Film Theory: Cumulative Advantage–EGOT

Only twelve people in history have won the Emmy, the Grammy, the Oscar and the Tony, or “EGOT’ed”–the ultimate mic drop move in showbusiness and Hollywood’s Holy Grail.

Technically, 17 people have achieved this coinage if you count “special” or “honorary” awards, in which case Liza Minnelli, James Earl Jones, Barbra Streisand, Alan Menken, and Harry Belafonte are also members. However, many don’t count non-competitive awards.

 

RICHARD ROGERS (EGOT’ed 1962)
Emmy: The legendary composer (as in Rogers and Hammerstein) won an Emmy in 1962 for Outstanding Achievement in Original Music with docu-series “Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years.”
Grammy: In 1960, Rogers’ won his first Grammy, Best Original Cast Show Album, for Broadway’s The Sound of Music.
Oscar: His Academy Award christening was Best Original Song in 1945 for State Fair’s “It Might as Well be Spring” — not his most catchy tune, but 1940s movie musical catnip.
Tony: He collected Tonys like people collect Pokémon, but his first (three) came in 1950 with South Pacific.
There’s a theater, Richard Rogers Theater, named after him.

HELEN HAYES (EGOT’ed 1977)
Emmy: In 1953, when the Emmys were still in their infancy, there were fewer and more general categories. Hayes claimed the Best Actress nod.
Grammy: Hayes won Best Spoken Word Album alongside Henry Fonda and James Earl Jones for their 1976 recording, Great American Documents. MAGA.
Oscar: In 1932, just before Hollywood brought down the censorship hammer, Hayes won Best Actress for playing a prostitute in The Sin of Madelon Claudet. She’d win another Oscar 39 years later as a stowaway in Airport.
Tony: Known as “the First Lady of American Theater,” Hayes won her first Tony, for Best Actress, in the comedic play Happy Birthday.

RITA MORENO (EGOT’ed 1977)
Emmy: A one-episode stint on The Muppet Show earned Moreno her first Emmy for (take a deep breath): Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Variety or Music. An Emmy is an Emmy.
Grammy: Cringe alert. Moreno and Bill Cosby won Best Recording for Children in 1972 for their work on The Electric Company.
Oscar: The triple-threat’s memorable performance in West Side Story scored her 1962’s Best Supporting Actress.
Tony: Moreno sang “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” in The Ritz, and up came the 1975 Tony for Best Supporting or Featured (Dramatic) Actress.
Bonus Factoid: Her Oscar acceptance speech was 11 words: “I can’t believe it! Good Lord. I leave you with that!” Kanye, take note.

JOHN GIELGUD (EGOT’ed 1991)
Emmy: The British Sir John’s 1991 Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special win was for playing Haverford Downs in Summer’s Lease.
Grammy: Sir John got the 1980 Best Spoken Word Album for Ages of Man: Readings from Shakespeare. He had a fabled voice — think a plummy Hugh Grant accent but with James Earl Jones gravitas and Alan Rickman edge.
Oscar: A “serious” actor known for highbrow performances, it was ironically his part in the 1981 Dudley Moore comedy Arthur that put the “O” in his EGOT with Best Supporting Actor.
Tony: his first competitive Tony award in 1961 was for directing the play Big Fish, Little Fish.