EGOT’s, REGOT’s, and Those Who Are On Their Way

With this year’s Academy Awards on March 2, 2014, Robert “Bobby” Lopez became the youngest person ever to be designated an EGOT.  An acronym made up of “Emmy,” “Grammy,” “Oscar,” and “Tony,” this title refers to those extraordinary artists who have earned all four awards over the course of their career.  Upon winning the Oscar for Best Original Song for having written “Let It Go” from the Disney film Frozen, Bobby Lopez entered the prestigious circle of EGOTs, accomplishing it in the shortest amount of time in history: only 10 years.  Lopez’s first EGOT award was 2004 the Tony Award for Best Score, for the raunchy puppet musical Avenue Q.  He also received two Tony Awards in 2011 for The Book of Mormon, for Best Book of a Musical as well as Best Score.  The Book of Mormon also earned him a Grammy in 2012 for Best Musical Theatre Album, and he also earned two Daytime Emmys in 2008 and 2010, both for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for Nick Jr.’s Wonderpets.

EGOT Necklace on SilhouetteIn addition to Lopez, only eleven individuals have ever earned all four awards.  The first was Richard Rodgers (1902 – 1979), who earned one Academy Award, one Emmy Award, two Grammy Awards, and six Tony Awards, as well as three Special (non-competitive) Tony Awards between 1945 and 1979.  The second was Helen Hayes, who accomplished the mission between 1932, with her Best Actress Oscar win for The Sin of Madelon Claudet, and 1980, with her Special Tony Award for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in the American Theatre.  Interestingly, both Rodgers and Hayes have Broadway theatres named in their honor.  John Gielgud, who has a West End theatre named after him in London, also won all four awards between 1961 and 1991.

Other winners of all four honors include the actors Audrey Hepburn, Rita Moreno, and Whoopi Goldberg, the composers Marvin Hamlisch and Jonathan Tunick, director/screenwriter Mel Brooks, director Mike Nichols, and producer Scott Rudin.  If one takes into account non-competitive awards to determine EGOTs, then three more individuals are added to the list: Barbra Streisand, who only earned a Special Tony Award, Liza Minnelli, who only earned a Special Grammy Award, and James Earl Jones, who only earned a Special Academy Award.  Numerous individuals have also earned the “Triple Crown of Acting,” which refers to earning a Tony, an Emmy, and an Oscar, all in Acting categories.  These include Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, Jack Albertson, Anne Bancroft, Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Booth, Ellen Burstyn, Melvyn Douglas, Jeremy Irons, Thomas Mitchell, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, Geoffrey Rush, Paul Scofield, Maggie Smith, Maureen Stapleton, and Jessica Tandy.

In 1981, an anti-award ceremony was established: the Golden Raspberry Awards, or Razzies for short, which recognize Razzie Award, Raspberrythe worst in film.  In jest, certain people have begun referring to REGOTs, for those who have earned all five awards.  Of course, the R implies a negative achievement, but with the other four positive awards, this five-award recognition is more for fun than to cause shame.  The only person to have earned all five awards is Liza Minnelli, who won a Razzie in 1988 for two movies: Arthur 2: On the Rocks and Rent-a-cop – that is, if you include her Special Grammy Award.  Whoopi Goldberg came close to being a REGOT, as she has been nominated for two Razzies, The Telephone in 1988 and Eddie in 1996.

Different individuals reach this level of achievement for different reasons.  It helps if the artist has a musical bent, as this may allow them to earn a Grammy as well as a music-related Academy Award.  It certainly helps if they are geniuses, and perhaps arrogance and overzealous confidence can also push them along toward this distinction.  In any case, an EGOT is nothing to scoff at, for it represents true appreciation across multiple platforms of success.

The Triple Crown At The TONY Awards®

The term “Triple Crown” is often used to describe the winning of three significant top honors in a given competition – for example, horse racing, motor racing, wrestling, and many other sports use this term to denote a particular string of accomplishments.  In the world of entertainment, this term is most commonly employed when referring to the “Triple Crown of Acting.”  This is a variant of the EGOT (one who has earned at least one each of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards), ascribed to those individuals who have won a singular (non-group/ensemble) Acting award in each of the Emmy, Oscar, and Tony Awards.

Over the course of history, only sevetriple crownnteen individuals have earned this prestigious title.  Those are: Jack Albertson, Anne Bancroft, Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Booth, Ellen Burstyn, Melvyn Douglas, Jeremy Irons, Thomas Mitchell, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, Geoffrey Rush, Paul Scofield, Maggie Smith, Maureen Stapleton, and Jessica Tandy.  In 1953, Thomas Mitchell became the first of these honorees, and in 2012, Christopher Plummer became the most recent to join their ranks.  Plummer also has the honor of being the oldest to do so, at age 82 with his Oscar win for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Beginners.

A theatre-specific, and also quite timely, version of the term “Triple Crown” is also sometimes utilized: that is, the “Tony Triple Crown.”  Referring to those musicals that win the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book, this Triple Crown truly shows far and wide appreciation from the Tony voters.  The most recent musical to earn this honor was, surprise surprise, The Book of Mormon, which earned all three honors in 2011.  Other titles to achieve this include Memphis (2010), Spring Awakening (2007), Avenue Q (2004), Hairspray (2003),and The Producers (2001).

Many musicals come close but not all the way.  In 2012, Once won the Award for Best Musical and Best Book, but not Best Score.  The same happened with Billy Elliot in 2009.  Last year, in 2013, Kinky Boots won for Best Musical and Best Score (with Cyndi Lauper becoming the first woman ever to win this award), but it did not win for Best Book.  The same occurred with In the Heights in 2008.  In 2002, Thoroughly Modern Millie won for Best Musical, but it earned neither award for Score or Book, though it did win for Best Actress for Sutton Foster, as well as Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.

This year, the four nominees for Best Musical are After Midnight, Aladdin, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and A Gentleman’s Guide a gentleman's guide to love and murder a new musical comedyto Love and Murder.  Of these, only A Gentleman’s Guide and Aladdin have the potential to earn the title of Triple Crown.  After Midnight was not nominated for Best Score or Best Book, which makes one wonder what the Tony committee was thinking in nominating it for Best Musical.  Beautiful was nominated for Best Musical and Best Book, but not Best Score, but it was not eligible as the score was created prior to the conception of the show.  As A Gentleman’s Guide is leading the pack with ten nominations overall, it appears to be the best contender, if any, for this prestigious honor in 2014.