Life should have been good for Miami Vice’s Philip Michael Thomas in 1985. He was the star of one of television’s biggest hits, had released his first album as part of a multimillion-dollar deal with Atlantic Records, and was making a name for himself in the fashion world (or at least trying to) with his very own women’s clothing line. But Thomas still had loftier goals, both in mind and on the gold medallion he was so fond of wearing. That dream was an EGOT.
Though Thomas swore that the engraved letters E, G, O, and T on his prized necklace stood for energy, growth, opportunity, and talent, those around the then-36-year-old actor unanimously gave a different translation: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony—the four awards Thomas had intended to win over the next few years. It’s now more than 30 years later and Thomas has yet to even be nominated for any one of these accolades.
While an EGOT may seem an unlikely reality for Thomas, it’s not an impossibility for all artists. On June 12, 2022, the club added a new member: former American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson, who earned her fourth big award—a Tony—for producing the Broadway hit A Strange Loop, which was named Best Musical. Here are the 17 official members, a couple of SHEGOTS, plus several artists who are just one award away.
Before there was even a name for it, American composer Richard Rodgers became the first person to EGOT (yes, the acronym can also be used as a verb) when he won an Emmy for the television documentary Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years. His Oscar came in 1945, when his “It Might as Well Be Spring” from State Fair was named Best Song. He earned Grammys in both 1960 and 1962, for the original cast recordings of The Sound of Music and No Strings, respectively. Between 1950 and 1962, he won six Tony Awards, three of them in that first year for South Pacific. The same year, South Pacific also earned Rodgers a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which we guess makes him a PEGOT.
In 1977, 15 years after Rodgers inaugurated the honor, actress Helen Hayes joined him as the first female EGOT—an honor that took her 45 years to achieve, the longest of any of her EGOT peers. Her road began in 1932, when she won the Oscar for The Sin of Madelon Claudet (she won a second Oscar for 1970’s Airport). Her first Tony came in 1947, for Happy Birthday, followed by another in 1958 for Time Remembered. And she won a Best Actress Emmy in 1953 for an episode of Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. But it would take more than two decades for her to nab that elusive second letter, which she did for Best Spoken Word Recording for Great American Documents.
Seven months after Hayes earned her EGOT, actress Rita Moreno did the same when she won her first of two consecutive Emmys for a guest spot on The Muppet Show in 1977 (the following year she won one for an appearance on The Rockford Files). But Moreno did it in just 16 years, which was an EGOT record until 2014, when Robert Lopez came along (more on that later). Her Oscar came in 1961 as Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story, followed by a Best Recording for Children Grammy in 1972, for The Electric Company. In 1975, Moreno nabbed a Tony playing Googie Gomez in Terrence McNally’s The Ritz, a role she reprised in the 1976 big-screen version.
Unlike his three predecessors, the Oscar wasn’t the first award John Gielgud won to earn his EGOT. Instead it was the Tony, which he first won in 1948 for The Importance of Being Earnest. He won a second Tony in 1961, as the director of Big Fish, Little Fish. Next came the Grammy, in 1979, for his dramatic recording of Ages of Man. In 1981, Gielgud took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his iconic role as Dudley Moore’s butler/sidekick in Arthur. And when he won the Emmy in 1991, for Outstanding Lead Actor in Summer’s Lease, he was 87 years old, making him the oldest EGOT-getter.
Unfortunately, Audrey Hepburn didn’t live long enough to enjoy her EGOT. Two of her awards—her 1994 Grammy for the children’s album Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales and her 1993 Emmy for the informational Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn—were awarded after her passing on January 20, 1993, which made her the first posthumous EGOT recipient. She did, however, have the chance to bask in the glow of her 1953 Oscar for Roman Holiday, and a Tony for Ondine one year later.
