For some reason I have a really clear memory of the fact that it Philip Michael Thomas of Miami Vice who coined the term “EGOT” – meaning the act of winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. Wikipedia even confirms that he was the person who came up with the term, though it doesn’t link to the article that I read. My best guess would be an interview in Time, because we subscribed to that when I was fifteen and Miami Vice was first on the air (I never watched even a single episode – still haven’t). I’m not sure why I would have read an interview with him, but apparently I did. I mean, I have a bizarre, crystal-clear memory of the idea of EGOT from when I was fifteen years old. I’ve been somewhat fascinated by the accomplishment ever since.
Wikipedia has an entry (of course) on those who have accomplished it. There are twelve in total, with composer Robert Lopez being the most recent to complete it (winning an Oscar for Frozen this year). There is controversy about people whose Emmy is a daytime Emmy (Lopez, who has two daytime Emmys for Wonderpets is in this category, as is Whoopi Goldberg), but those obviously count. Duh. Non-competitive awards also clearly do not (Lifetime Achievement and so on), so Barbra Streisand, Liza Minelli, and Harry Belafonte all have work to do. I feel like James Earl Jones could still make it.
Philip Michael Thomas, of course, is still working on it. In fact, he hasn’t even been nominated for any of these awards as yet, but I’m sure he’s still out there, grinding. It’s a tough club. Twelve people. Songwriting is a good way to go (Richard Rodgers, Marvin Hamlisch, Jonathan Tunick) although you don’t really have to be a singer (though with the Grammy it likely helps). Whoopi’s Grammy is for a comedy album, for example, as was that of Mike Nichols, while Mel Brooks won Grammys for comedy albums and for songwriting on The Producers. Only four people who are known primarily as performers have won the EGOT: Goldberg, Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, and John Gielgud (his Grammy was for a recorded version of a play). Mike Nichols is the biggest winner of the group, with fifteen total awards (including nine Tonys).
Dylan already had several Grammys, including three for the album Time Out of Mind. In 2001 he added the Oscar to get him halfway there. “Things Have Changed” won the Oscar for Best Original Song, having been written for Wonderboys. Dylan appeared on the Oscar broadcast by remote from his tour in Sydney, Australia – live from a television studio (it would have been sometime in the morning his time). It’s a good version:
Immediately following that, Dylan picked up the prize, and gave a really comprehensible speech, which was close to a first for him. He seems to have liked getting this award (as opposed to the Polar Prize) since he toured with it for a while, placing it on a speaker onstage.
Dylan also won a Golden Globe for the song in January, 2001, but that’s not worth mentioning because, well, Golden Globe. Even Philip Michael Thomas was nominated for a Golden Globe, and you’ll notice he didn’t include that on his bucket list. Dylan’s speech to the foreign press was considerably less heartfelt:
It seems increasingly unlikely that Dylan will pick up the Emmy (Dharma and Greg probably didn’t do much to help him) and seems even less likely that he’ll get the Tony. Not impossible, but not likely.
If you’re handicapping at home: Likely to complete the EGOT are Kate Winslett (needs a Tony, could probably get one if she does any major star turn on Broadway) and Al Pacino (needs a Grammy, should read an audiobook). Cyndi Lauper needs an Oscar and should start cranking out songs for Disney musicals. Cynthia Nixon is a pretty good bet to eventually get a showy supporting role and pick up her missing Oscar. I also have to figure that Trey Parker and Matt Stone will eventually pick up the Oscar they so desperately want.