EGOT Winners and How They Got Their Start

EGOT is an acronym for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Only a handful of creatives have managed to snag all four and it’s considered a huge achievement and a sign that these folks really have “arrived.” Some folks complete them in a few short years while others work for a lifetime to win the collection. In show business, it’s the equivalent of a “grand slam.”

The EGOT acronym was coined by actor Philip Michael Thomas in the 1980s when his role on the new hit show Miami Vice brought him instant fame. At the time, he stated a desire to achieve the EGOT within five years. Unfortunately, he never earned the distinction but we do have him to thank for the concept. In the history of the four awards ceremonies, there have only been 17 folks with the distinction. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s a very special

EGOT Winners from Most Recent to Those Who Came Before.

Jennifer Hudson

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The newest EGOT winner is actress, singer, and producer Jennifer Hudson. She made history at the 2022 Tony Awards for her role as a co-producer of A Strange Loop, which won the trophy for Best Musical. Before that, in 2007, Hudson won an Oscar for her role in Dreamgirls. She has also received two Grammys, one for best R&B album in 2009, and the other for best musical theater album for The Color Purple in 2017.

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Just last year, she won a Daytime Emmy for an animated short called Baba Yag. You’ll likely recall that Hudson got her big break on American Idol in 2004.

RELATED: Jennifer Hudson Is An Official EGOT Winner After Bringing Home A Tony For ‘A Strange Loop’

Alan Menken

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While you might remember this composer and songwriter for his contributions to the Disney songbook, Oscar-winning scores for animated classics like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, Menken is also an 11-time Grammy award-winner for many of those same, beloved songs, as well as a Tony winner for his score for 2012’s Newsies.

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He completed his EGOT in 2020 with an Emmy for Outstanding Original Song in a Children’s, Young Adult or Animated Program for Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. After college, Menken attended the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop where he cut his teeth as a songwriter for Broadway.

John Legend

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John Legend has definitely lived up to his larger-than-life stage name, completing his EGOT collection in 2018 by becoming the first African-American man ever to secure all four major creative awards. In addition to his 12 Grammy Awards, including his 2006 win for Best New Artist, Legend added an Oscar to his resume in 2015 for his song “Glory” which was featured in the movie Selma, and a Tony in 2017 as co-producer for the Broadway production of Jitney. His 2018 Emmy came after his work on Jesus Christ Superstar won for outstanding variety special.

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Legend’s breakthrough occurred in 2004 with the release of his feature album, Get Lifted. It was partially such a success because Legend had fostered relationships with powerhouse producers like Kanye West and will.i.am.

Sir Tim Rice

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Sir Tim Rice is one of the few EGOT winners to have the distinction of also being knighted. Rice has written the lyrics in iconic Disney favorites. Along with his Academy Award, Grammy, and Tony for Evita with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (put a pin in that), Rice also has an Oscar and a Grammy for his work on Disney’s Aladdin, a Grammy and a Tony for his collaboration with Sir Elton John on Aida, and an Academy Award for his contribution to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King.

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As with Legend, Rice’s Emmy came from his work as a producer for 2018’s Jesus Christ Superstar. Rice got his start as a record producer for EMI records before making the jump to broadway.

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber

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Perhaps best known for his work on smash-hit musicals like The Phantom of the Opera and Cats, Webber shares several of his EGOTs with collaborator and fellow EGOT winner Tim Rice (hello, again!), including his 1980 Grammy, 1980 Tony, and 1997 Oscar, all for their work on Evita. Webber has two additional Grammys as well as a Grammy Legend Award and a Tony. His most recent trophy, the Emmy, came from his position as a producer on the live, televised Jesus Christ Superstar. He was also knighted by the Queen in 1992.

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Webber actually has Tim Rice to thank for getting him his start in music. The pair met and began producing music for their own original musicals. There were plenty of flops but they struck gold finally with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Robert Lopez

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Robert Lopez earned his EGOT status with a 2014 Oscar for Frozen‘s “Let It Go.” The then-39-year-old was the youngest person ever to earn all four awards. He’s since racked up an additional Oscar for his work on the movie Coco, which earned him status as the only person in history ever to hold dual EGOTs, with at least two awards in each category. His contribution to the children’s show Wonder Pets has received two Daytime Emmys.

