Every obituary for composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died yesterday at age 68, mentioned that he won all four of the major entertainment awards—the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Just 11 people have won all four of these awards in regular competition. And only 10 lived to see this remarkable achievement. (Audrey Hepburn completed the sweep only after her death.)
Hamlisch was just 51 in 1995 when he completed his sweep of the "EGOT," as it has been dubbed. Two actresses were even younger when they achieved the feat. Rita Moreno was 45. Whoopi Goldberg was 46.
Actor John Gielgud was the oldest artist to sweep all four awards. He was 87 in September 1991 when he completed his sweep.
Six of these 11 artists were born in New York City, which is an extraordinarily high number. (Take a bow, New Yorkers.) The native New Yorkers to achieve this feat are Hamlisch, Goldberg, composer Richard Rodgers, producer Scott Rudin and "hyphenates" Jonathan Tunick and Mel Brooks.
Two others were born elsewhere in the U.S. Actress Helen Hayes was born in Washington D.C. Moreno was born in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.
Three were born outside the U.S. Gielgud was born in London. Actress Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium. Director Mike Nichols was born in Berlin.
Here are the 11 artists who have won the EGOT. They're listed in the order in which they completed the awards sweep.
Richard Rodgers. The composer completed the sweep in May 1962 by winning an Emmy for Winston Churchill—The Valiant Years. He was 59. With his long-time collaborator Oscar Hammerstein II, Rodgers won an Oscar in March 1946 for the song "It Might As Well Be Spring" (from State Fair), his first three Tonys in June 1950 for South Pacific and his first Grammy in April 1961 for The Sound Of Music. Rodgers died in December 1979.
Helen Hayes. The actress completed the sweep in February 1977 by winning a Grammy for Great American Documents (a spoken word album with Henry Fonda, James Earl Jones and Orson Welles). This made her the first woman to win all four awards. She was 76. Hayes won her first Oscar in November 1932 for The Sin Of Madelon Claudet, her first Tony in June 1947 for Happy Birthday and an Emmy in February 1953 for an episode of Schlitz Playhouse Of Stars. Hayes died in March 1993.
Rita Moreno. The actress completed the sweep in September 1977 by winning her first Emmy for The Muppet Show. She was 45. She remains the youngest person to sweep all four awards and the only Hispanic performer to do so. She won an Oscar in April 1962 for West Side Story, a Grammy in March 1973 for The Electric Company (a children's album with Bill Cosby) and a Tony in June 1975 for The Ritz.
John Gielgud. The actor completed the sweep in August 1991 by winning an Emmy for Summer's Lease, an episode of PBS' Masterpiece Theatre. He was 87. He remains the oldest person to sweep all four awards. He won his first Tony in June 1948 for The Importance Of Being Earnest, a Grammy in February 1980 for Ages Of Man—Readings From Shakespeare, and an Oscar in March 1982 for Arthur. Gielgud died in May 2000.
Audrey Hepburn. The actress completed the sweep in March 1994 by winning a Grammy for Audrey Hepburn's Enchanted Tales. She had died 13 months previously. Hepburn is the only artist to achieve the feat posthumously. She had won an Oscar in March 1954 for Roman Holiday, a Tony in June 1954 for Ondine and an Emmy (also posthumous) in September 1993 for Gardens Of The World With Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn died in January 1993.
Marvin Hamlisch. The composer completed the sweep in September 1995 by winning his first two Emmys for Barbra Streisand: The Concert. He was 51. He remains the youngest male performer to win all four awards. He had won three Oscars in April 1974 for The Way We Were and The Sting, four Grammys in March 1975 for those same works (and also Best New Artist) and a Tony in June 1976 for A Chorus Line. Hamlisch died yesterday.
Jonathan Tunick. The composer, conductor and arranger completed the sweep in June 1997 by winning a Tony for Titanic. He was 59. Tunick won an Oscar in March 1978 for the movie version of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, an Emmy in September 1982 for Night Of 100 Stars and a Grammy in February 1989 for arranging a track on a Cleo Laine album, Cleo Sings Sondheim. Tunick is the only person to have won one, and only one, of each of these awards. I guess he figures, "Why overdo it?"
Mel Brooks. The director, writer and actor completed the sweep in June 2001 by winning three Tonys for the smash hit The Producers. He was 74. Brooks won his first Emmy in June 1967 for co-writing The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special, an Oscar in April 1969 for The Producers and his first Grammy in February 1999 for The 2000 Year Old Man In The Year 2000, an update on a classic comedy routine with Carl Reiner.
Mike Nichols. The director completed the sweep in September 2001 by winning his first two Emmys for The Wit. He was 69. He won a Grammy in May 1962 for An Evening With Mike Nichols And Elaine May, the first of three comedy albums with his former partner Elaine May; his first Tony in June 1964 for Barefoot In The Park and an Oscar in April 1968 for The Graduate.
Whoopi Goldberg. The actress completed her sweep in June 2002 by winning a Tony as a co-producer of Thoroughly Modern Millie. She was 46. Goldberg is the only African American artist to have won all four awards. She won a Grammy in February 1986 for Whoopi Goldberg—Original Broadway Show Recording, an Oscar in March 1991 for Ghost and her first Emmy in May 2002 for Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life Of Hattie McDaniel. (Note: Both of Goldberg's Emmys are Daytime Emmys rather than Prime-Time Emmys. Close enough.)
Scott Rudin. The producer completed his sweep in February when he won a Grammy for co-producing the Broadway cast album of The Book Of Mormon. He was 53. Rudin is the only person who is primarily a producer to win all four awards. Rudin won an Emmy in September 1984 for He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin', his first Tony in June 1994 for Passion and an Oscar in February 2008 for No Country For Old Men.
In addition, three more artists qualify if you count special or honorary awards. These are Barbra Streisand, who has yet to win a Tony in regular competition; Liza Minnelli, who has yet to win a Grammy in regular competition; and James Earl Jones, who has yet to win an Oscar in regular competition.
All three are tremendous artists who deserve to join the EGOT club, but I don't think honorary awards should count. They'll just have to earn it the old-fashioned way: By going out and being brilliant. (This should be easy for them.)
In case you're wondering, Jones has earned one Oscar nomination (for The Great White Hope). Minnelli has earned two Grammy nominations (for Gently and Liza's At The Palace). Streisand has earned two Tony nominations (one for each of her two Broadway shows, I Can Get It For You Wholesale and Funny Girl).