There’s a distinctively heavy emphasis on the “O” in composer Marvin Hamlisch’s EGOT, as he is the most Academy Award-winning of the bunch, with a total of three. All of them were awarded in 1973—two for The Way We Were and one for his score for The Sting. It was the song, “The Way We Were,” that earned him his first of four Grammys, too, in 1974. His collaboration with Barbra Streisand continued, and earned him two Emmys in 1995, for Barbra: The Concert. Hamlisch’s Tony came in 1976 for A Chorus Line, the musical that also got him a Pulitzer Prize, making him the only other PEGOT on this list.
Composer/conductor Jonathan Tunick’s path to EGOT glory was a straight shot over the course of 20 years: In 1977 he won an Oscar for A Little Night Music, followed by an Emmy for Music Direction in 1982 for Night of 100 Stars, a 1988 Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for Cleo Laine’s “No One is Alone,” and, finally, a 1997 Tony for Best Orchestrations for Titanic.
Yes, Mel Brooks can do it all. In June of 2001 he became the world’s eighth EGOT winner, just a few weeks shy of his 75th birthday, when he earned three Tony Awards—for Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book of a Musical—for The Producers. It was The Producers that brought Brooks his Oscar as well, for Best Original Screenplay (albeit 33 years earlier). Brooks’s first award came in 1967, when he won the Emmy for writing The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special. Beginning in 1997, he won three consecutive Emmys, this time as a guest actor on the sitcom Mad About You. It was during that same period that he also won his first of three Grammys, in 1998 for Best Spoken Comedy Album for The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000. In a 2013 NPR interview, Brooks mentioned this crowning achievement, saying, “I’m an EGOT, so I don’t need any more [awards].”
Mike Nichols earned his EGOT in the same year as Mel Brooks, though it took him a full 40 years to get there (versus Brooks’s 34). The late comedian-turned-director’s path began with a 1961 Best Comedy Performance Grammy for An Evening With Mike Nichols And Elaine May. In 1964, he won his first of nine Tony Awards for Barefoot in the Park (his second came a year later for The Odd Couple). In 1967 he was named Best Director at the Oscars for The Graduate. And in 2001 he won his first two of four Emmys—for Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Made for Television Movie—for Wit.
If Philip Michael Thomas invented the idea of the EGOT, Tracy Morgan—as Tracy Jordan—brought the phrase back into popular use on 30 Rock, when he set the same goal and even wore the necklace. And they even got real-life EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg to play along and poke fun at the debate over whether she should truly be included as her Emmy is a Daytime one. (“It still counts,” she told Tracy. “Girl’s gotta eat!”) Goldberg’s first award was a 1985 Grammy for Best Comedy Recording of Whoopi Goldberg—Original Broadway Show Recording. Next came a 1990 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Ghost. In 2002 she got her E and T: an Emmy for hosting Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel and a Tony as co-producer of Thoroughly Modern Millie, which won Best Musical.
Scott Rudin is the first producer to EGOT. He earned his gold medallion in 2012 when The Book of Mormon: Original Broadway Cast Recording earned a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album (an award Rudin shares with fellow EGOT Robert Lopez). Rudin’s first award—an Emmy—came in 1984, for the kid’s show He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’. He earned his first of 15 Tony Awards in 1994 for Passion, and his most recent in 2017 for Hello, Dolly!. While Rudin is probably best known as a film producer, he’s only got one Oscar to his credit, a 2007 Best Picture statue for the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men.
In 2014, songwriter Robert Lopez became an EGOT when he and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, took home the Oscar for Best Original Song for Frozen’s “Let It Go.” (The pair won a second statuette earlier this year for the song “Remember Me” from Coco.) Lopez achieved the honor in record time, taking just 10 years to earn all four awards, beginning with a 2004 Tony Award for Best Score for Avenue Q, followed by two Daytime Emmys in 2008 and 2010 for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for Wonder Pets. In 2012, Lopez and Rudin shared the Grammy for The Book of Mormon, making them the first pair of EGOTs to have a shared award get them into the circle.
September 9, 2018 is a date that will go down in the history books of EGOT’ing, as the club added a total of three new members. Amazingly, it’s for a shared award. Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert‘s Emmy win for Outstanding Variety Special (Live) made official EGOT members of all three of its producers—John Legend, Tim Rice, and Andrew Lloyd Weber. For Legend, the honor was even more monumental as he’s both the youngest person to ever EGOT and the first Black male to join the club.
