Cory Michael Smith in Olive Kitteridge. Photo courtesy of Jojo Whilden/HBO.
Cory Michael Smith in Olive Kitteridge. Photo courtesy of Jojo Whilden/HBO.

13 Questions for Cory Michael Smith, Star of Gotham

Cory Michael Smith in Olive Kitteridge. Photo courtesy of Jojo Whilden/HBO.
Cory Michael Smith in Olive Kitteridge. Photo courtesy of Jojo Whilden/HBO.

These days, Cory Michael Smith spends most of his time playing Edward Nygma, future Riddler on Fox's Batman prequel, Gotham. But on Sunday, he takes on a much different role: In the second part of HBO's four-part miniseries Olive Kitteridge, which spans a quarter-century in a Maine community, Smith plays the grown up version of Kevin Coulson—and, like his costar John Gallagher, Jr., he didn’t have any scenes with Bill Murray. In fact, Smith didn't even get to meet Murray—which was particularly sad for the actor, who counts What About Bob? as one of his favorite movies ever. "The end is so weird! It’s so odd, but fantastic," Smith says. "I hope I get to meet him—I need to talk to Bill Murray about What About Bob's impact on my life.” We sat down with the actor a few days before Halloween to chat about acting with Frances McDormand, playing the future Riddler, and horrible Halloween costumes.

How did your role in Olive Kitteridge come about?

I found out about it in June 2013. They were casting here in New York, and I was initially sent sides for [another character], but my managers wanted me to be seen for Kevin. At that point, the only film thing I’d done was [the horror short] Dog Food, and that wasn’t out. I had nothing to show of me on camera. I read both of the sides, and I was like ‘I only want to go in for Kevin.’ I really fell in love with that role because he’s so tormented—he spent his whole childhood taking care of his [mentally ill] mother and then becomes her. There’s not a lot of light in his life, but he’s not violent to other people. I was just interested in someone who’s that much of a pacifist and has had that much damage to him, because people can respond to that stuff in different ways, and to not be abusive was interesting.

Did you read the book the miniseries is based on before you auditioned?
Not before I auditioned, but afterward, I read the whole thing. Kevin is the second chapter, and it’s only up to the point where he jumps into the water, so everything after that was created by Jane Anderson, who adapted it [for TV]. But reading it was actually very helpful, emotionally, because there’s a lot in the book that’s not voiced—how he drove overnight from New York, and just the idea that he hasn’t slept at all. I was like, ‘Please make me look sweaty and exhausted.’ I wanted to play him absolutely exhausted. So that information is always helpful, and that wasn’t really talked about [in the script]. If you have the time to read it, it’s really stunning.

Your character has mental health issues. Did you do any research into that?

Jojo Whilden/HBO

I did, a lot—into the differentiation between hallucinations and schizophrenia, depression versus bipolarity, and trying to find the line of him not having control over himself, but having him not be dangerous for someone to be around. So understanding mental health to such a degree, and navigating his behavior to a certain degree, that that behavior made sense, which I thought was very delicate. I didn’t talk to any actual psychiatrists, but I looked at things online. And I have people in my life who are bipolar, and they’re at varying degrees. I wanted to stay in the depression and not really touch the bipolar thing because I didn’t want him to be aggressive to other people. So all the times that he starts to get agitated, I tried to tamp down and hold on to myself. There were two people in my life that I was paying attention to and trying to emulate in that performance—I find them to be slightly dangerous because they’re so quiet, and you can tell a lot is going on in their minds.

You appeared in Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Broadway, and I’m curious, what’s more intimidating: Working with incredible actors like Frances McDormand, or doing a show on Broadway?
The former. Yeah, I think so. Olive Kitteridge is the only thing that I’ve done on camera where we had a day of rehearsal before we shot, and I’m so glad that that happened, because I was so nervous. It felt like a dreamland because I was exactly where I dreamed of being, and I was trying to rehearse Kevin but I couldn’t because I couldn’t get out of having a Cory moment. Like, “This is real, this is happening. That’s Frances McDormand, and this is me, and we’re acting together!” I just couldn’t stop that, and so the first day of filming would have been super unproductive because I’m supposed to be incredibly depressed and I couldn’t stop smiling. And Frances is so incredible and naturally funny, and I kept laughing at stuff that she was doing. It was horrible! I was a totally unprofessional actor during that rehearsal. I just couldn’t contain myself and my excitement.

