second Black American after Whoopi Goldberg to earn EGOT status and the first Black male to do so. Also, John Legend is the first individual to receive all 4 awards in 4 consecutive years. (No big deal, right?)
John Legend earned his first 3 Grammy Awards in 2005, following the release of his debut studio album, Get Lifted. He continued to dominate at the Grammys throughout the early aughts, earning 7 additional Grammys within a decade. Not only did John and co-writer Common win a Grammy in 2015 for their song “Glory” from the film Selma, but the 2 also stunned at the Oscars! The pair scored an Academy Award for Best Original Song. (Their acceptance speech did not leave a dry eye in the house).
Once John Legend was halfway to EGOT status, the musician decided to branch out to the Great White Way by co-producing a revival production of August Wilson’s Jitney in 2017. And since everything that John seems to touch turns to gold, the show won a Tony for Best Revival of a Play. Like Whoopi’s Tony win, while John Legend did not star in the production, he still received a Tony Award for his producing role. (Hey, it still counts!)
John completed his EGOT journey in 2018 with his first Emmy Award for his work on the live televised musical Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. Although he was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his performance as Jesus Christ, John received the Primetime Emmy for his producer role for the program, which won Outstanding Live Variety Special.
And just to clarify, while John Legend was also 39 upon gaining EGOT status, Robert Lopez was 8 months younger upon earning the distinction, making Legend the second-youngest EGOT winner to date.
I appreciate that John Legend wanted to perform in front of his awards shelf but how is the EGOT not top front and center? pic.twitter.com/DCrXUjUXdI
— Erik Anderson (@awards_watch) April 19, 2020
no Grammys for us today. john got and EGOT and egot lazy pic.twitter.com/fRdcXtbFVR
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) February 10, 2019
EGOT Winners: The full list
See how many more EGOT winners you know! Here’s the full list of winners in chronological order:
Richard Rodgers (1962)
Helen Hayes (1977)
Rita Moreno (1977)
John Gieglund (1991)
Audrey Hepburn (1994)
Marvin Hamlisch (1995)
Jonathan Tunick (1997)
Mel Brooks (2001)
Mike Nichols (2001)
Whoopi Goldberg (2002)
Scott Rudin (2012)
Robert Lopez (2014)
Andrew Lloyd Webber (2018)
Tim Rice (2018)
John Legend (2018)
Alan Mencken (2020)
So there are only 16 EGOT winners?
The short answer is yes, 16. But that’s if we’re only including recipients of awards that weren’t presented on an honorary basis. For example, Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli are EGOT winners if you include their honorary or non-competitive awards (meaning they weren’t nominated for anything).
If we’re being “official” and only counting awards for which an individual was nominated, then neither songstress makes the cut. But if we’re including celebrities that gained EGOT status in this way, along with Barbra and Liza, 3 more Hollywood stars can be included in this grouping: James Earl Jones, Harry Belafonte, and Quincy Jones..
Whether you’re lax or strict about your EGOT criteria, 1 thing can be sure: We can expect to see a lot more EGOT winners in the near future. Psst… We’re hedging our bets on Viola Davis, Cynthia Erivo, or Ben Platt soon!
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