The Daytime Emmy came into play again for composer/songwriter Alan Menken, who won the Tony for Best Original Score for the Broadway version of Newsies in 2012. While he did win an Emmy in 1990 for his contribution to “Wonderful Ways to Say No,” an anti-drug cartoon special, it was an honorary one—leaving him one official award short of an EGOT. That changed in 2020, when Menken won a Daytime Emmy for composing a song for the Disney Channel’s TV series Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, “Waiting in the Wings.”
Jennifer Hudson may best be known as a singer and actor, but her Tony Award came by way of a producing credit on the current hit musical A Strange Loop. That put the T in her EGOT, making her the seventeenth official member of the club.
Though the official number of EGOT winners is 17, it’s worth noting that there are a handful of other rather famous faces who have also earned all four awards … but because at least one of them is a special or honorary award only—not a competitive one—their inclusion in the official club is questionable. Let’s call them SHEGOTs?
Amazingly, the only Tony Award that Barbra Steisand has on her mantel is a non-competitive one; in 1970, she was named Star of the Decade.
Liza Minnelli may have been handed a Grammy Legend Award in 1990—but this legend has no competitive Grammy to speak (or sing) of.
Though he’s been a Hollywood icon for decades, James Earl Jones’s only Oscar win was an honorary one in 2012. He did receive a Best Actor nomination in 1971 for The Great White Hope, but lost out to George C. Scott for Patton. (It’s worth noting that Scott had alerted the Academy ahead of time that he refused the nomination, so it was hardly surprising that he wasn’t there to accept the actual award.)
In 2014, Harry Belafonte was awarded the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award—putting him in the elite class of a half-dozen (SH)EGOTs.
Music producer Quincy Jones may be one of the world’s most award-winning artists, but a competitive Oscar has so far eluded him. Like Belafonte, the only Academy Award he has won is the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (which he received in 1994). Beyond that, he is a seven-time Oscar nominee.
While there are a number of artists who came close to EGOT’ing during their lifetimes—including Robin Williams (who was short a Tony), Jessica Tandy (she was missing a Grammy), Henry Fonda (who was minus an Emmy), and Leonard Bernstein (who never won an Oscar)—the EGOT dream is still alive for dozens of artists.
It’s hard to believe that Julie Andrews has yet to win a Tony Award (though she’s been nominated for three). If and when she does, she can add EGOT to her resume.
The Hamilton creator came so close to EGOT’ing in March 2022. But something tells us it won’t be long before he’s inducted into this elite group of artists.
He may be one of the world’s most acclaimed filmmakers, but it took him more than a quarter-century to earn his first (and so far only) Oscar. Hopefully, a Tony will be next. Goodfellas: The Musical anyone?
Just below the EGOT, there’s what is known as the Triple Crown of Acting: a performer who has won an Oscar, Emmy, and a Tony (but is missing a Grammy). Frances McDormand is among that group.
Like McDormand, Viola Davis is part of the Triple Crown club.
It took 20 years and 16 nominations, but Randy Newman finally became an Oscar winner in 2002 when he won the award for Best Original Song for “If I Didn’t Have You” from Monsters, Inc. He still needs a Tony though.
He’s one of the most celebrated actors alive, but Al Pacino is no Grammy winner.
The iconic composer may hold the record for the most Oscar nominations for a living person, but John Williams has yet to receive a single Tony Award nomination.
The iconic singer is one Tony Award short of an EGOT.
The “Rocket Man” singer is one Emmy Award away from an EGOT.
Longtime producing partners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer have seemingly conquered every medium, but neither one has yet won a Tony (though Grazer has come closer; he was nominated in 2008).
The South Park creators are just an Oscar short of the EGOT goalpost. (Though they earned an Oscar nomination in 2000 for the song “Blame Canada” from South Park.)
A version of this story ran in 2019; it has been updated for 2022.