This is going to sound weird, but: I see you every day because our offices are near the Bryant Park subway, and Gotham posters are everywhere. Is it weird to see your face all over the place?

Michael Lavine/FOX/© 2014 Fox Broadcasting Co

When it was first happening, of course it was strange. I started to get paranoid. The first time I saw it, I was coming from my friend’s apartment on the Upper West Side and I went into the subway to go downtown. I turned the corner and it was right there. This chihuahua-like yelp came out of my mouth, and I kind of tripped over myself. I wanted to take a picture of it! But there were people on the platform, so I slyly took my phone out, but this guy kept looking at me! [Laughs] That same poster was the first poster of my face that I saw vandalized. It was just a silver pen right over my forehead. I had no idea what it said—I couldn’t tell. I was kind of looking forward to it—once they were up, I was like, I want to see the best defacement. Not that I should be encouraging that.

The cool thing now is that people who are traveling will send me pictures from other countries. My old roommate sent me a picture—she was like, “My dad sent this to me, he’s in London,” and it was my face in a Tube station. A friend sent one from Paris. What’s weird is they change the font in certain countries. There has to be research that goes into it. When it plays in the UK, the lettering is more bubbly. It’s not dissimilar from our cars—here they’re sleek and long and sexy, and you go over there and everything is bubbly and round and happy. All the cars are so rounded and soft. Their horns are these friendly honks, just like, “coming through!”

I read somewhere that your Mom loves Batman. Does that mean she’s rooting against you in Gotham?
Yes! She’s always rooting against me! [Laughs] No, both of my parents love the ‘60s series, but especially my mom. They were little kids then, and that was a real family show, Batman. For her, she’s enraptured by the idea of how universal and international this project is, so she got really excited [when I got the part].

Forensic science is one of my favorite things—I watch a lot of Investigation Discovery and Forensic Files—and in Gotham, Edward Nygma is a forensic scientist. Is there an advisor on set to help you with that stuff?
Forensic Files in amazing! I love it! There were marathons happening all the time in college. That show, because it’s always on at night, was always better than any scary movie I could put on, because it was real. That stuff really happened. And sometimes things would happen on a college campus, and I’d be in my dorm room watching it…

Our police science world on Gotham is such that—it’s not CSI. We’re not spending an entire episode focusing on this thing in the body; we don't have to know all of the medical stuff. When [the writers] create something, I don’t know what they use, but that’s all investigated. It’s basically, this is the information that’s necessary to understand what’s happening, and then moving on.

I do look at Wikipedia. And if there’s ever anything specific, like, moments where I’m testing out explosive stuff, it’s like, OK, would I wear gloves, will I be wearing an apron? He’s supposed to be brilliant, so we have to be careful about those moments. We have people who oversee that and write that into the script for me.

You’re playing someone who is eventually going to become a villain. Which raises the question: Which superhero would you be?
I’m gonna go with—just as a props to my man Jim Carrey—I’m gonna call Ace Ventura a superhero. A real-life superhero. Does that count?

I think so—his powers of deduction are uncanny! Obviously, Halloween is coming up, which leads to my next question: What, in your opinion, is the best candy?
Two things that I don’t necessarily indulge in: Candy and Halloween. I grew up in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, in the early ‘90s, and hospitals and doctor’s offices offered to x-ray candy. I was 7 or 8. The day after Halloween, my brother and I were sorting all of our candy, and my mom asked if she could have a piece of my gum. She put the gum in her mouth, bit down, and there was a shard of metal in it! And that was the end of Halloween for my brother and I. Our parents started bribing us to not go trick or treating. They said, "We’ll buy you candy, you tell us what you want." They bribed us with gifts if we would not go out and take candy from strangers. So I would dress up, but I would hand candy out.

I understand why people like Halloween, but what it is for other people is what I do on a daily basis. It’s like a worse version of high school theater, to me. So I’ve gone out on occasion, but I usually stay home.

Before that, did you have a Halloween costume you were very proud of?
I dressed up as Zorro, but no one knew I was Zorro. All these adults kept saying, “Are you Cary Grant?” I was so young and I had no idea who Cary Grant was! It must have been a horrible costume, because I don’t know that Cary Grant has ever looked like Zorro.

