Composer Robert Lopez in 2014 became only the 12th person to win at least one Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award, the grand slam of the U.S. entertainment industry .
Those who have won an EGOT, or GATE if “Academy Award” is substituted for Oscar, are an eclectic mix of movie stars, stage performers, composers, directors, producers and TV personalities.
Richard the First. Music legend Richard Rodgers was the first to complete the grand slam in 1962.
Barrier breakers. Helen Hayes became the first female to complete the EGOT. Rita Moreno was the first Hispanic to accomplish the feat, and Whoopi Goldberg was the first African-American. Lopez is the first of Filipino or Asian heritage.
Posthumous honor. Audrey Hepburn completed her EGOT posthumously in 1994, when she won a Grammy the year after she had passed away.
Oh, very young. At 39, Lopez is the youngest person to achieve the EGOT feat. He also did it in the shortest span, taking just a decade from his first award to the completion of the slam.
Rounding out the field . Sir John Gielgud, Marvin Hamlisch, Mel Brooks, Jonathan Tunick, Mike Nichols, and Scott Rudin have also completed the rare EGOT. Gielgud was 87 when he finished his slam.
Do musicians have an advantage? Composers would seemingly have the best opportunity to complete an EGOT because music is a natural part of all four awards. Actors and actresses often can win a Grammy only in the Spoken Word category. Yet up till now six actors/actresses, four composers/musicians, one director and one producer have earned the EGOT. Brooks might be considered an actor, director and producer.
Near misses. Barbra Streisand, James Earl Jones and Liza Minnelli have also won all four awards. However, in each case one of their awards was a special or honorary award. Because these artists won a leg of their slams in a non-competitive category, they are usually not counted as having completed the slam. Missing from Streisand’s honors is a competitive Tony. Minnelli lacks a competitive Grammy and Jones has not won a competitive Oscar.
How easy is EGOT compared to golf and tennis grand slams? A tennis grand slam consists of winning the Australian, French and U.S. Opens, along with Wimbledon. A career grand slam in tennis is not all that unusual. According to ESPN, seven men have won the career grand slam. One of them, Rod Laver, twice had a grand slam within a calendar year. Ten women have won career grand slams. Two of the men and five of the ladies have won each of the majors at least twice, or a double-career grand slam. Steffi Graf has won each of the four majors at least four times, for a quadruple grand slam. While grand slams are more abundant in tennis, the window of opportunity is much smaller. All of the men and women who achieved a tennis grand slam accomplished the feat before reaching age 30. Golf is another story. No male golfer has won a modern grand slam (the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and U.S. PGA Championship) in a single calendar year, and only five have won a career grand slam. And women golfers have not consistently had the same four tournaments as majors, and they presently have five major tournaments.
Future of EGOT. Winning the show biz grand slam in the future is likely to get much easier. There are sometimes over 100 Grammy awards given out, so there is plenty of hardware to go around. The Emmys also seemingly have as many categories as there are people in the room to witness the awards. Additionally, the Daytime Emmys count in the EGOT totals. Both Lopez and Goldberg have Daytime Emmys to meet the Emmy requirement of the slam. If it gets too easy to win all four, the EGOT may become devalued. As it is, the 12 unique talents who have garnered the EGOT are in a very exclusive club.