What Is an EGOT? A Breakdown of the Prestigious Award Show Honor

An EGOT is the most coveted honor in all of Hollywood representing the top awards in TV, music, film, and theater

Jennifer Hudson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Lady Gaga
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It's the most coveted honor in all of Hollywood: the EGOT.

Representing the top awards in television (Emmy), music (Grammy), film (Oscar), and theater (Tony), it's considered the grand slam of show business — a four-of-a-kind sweep that only the rarest of stars have been able to achieve.

The term was coined by Miami Vice actor Philip Michael Thomas, who first told it to the Associated Press in 1984 at the height of the NBC action show's success. "That stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony," he said. "Hopefully in the next five years I will win all those awards."

(Thomas has yet to be nominated for any of those awards. But he did have the letters engraved in a gold pendant he wore around his neck — a choice parodied in an episode of 30 Rock)

To date, 17 people have picked up the honor: Richard Rodgers (1962), Helen Hayes (1977), Rita Moreno (1977), John Gielgud (1991), Audrey Hepburn (1994), Marvin Hamlisch (1995), Jonathan Tunick (1997), Mel Brooks (2001), Mike Nichols (2001), Whoopi Goldberg (2002), Scott Rudin (2012), Robert Lopez (2014), Andrew Lloyd Webber (2018), Tim Rice (2018), John Legend (2018), Alan Menken (2020), and Jennifer Hudson (2022).

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The first-ever EGOT was composer Rodgers. He received his initial award in 1945 — an Oscar for his Best Original Song from State Fair, "It Might as Well Be Spring." It would take Rodgers 17 years to finally receive his fourth distinct award and EGOT status — an Emmy in 1962 for Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years' original music.

Lopez holds the record for earning the title in the shortest amount of time, with just 10 years between his first award (a Tony for 2004's Avenue Q score) and his last award (an Oscar for 2014's Best Original Song from Frozen, the ubiquitous "Let It Go"). Lopez is also the youngest person to achieve this feat, having done so at just 39.

Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, James Earl Jones, Harry Belafonte, and Quincy Jones also have EGOTs — though they received one of their awards non-competitively. Streisand received a "Star of the Decade" Tony Award in 1970, for example. Jones was given an honorary Oscar in 2011, as was Belafonte in 2014 (specifically, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award).

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Numerous stars are one award away from winning the EGOT — including Hamilton scribe Lin-Manuel Miranda, who needs an Oscar; Jessica Lange, who needs a Grammy; Julie Andrews, who needs a Tony; and Elton John, who needs an Emmy.

Franchises can also receive EGOT glory — that is, titles that have won top awards over their various adaptations. There have been eight franchises to get this honor: Porgy and Bess, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Legend of King Arthur, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Wizard of Oz, Aladdin, and The Sound of Music.

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