The most coveted award in Hollywood is one you’ve probably never heard of

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Audrey Hepburn became the fifth person to achieve EGOT status, and the first to complete it posthumously.
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Paramount Pictures

The biggest honor in entertainment isn’t TV’s Emmy, or Broadway’s Tony, music’s Grammy, or even film’s Oscar. It’s all four together: the EGOT.

That grand combination of Hollywood’s greatest performance prizes is called the EGOT as an acronym representing all four of the above awards. It’s a rare and amazing feat. Arguably, it’s the only actual measurement of an all-around performer. It’s also referred to as “the Grand Slam” of American entertainment.

The feat is so difficult to achieve that only 12 people are on the list of EGOT winners, including Whoopi Goldberg, Mel Brooks, Audrey Hepburn, Mike Nichols, and Rita Moreno.

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Whoopi Goldberg became the 10th person to reach EGOT status, the first winner to win two of their awards in the same year, and the first black winner, in 2002.
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JP Yim/Getty Images

About five others may also claim to be unofficial EGOT winners, because one or more of their wins were honorary awards rather than given in a competition against others. Those five are Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, James Earl Jones, Alan Menken, and Harry Belafonte.

According to Vanity Fair, “Miami Vice” actor Philip Michael Thomas coined “EGOT” and popularized it by wearing a gold medallion around his neck with the acronym emblazoned onto the medallion in the mid-’80s.

“Hopefully in the next five years, I will win all of those awards,” an overconfident Thomas reportedly told an interviewer in 1984.

That’s as close as Thomas would ever get to the phrase, as he hasn’t won even one of the awards represented on his medallion. But thanks for naming the achievement, Philip!

He isn’t alone is having EGOT ambition, of course. Currently, there are about 70 performers who are or had been (in the case of the deceased) one award away from achieving EGOT status, including Julie Andrews, Cher, Kate Winslet, Al Pacino, Elton John, Cyndi Lauper, and Lily Tomlin.

Here’s a list of current EGOT winners from Wikipedia:

    Richard RodgersHelen HayesRita MorenoJohn GielgudAudrey HepburnMarvin HamlischJonathan TunickMel BrooksMike NicholsWhoopi GoldbergScott RudinRobert Lopez

And EGOT winners including non-competitive or special awards:

    Barbra StreisandLiza MinnelliJames Earl JonesAlan MenkenHarry Belafonte