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In Honor of Viola Davis’s Grammy Win, Let’s Look Back at the Talented Women Who’ve Earned EGOT Status

by Zoë Lourey-Christianson

The 2023 Grammy Awards hosted several history-making moments. 

Beyoncé broke the record for most Grammys ever after taking home four more awards to add to the twenty-eight she came with and Lizzo scored the award for record of the year along with our hearts, per usual. One of the most notable moments of the night, though, was when living legend and acting goddess Viola Davis became the eighteenth person in history to earn EGOT status. In honor of her incredibly well-deserved win, we put together a list of all the women who have earned at least one Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony throughout their careers. 

Helen Hayes 

Actual theater royalty, Helen Hayes, earned her first Oscar for best actress in a leading role in The Sin of Madelon Claudet in 1932. It wouldn’t be until forty-five years later that the fondly lauded “First Lady of American Theater” would solidify her spot in the EGOT club with a Grammy win for best spoken word recording in 1977. She was the first woman to ever claim the coveted quadfecta of awards and also has two separate stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

Helen Hayes in Ann Arbor cropped 8c608Helen Hayes from Wikimedia Commons

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno became the second woman to achieve an EGOT just months after Hayes’s historic win. Moreno sealed the deal with her Emmy for outstanding performance by a supporting actress in a variety or music series for The Muppet Show in 1977. Perhaps most well-known for her portrayal of Anita in the film West Side Story, Rita snagged her first Oscar–and the first Oscar ever won by a Latina–for the iconic role. 

Audrey Hepburn

The only actress on this list to receive her EGOT posthumously, Audrey Hepburn left behind a legacy of outstanding acting and philanthropy that will continue on for years to come. The beloved actress passed away in 1993, and received the Grammy award that would round out her EGOT the following year in 1994 for the best spoken word recording for children with Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales.

Audrey Hepburn David di Donatello 7a8d5Audrey Hepburn from Wikimedia Commons

Whoopi Goldberg 

The term “EGOT” had a resurgence in popularity following a multi-episode storyline on 30 Rock in which Tracy Jordan (played by Tracy Morgan) sets out to achieve EGOT status and ends up crossing paths with Whoopi Goldberg. Goldberg completed the coveted entertainment quadrivium in 2002 when she took home both a Tony for best musical for Thoroughly Modern Millie and an Emmy for outstanding special class special for Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel that same year. 

Jennifer Hudson

Multi-talented star, Jennifer Hudson, won the final award needed for her EGOT in 2022 when she took home a Tony for best musical for A Strange Loop. She had previously scored an Oscar for her role in Dreamgirls, an Emmy for the daytime program Baba Yaga, and two Grammys, one of which was for best r&b album in 2009. Hudson has since gone on to host her own talk show, The Jennifer Hudson Show, for which you can check air times here

Viola Davis 

And that brings us to the most recent icon to achieve an EGOT, Viola Davis, who was honored with a Grammy for the best audiobook, narration, and storytelling recording for her memoir, Finding Me. In her acceptance speech, Davis said she wrote the book for her younger self and “her life, her joy, her trauma, her everything.” The Grammy award was in good company, as Davis boasts an impressive set of accolades. She’s previously won the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her portrayal of the sharp lawyer, Annalise Keating, in How to Get Away with Murder, as well as two Tonys and an Oscar. 

Viola Davis’s historic milestone was just one of the moments that made this year’s Grammy Awards so memorable. The ceremony allowed us to bear witness to some truly amazing women breaking records, earning achievements, and leaving a path for women after them to walk more easily into the success and recognition they deserve. Cheers to all of the incredible women who took home awards this year, and the many more to come.

Top photo of Viola Davis is screengrab from Grammy acceptance speech on YouTube

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