The theatre world is filled with tons of awards, more than are even known to the public — the Tony Awards, the Olivier Awards, Drama Desk Awards, Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards, Drama League Awards, Theatre World Awards… the list goes on. But the most-prestigious and least-often-gained award is not just one statue, but four. Less than twenty people are members of the EGOT club.
To become a member, you must win the four most important awards in the North American entertainment industry: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. In the last fifty-three years, only sixteen people have managed to do that (and four of them have honourary awards. Sorry, Babs.) The list, beginning with Richard Rodgers in 1962, has names on it like Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, Liza Minnelli, and James Earl Jones. The most recent additions to the list were both in 2014: Harry Belafonte with an honourary humanitarian Oscar, and Robert Lopez, co-composer of The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, and Frozen, who won his Oscar with his wife for the princess tale.
Some artists are close to becoming part of the club. Lin-Manuel Miranda is only an Oscar away (he mentioned it in his BET freestyle) and he’s composing the score for Disney’s latest princess story Moana.
One surprise? Julie Andrews isn’t part of the club yet. She famously turned down her Tony nomination for Victor/Victoria when the rest of the show wasn’t nominated, and since then, she’s only earned the EGO, no T. One can assume she’ll earn an honourary Tony soon, but Playbill thinks she’d be great in a play. Same, Playbill. Same.
Some other people that are close include Cher (yet to earn a Tony), Elton John (no Emmy), Stephen Sondheim (!!!!!!!) (also no Emmy), Dick Van Dyke (no Oscar), and Jeremy Irons (no Grammy). Neil Patrick Harris is two away (no Oscar and no Grammy) and so is Patti Lupone (no Emmy, though she has been nominated, and no Oscar). Jennifer Hudson has an Oscar and a Grammy — but she could add a T to her collection as she gears up to star in The Colour Purple on Broadway next month.
What does the EGOT club actually get you? Bragging rights only. There’s no special trophy or ceremony, but you get the satisfaction knowing that you’re a quadruple threat.