If you could switch places with one person for a day, who would it be?
There’s so many potentially fascinating people … I think I would be Bear Grylls. But not with my mentality or knowledge, with his. It’s not like I can just be in his body—I need to know all the things that he does. That would be amazing. Because when it comes to survival, I would die so quickly. I’d be such a goner—I grew up in the suburbs and now I live in New York City! You know what I mean?

Totally. I recently got a juicer, and I’m obsessed with it. What’s one thing you’re obsessed with right now?
Where I’m living right now, there’s a Steinway grand piano in my living room. I’m a pianist—I studied jazz piano in college. My great problem in New York is I haven’t had a good piano here. So now there’s a Steinway grand in my living room, and that’s my obsession right now. I have a baby grand at my parents' place in Ohio, but I’m not bringing it here until I have a permanent place.

I watched your horror short, Dog Food, which leads to my final question: Cats or dogs?

I have to say dogs, because every now and then I’ll have an allergic reaction to cats. I can’t find a pattern. When I was young, my cousin had Maine coon cats—which are like tiny lions—but those cats drove me and my brother insane. And then some dogs … it’s like copious amounts of hair or oils or whatever, I just can’t do it. Growing up, we had a bichon frise named Chip. And right now, I live with a cocker spaniel. He’s 12 years old, his name is Sammie, and actually, he’s contractually the Coppertone dog. So I live with a bigger star than myself! [Laughs] But personality-wise, I get along with cats more. I’m pretty independent. And in the winter, you don’t have to go outside to walk cats three or four times a day!

Olive Kitteridge airs Sunday, November 2 and Monday, November 3 on HBO.

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12 Surprising Facts About Robin Williams
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for PCA
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for PCA

Robin Williams had a larger-than-life personality. On screen and on stage, he embodied what he referred to as “hyper-comedy.” Offscreen, he was involved in humanitarian causes and raised three children—Zak, Zelda, and Cody. On July 16, HBO debuts the documentary Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, directed by Marina Zenovich. The film chronicles his rise on the L.A. and San Francisco stand-up comedy scenes during the 1970s, to his more dramatic roles in the 1980s and '90s in award-winning films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; Awakenings; The Fisher King; and Good Will Hunting. The film also focuses on August 11, 2014, the date of his untimely death. Here are 12 surprising facts about the beloved entertainer.

1. ROBIN WILLIAMS GOT HIS START AT A COMEDY WORKSHOP INSIDE A CHURCH.

A still from 'Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind' (2018)
HBO

After leaving Juilliard, Robin Williams found himself back in his hometown of San Francisco, but he couldn’t find work as an actor. Then he saw something for a comedy workshop in a church and decided to give it a shot. “So I went to this workshop in the basement of a Lutheran church, and it was stand-up comedy, so you don’t get to improvise with others, but I started off doing, ostensibly, it was just like improvising but solo," he told NPR. "And then I started to realize, ‘Oh.’ [I started] building an act from there."

2. HE FORMED A FRIENDSHIP WITH KOKO THE GORILLA.

In 2001, Williams visited Koko the gorilla, who passed away in June, at The Gorilla Foundation in Northern California. Her caregivers had shown her one of his movies, and she seemed to recognize him. Koko repeatedly signed for Williams to tickle her. “We shared something extraordinary: laughter,” Williams said of the encounter. On the day Williams died, The Foundation shared the news with Koko and reported that she fell into sadness.

3. FOR A TIME, HE WAS A MIME IN CENTRAL PARK.

In 1974, photographer Daniel Sorine captured photos of two mimes in New York's Central Park. As it turned out, one of the mimes was Williams, who was attending Juilliard at the time. “What attracted me to Robin Williams and his fellow mime, Todd Oppenheimer, was an unusual amount of intensity, personality, and physical fluidity,” Sorine said. In 1991, Williams revisited the craft by playing Mime Jerry in Bobcat Goldthwait’s film Shakes the Clown. In the movie, Williams hilariously leads a how-to class in mime.