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In 2012, he received a Grammy for The Book of Mormon and another two in 2015 for Frozen. He has also had an impressive run at the Tonys, winning Best Original Score awards in 2004 for Avenue Q and again in 2011 for The Book of Mormon. Lopez is another EGOT winner who was involved with BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. His breakthrough was the sleeper hit Avenue Q.

Scott Rudin

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Before Scott Rudin, no one had ever earned an EGOT collection for their work producing. He got his start on the set in 1984 with the Emmy-winning He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’.

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Ten years later, he would win the next of the EGOT awards with a Tony for 1994’s Passion, but from then on there was little stopping this Tony-winning machine, who has garnered a stunning 15 little statues for his work as a producer on shows including Doubt, the revivals of Fences and Hello, Dolly!, and The Book of Mormon for which he would also earn his Grammy. Finally, his Oscar came with 2008’s No Country for Old Men.

Whoopi Goldberg

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We owe Whoopi Goldberg a thank you for the popular use of the term EGOT. She inspired the return of the phrase on the TV show 30 Rock where she joked about whether her Daytime Emmy awards from 2002 and 2009 should count toward the EGOT collection. Perhaps surprisingly for such a well-known actor, Goldberg’s first award was actually her Grammy in 1985, which she won for Best Comedy Recording. In 1990, she took home a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Ghost.

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In 2002, she garnered a Daytime Emmy for Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel (seven years later, she’d win her second as a host on The View) as well as a Tony as co-producer of the Best Musical-winning Thoroughly Modern Millie, making her the first African-American ever to complete an EGOT set. In 1983, she gained recognition for her one-woman show, Moms, in which she portrayed Moms Mabley. It would be the beginning of her very illustrious career.

Mike Nichols

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Mike Nichols started his EGOT run with a 1961 Best Comedy Performance Grammy for An Evening With Mike Nichols And Elaine May, but his ensuing awards would come courtesy of his skill as a director. Of his nine Tony awards, eight of them would come for Best Direction including his achievements on hits like Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple. By 1967, his acumen earned him an Oscar for Best Director on The Graduate. In 2001 he won his first of four Emmys for his work on Wit, and then in 2004, Angels in America.

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In the 1950s, Nichols joined the Compass Players in Chicago (a precursor to Second City), and later he would join Elaine May, performing as the comedy duo Nichols and May.

Mel Brooks

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In 2001, at the age of 74, Mel Brooks made his way onto the EGOT list with three Tony awards for his musical adaptation of his 1967 film The Producers, which had previously garnered him an Academy Award. The musical would also receive a Grammy, but Brooks already had one of those behind him thanks to his 1999 comedy album The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000

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As for Emmys, Brooks has been at it for a while, winning his first in 1967 for writing on The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special, and three more as a guest actor on Mad About You.

This legendary comic writer, actor, and director got his start in the Catskills playing various resorts first as a musician and later as a stand-up comedian. Behind the scenes, he was writing for television under Sid Caeser.

Jonathan Tunick

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Jonathan Tunick joined the EGOT elite in 1997 with a Tony award for Best Orchestrations in Titanic—exactly 20 years after he received his first award of the set, a 1977 Oscar for Best Original Song on the film A Little Night Music. Between the two, he earned an Emmy for Music Direction for 1982’s Night of 100 Stars and a 1988 Grammy for Best Arrangement on the song “No One is Alone.”

Tunick got his start primarily working on the musicals of Stephen Sondheim.

Marvin Hamlisch

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Marvin Hamlisch has more Oscars to his name than anyone else on the EGOT winner list (three total), in an especially grand move, he managed to win all three of the Oscars in the same year. In 1974 Hamlisch took home two Academy Awards for The Way We Were and an additional one for The Sting. The same year he won his four Grammys. In 1995 his continued work with Barbara Streisand and snagged two Emmy awards for Barbra: The Concert. However, it was his earlier work on 1976’s A Chorus Line that would earn him not only an EGOT-making Tony award but also a Pulitzer Prize.

