In the American entertainment industry’s wide community of award-giving bodies, four honors are regarded with great reverence in the same way that the Grand Slam tournaments are for world tennis. They are the Emmy Awards for TV, Grammy Awards for music, Academy or “Oscar” Awards for movies and finally the Tony Awards for theatre. Only an absolute all-around entertainer could be considered good enough to win at least one award in each during his career, and be “inducted” into the “EGOT club” of celebrity legends. This week, their just one dozen “members” increased with the inclusion of additions like John Legend.
Entertainment Tonight tells us that just this Sunday, September 9 in Los Angeles, R&B singer John Legend won a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special (Live). This was for his work as producer of a “Live in Concert” NBC TV adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s famous rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Thus did Legend, Weber and Rice all receive Emmys that enabled all three to complete the EGOT achievement alongside their previous awards with the Grammys, Oscars and Tonys. At a single stroke, the 12 names that are listed with the EGOT club became 15.
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Before tonight, only 12 people had won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony in competitive categories. Sirs Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and I joined that group when we won an Emmy for our production of their legendary show Jesus Christ Superstar. So happy to be part of this team. So honored they trusted me to play Jesus Christ. So amazed to be in such rarefied air. #EGOT
But Legend’s EGOT milestone is highly notable, in that he is the second youngest entertainer to do so (relative to the receipt of the last award to complete all four) as well as the first African-American. Even he is not quite sure how to feel about making history. “It’s kind of surreal,” he said. “It’s something I never even thought about when I started my career. I probably wanted to win some GRAMMYs and sell a lot of records, and all that started happening pretty quickly, but I never dreamed that I would be here, winning an Emmy, and being in that rare group of people that have won all four of these major [awards].”
As a recording artist foremost, John Legend has been winning Grammys – 10 in all – since 2006. But in the last four years the EGOT achievement suddenly became a reality. 2015 saw him win a Best Original Song Oscar for “Glory”, featured in the 2014 historical drama “Selma”. Then in 2017, as co-producer of the play “Jitney”, he won a Tony for Best Revival of a Play. Now, the circle is complete with Legend’s Emmy, and his name joins the ranks of all-around entertainers in EGOT.
Other notable entertainment personalities who achieved the four awards include legendary actress Audrey Hepburn, comedy filmmaker Mel Brooks, comedienne Whoopi Goldberg, and more recently Robert Lopez, composer of Disney films such as “Frozen” and “Coco”
Image courtesy of Fox News