What’s an EGOT? The most coveted achievement in Hollywood explained

Audrey Hepburn became the fifth person to achieve EGOT status, and the first to complete it posthumously. Getty Images/Hulton Archive
  • There are a select few stars who have reached EGOT status by earning Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and Tonys.
  • The feat is so difficult to achieve that only 16 people are on the list of EGOT winners, including Whoopi Goldberg, Mel Brooks, Audrey Hepburn, John Legend, and Rita Moreno.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The biggest honour in entertainment isn’t TV’s Emmy, Broadway’s Tony, music’s Grammy, or even film’s Oscar. It’s all four together: the EGOT.

That grand combination of Hollywood’s greatest performance prizes is called the EGOT, an acronym representing all four of the above awards. It’s a rare and amazing feat. Arguably, it’s the only actual measurement of an all-around performer. It’s also referred to as “the Grand Slam” of American entertainment.

The feat is so difficult to achieve that only 16 people are on the list of EGOT winners, including Whoopi Goldberg, Mel Brooks, Audrey Hepburn, John Legend, and Rita Moreno.

About five others may also claim to be unofficial EGOT winners, because one or more of their wins were honorary awards rather than given in a competition against others.

According to Vanity Fair, “Miami Vice” actor Philip Michael Thomas coined “EGOT” and popularised it by wearing a gold medallion around his neck with the acronym emblazoned onto the medallion in the mid-’80s.

“Hopefully in the next five years, I will win all of those awards,” an overconfident Thomas reportedly told an interviewer in 1984.

That’s as close as Thomas would ever get to the phrase, as he hasn’t won even one of the awards represented on his medallion. But thanks for naming the achievement, Philip!

He isn’t alone in having EGOT ambition, of course. Currently, there are many performers who are or had been (in the case of the deceased) one award away from achieving EGOT status, including Julie Andrews, Cher, Kate Winslet,Al Pacino, Elton John,Cyndi Lauper, and Lily Tomlin.

Here are all the current EGOT winners, including those who won non-competitive or special awards.

Jethro Nededog contributed to a previous version of this article.

Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers was the first person ever to get an EGOT. AP/Jerry Mosey

In addition to more than five Tony wins, the composer also snagged an Academy Award for the track “State Fair” in 1945, Grammys for the “No Strings” and “The Sound of Music Albums,” and an Emmy for outstanding achievement in original music composed for television.

Helen Hayes

There is a theatre in New York City named after Helen Hayes. Carlos Rene Perez/AP

Hayes received Oscars for her leading roles in “The Sin of Madelon Claudet” and “Airport.” She also won an Emmy, a Grammy, and two Tony Awards for her parts in “Happy Birthday” and “Time Remembered.”

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno played Anita in ‘West Side Story.’ AP

Aside from winning an Oscar for her supporting role in “West Side Story,” Moreno also got two Emmys for her parts in “The Muppet Show” and “The Rockford Files.” Additionally, she won a Grammy and a Tony.

John Gielgud

He starred in numerous theatre productions. Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Gielgud secured his EGOT status with roles in “Summer’s Lease” (which earned him an Emmy) and “Arthur” (which led him to win an Oscar). He also won a Grammy for “Ages of Man – Readings From Shakespeare” and a Tony for directing “Big Fish, Little Fish.”

Audrey Hepburn

Hepburn had iconic roles in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘My Fair Lady.’ AP

In 1954, Hepburn won an Academy Award for best actress for her role in “Roman Holiday.” She also got a Tony for her role in “Ondine,” a Grammy for best spoken word recording for children with “Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales,” and an Emmy for outstanding individual achievement in informational programming for “Gardens of the World With Audrey Hepburn.”

Marvin Hamlisch

He passed away in 2012. David Livingston/Getty Images

Hamlisch was a composer whose skill and attention to detail earned him multiple awards. Over the course of his career, he won four Emmy Awards, four Grammy Awards, three Oscars, and one Tony Award.

Jonathan Tunick

His other credits include being the orchestra leader for ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Into the Woods.’ Getty/Gary Gershoff

The composer won an Emmy for outstanding achievement in music direction for “Night of 100 Stars,” a Grammy for best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocal(s) for “No One Is Alone,” and an Oscar for best adaption score for “A Little Night Music.” He also received a Tony Award for his orchestration in “Titanic.”

Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks has mastered acting, writing, and producing. Mark J. Terrill/AP

Brooks earned his first award on the path to an EGOT in the ’60s with an Emmy for outstanding writing achievement in variety. He went on to win three more Emmys for outstanding actor in a comedy series, three Grammys, one Academy Award, and three Tonys.

Mike Nichols

At the 2004 Primetime Emmys, Mike Nichols won two awards. Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

Nichols accomplishments as a director contributed to him winning an EGOT. In the ’60s, he won a Grammy and an Academy Award. He then won Tony Awards for directing shows like “Monty Python’s Spamalot” and “Plaza Suite.” In addition, he won four Emmys in the 2000s.

Whoopi Goldberg

Goldberg was the first black winner of the EGOT. Christopher Polk/Getty Images

In 2002, Goldberg won two of the four awards with an Emmy for outstanding special class special (“Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel”) and a Tony for best musical (“Thoroughly Modern Millie”). She got an additional Emmy for being a co-host on “The View” and an Oscar for her supporting role in the movie “Ghost.”

Scott Rudin

Rudin posed backstage with his Golden Globe award in January 2003. Robert Mora/Getty Images

In addition to producing Oscar winner “No Country for Old Men,” Rudin is a familiar name in the theatre community. He received more than 10 Tonys for plays like “The Book of Mormon” and “Skylight.” Rudin also has one Grammy and one Emmy.

Robert Lopez

At 39 years old, Lopez was the youngest person ever to receive an EGOT. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Lopez made EGOT history for the age he reached that accomplishment at – but he was also the first individual to win a double-EGOT. He’s snagged at least two Emmys, Grammys, Tonys, and Oscars.

Barbra Streisand

Streisand is known for her role in ‘Funny Girl.’ George Birch/AP Photo

The performer has won two Oscars, plenty of Grammys, and four Emmys. Thanks to her special Tony Award in 1970, she is part of the EGOT club, too.

Liza Minnelli

Minelli is the daughter of Judy Garland. Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Minelli was recognised for her roles in “Cabaret” and “Liza with a ‘Z’: A Concert for Television.” After winning three Tony Awards, she received an additional, non-competitive one in 1074. Minelli rounded out her EGOT with a non-competitive Grammy win in 1990.

James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones received a lifetime achievement award at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2009. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Jones has won Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, and one Grammy Award. With an honorary award at the 2011 Oscars, he joined the prestigious EGOT group.

Alan Menken

Menken is a songwriter and composer. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Menken landed eight Oscars and 11 Grammys – all for his music that is featured in Disney classics. He’s the individual behind the musical scores of “The Little Mermaid,” “Tangled,” and the Broadway show “Newsies” (which earned him a Tony). In 1990, he received a non-competitive Emmy Award.

He officially hit EGOT status in 2020 when he won a Daytime Emmy for outstanding original song in a children’s, young adult or animated program for “Waiting in the Wings” from “Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure.”

Harry Belafonte

Aside from his musical talents, Belafonte is also a humanitarian. Jeff Vespa/Getty Images

In the ’50s and ’60s, the actor and performer won an Emmy, two Grammys, and one Tony. he also received a non-competitive humanitarian award at the 2014 Oscars and a hall of fame award at the 2000 Grammy Awards.

John Legend

John Legend’s real name is John Roger Stephens. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

In addition to 10 Grammy awards, Legend received an Oscar for “Selma” track “Glory” with Common. Two years later, he took home a Tony as a co-producer of “Jitney,” which was recognised as the best revival of a play.

Legend reached full EGOT status after “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” won the award for outstanding variety special (live) at the 2018 Creative Arts Emmys.

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber won his first Tony in 1980. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Composer and songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber has been racking up awards since the 1980s. He received an Oscar in 1996 for “Evita” song “You Must Love Me,” a total of four Grammys, and seven Tonys. In 2018, he got his first Emmy with “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert’s” win for best live variety special.

Tim Rice

Tim Rice has composed and written music for Disney movies. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

In the ’90s, Rice won three Oscars for “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” and “Evita.” He has also been honoured with five Grammys and three Tonys.

He got an Emmy for his work on “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” with Legend and Webber in September 2018.