He got his start as a rehearsal pianist in New York City and the gig that changed it all was working with Streisand on Funny Girl.

Audrey Hepburn

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Unfortunately, Audrey Hepburn‘s EGOT awards were awarded posthumously to the legendary actress, but that doesn’t make her wins any less impressive. After her Oscar-winning performance in 1953’s Roman Holiday, Hepburn swiftly followed up with a Tony for her role in Ondine just a year later. Her Emmy would come in 1993, months after her passing, for her work on the educational program Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn. In 1994, she received a Grammy for her children’s album Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales.

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Hepburn got her start as a ballerina but turned to acting when things did not pan out in the dance world. Her big break occurred when she was cast in a Broadway role in a little show called Gigi.

Sir John Gielgud

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Promotional image of John Gielgud in the 1959 Broadway production of Much Ado About Nothing / Public Domain

Sir John Gielgud is notable for being the oldest EGOT winner to complete his award collection, getting his Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in Summer’s Lease in 1991 when he was 87. He started his EGOT quest way before, winning the first of his two Tonys in 1948 for The Importance of Being Earnest. In 1979 he took home a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Documentary or Drama Recording for Ages of Man, followed by a Best Supporting Actor win in 1981 for the Dudley Moore gem Arthur.

Gieguld married into a theatrical family and would later take roles in London’s West End.

Rita Moreno

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In 1977, Rita Moreno became the third person and the second woman ever to earn a collection of EGOTs. She secured it with an Emmy Award for her appearance on The Muppet Show. She would win a second for The Rockford Files the following year. Two years earlier, in 1975, she had won a Tony for her turn as Googie Gomez in The Ritz, and three years before that had picked up a Grammy for Best Recording for Children with The Electric Company. She won a 1961 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in West Side Story. It took a total of 16 years for her to achieve EGOT status.

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Moreno’s film career began in the later years of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Moreno and her mother moved to a Culver City “cottage” within walking distance of MGM. She acted steadily in films throughout the 1950s, mostly in small parts until she starred in Singin’ in the Rain.

Helen Hayes

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The same year that Moreno got her EGOTs, Helen Hayes became the first woman ever to receive the honor. She beat out Moreno to it but just a few months! Hayes started out with the first of two Oscars in 1932 for The Sin of Madelon Claudet. Her second Oscar would come for Airport in 1970. She earned a Tony in 1947 for her performance in Happy Birthday. In 1958, another would follow for Time Remembered. In 1953 she received an Emmy for Best Actress, but it would take until 1977 for her to win the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for Great American Documents.

Hayes began work as an actor very early on. She had her stage debut when she was just five!

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Richard Rodgers

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Richard Rodgers is one half of the famed duo, Rodgers and Hammerstein. Long before the term “EGOT” was a thing, Rodgers already had his collection. He became the first person ever to collect the EGOT awards after his Emmy award for Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years. The acclaimed composer began his climb with his 1945 Oscar for Best Original Song for “It Might As Well Be Spring” from State Fair.

Between 1950 and his death in 1979 he would win eight Tony awards for his work on musicals like South Pacific and The King and I, as well as two Grammy awards—one for The Sound of Music in 1960 and one for No Strings just two years later. South Pacific would also win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950, making Rodgers one of only two people to ever achieve the honor of adding a P to his EGOTs. PEGOT, wow!

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Rodgers got his start composing with Lorenz Hart and they completed several failed musical comedies before mounting their first real production, Poor Little Ritz Girl.

There you go! We hope you enjoyed this list of EGOT winners and learned a thing or two about these performers and creatives who have managed to earn the show business equivalent of a “grand slam.” Jennifer Hudson might be the latest but she won’t be the last. We’ll be awaiting awards season to see who else manages to collect the suite of accolades for their treasured work.

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