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EGOT! (part 1)

Sir Elton John has long been regarded as a living legend, but his latest accolade last week saw him join the exclusive EGOT club with an Emmy Award for Elton John Live. This Emmy now joins five Grammy Awards (including the Grammy Legend Award), two Academy Awards for Best Original Song (“Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” and “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again)” and the Tony Award for Best Original Score for Aida to finally complete his EGOT status. He is the 19th artist to win all four awards in his career. Now let’s look at the others!

In 1962, famed composer Richard Rodgers became the first ever EGOT winner when he won an Emmy Award for his original television score for the film Winston Churchill, in addition to Grammys, Oscars and two Tonys. In the same year, he also won the Tony Award for Best Original Score and the Grammy Award for Best Show Album for his song “No Strings”. He won the Oscar for Best Song in 1945 for “It Might as Well be Spring” from the film State Fair. Rodgers worked on musicals such as The Sound of Music and South Pacific. He started the EGOT itself and the tradition of often featuring composers alongside singers, actors, producers, directors and lyricists. EGOT winners are almost always musically supremely talented artists, although Mike Nichols, Mel Brook,s and Whoopi Goldberg all won Grammys for comedy that eventually led to their EGOT wins, while Viola Davis, Audrey Hepburn and John Gielgud won Grammys for narrative recording.

The second/third EGOT winners had to wait 15 years. Helen Hayes became the first woman to obtain EGOT status when she won a Grammy in 1977 for her spoken word performance of Great American Documents. Previously, she won two Academy Awards for Best Actress for her performance in My Son John and Airport, two Tony Awards for Best Actress for Happy Birthday and Time Remembered, and an Emmy for her performance in the Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. She later won another Tony Award: the Lawrence Langner Award in 1980. She was followed that same year by West Side Story star Rita Moreno, who won an EGOT for her Emmy for The Muppet Show, which joined the Grammy for Best Children’s Recording (The Electric Company), the Tony for Best Actress (The Ritz) and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (for West Side Story, of course). Moreno later (the following year) won a second Emmy for her performance in The Rockford Files.

Another 14 years passed before John Gielgud joined this exclusive club in 1991. Gielgud, best known for his Shakespearean roles, was 87 years old and won an Emmy for the miniseries Summer’s Lease. He had previously won three Tony Awards, an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Arthur and a Grammy Award for Ages of Man – Recordings from Shakespeare. Audrey Hepburn became an EGOT winner more than 40 years after she won her first major award, the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Roman Holiday in 1953. In 1994, her posthumous Grammy Award for Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales elevated her to EGOT status, joining the Emmy for Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn and the Tony for Best Actress for Ondine. In 1995, Barbra Streisand’s frequent collaborator Marvin Hamlisch became the second composer to receive EGOT status. That year, he won two Emmy Awards for Barbra: The Concert, which was added to his four Grammy Awards for The Way We Were and The Entertainer, three Academy Awards for The Way We Were and The Big Trouble, and a Tony Award for Best Original Score for the 1976 film A Chorus Line. He was followed in 1997 by Jonathan Tunick, another exceptional composer, when he won the Tony Award for Best Score for Titanic. He has previously won one of the other major awards: an Emmy for music direction for 1982’s Night of 100 Stars, a Grammy for orchestration for No One Is Alone, and an Academy Award for Best Adapted Score for A Little Night Music.

In the 2000s, three more filmmakers joined. Mel Brooks became an EGOT winner in 2001, when he won three Tony Awards for The Producers on the same night. His previous awards include four Emmys for his work in television, an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for The Producers, and a Grammy for Best Spoken-Comedy for The Man in 2000. Mike Nichols also won an EGOT Award this year. He was also missing out on an Emmy Award, which he eventually won for Wit, and ended up winning two on the same night. Previously, he won the Grammy for Best Comedy Performance for An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May, the Academy Award for Best Director for The Graduate and six Tony Awards for performances in films such as Annie and The Prisoner of Second Avenue. Since gaining EGOT status, he has won two more Tony Awards for Monty Python’s Spamalot and Death of a Salesman, and two more Emmys for Angels in America. Whoopi Goldberg joined the EGOT team in 2002 when she won the Tony Award for Best Musical for Thoroughly Modern Milly. She also won two Emmy Awards for Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel and The View, a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording for Whoopi Goldberg – Original Broadway Show Recording, and of course, an Academy Award for her famous performance in Ghost.