4. HE TRIED TO GET LYDIA FROM MRS. DOUBTFIRE BACK IN SCHOOL.

As a teen, Lisa Jakub played Robin Williams’s daughter Lydia Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire. “When I was 14 years old, I went on location to film Mrs. Doubtfire for five months, and my high school was not happy,” Jakub wrote on her blog. “My job meant an increased workload for teachers, and they were not equipped to handle a ‘non-traditional’ student. So, during filming, they kicked me out.”

Sensing Jakub’s distress over the situation, Williams typed a letter and sent it to her school. “A student of her caliber and talent should be encouraged to go out in the world and learn through her work,” he wrote. “She should also be encouraged to return to the classroom when she’s done to share those experiences and motivate her classmates to soar to their own higher achievements … she is an asset to any classroom.”

Apparently, the school framed the letter but didn’t allow Jakub to return. “But here’s what matters from that story—Robin stood up for me,” Jakub wrote. “I was only 14, but I had already seen that I was in an industry that was full of back-stabbing. And it was entirely clear that Robin had my back.”

5. HE WASN’T PRODUCERS' FIRST CHOICE TO PLAY MORK ON MORK & MINDY.

Anson Williams, Marion Ross, and Don Most told The Hallmark Channel that a different actor was originally hired to play Mork for the February 1978 Happy Days episode “My Favorite Orkan,” which introduced the alien character to the world. “Mork & Mindy was like the worst script in the history of Happy Days. It was unreadable, it was so bad,” Anson Williams said. “So they hire some guy for Mork—bad actor, bad part.” The actor quit, and producer Garry Marshall came to the set and asked: “Does anyone know a funny Martian?” They hired Williams to play Mork, and from September 1978 to May 1982, Williams co-headlined the spinoff Mork & Mindy for four seasons.

6. HE “RISKED” A ROLE IN AN OFF-BROADWAY PLAY.

Actor Robin Williams poses for a portrait during the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California
Michael Caulfield, Getty Images for PCA

In 1988, Williams made his professional stage debut as Estragon in the Mike Nichols-directed Waiting for Godot, which also starred Steve Martin and F. Murray Abraham. The play was held off-Broadway at Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center. The New York Times asked Williams if he felt the show was a career risk, and he responded with: “Risk! Of never working on the stage again! Oh, no! You’re ruined! It’s like you're ruined socially in Tustin,” a town in Orange County, California. “If there’s risk, you can’t think about it,” he said, “or you’ll never be able to do the play.”

Williams had to restrain himself and not improvise during his performance. “You can do physical things,” he said, “but you don’t ad lib [Samuel] Beckett, just like you don’t riff Beethoven.” In 1996, Nichols and Williams once again worked together, this time in the movie The Birdcage.

7. HE USHERED IN THE ERA OF CELEBRITY VOICE ACTING.

The 1992 success of Aladdin, in which Williams voiced Genie, led to more celebrities voicing animated characters. According to a 2011 article in The Atlantic, “Less than 20 years ago, voice acting was almost exclusively the realm of voice actors—people specifically trained to provide voices for animated characters. As it turns out, the rise of the celebrity voice actor can be traced to a single film: Disney’s 1992 breakout animated hit Aladdin.” Since then, big names have attached themselves to animated films, from The Lion King to Toy Story to Shrek. Williams continued to do voice acting in animated films, including Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Happy Feet, and Happy Feet 2.

8. HE FORGOT TO THANK HIS MOTHER DURING HIS 1998 OSCAR SPEECH.

In March 1998, Williams won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting. In 2011, Williams appeared on The Graham Norton Show, and Norton asked him what it was like to win the award. “For a week it was like, ‘Hey congratulations! Good Will Hunting, way to go,'” Williams said. “Two weeks later: ‘Hey, Mork.’”

Then Williams mentioned how his speech accidentally left out one of the most important people in his life. “I forgot to thank my mother and she was in the audience,” he said. “Even the therapist went, ‘Get out!’ That was rough for the next few years. [Mom voice] ‘You came through here [points to his pants]! How’s the award?’”

9. HE COMFORTED STEVEN SPIELBERG DURING THE FILMING OF SCHINDLER’S LIST.

At this year’s 25th anniversary screening of Schindler’s List, held at the Tribeca Film Festival, director Steven Spielberg shared that Williams—who played Peter Pan in Spielberg’s Hook—would call him and make him laugh. “Robin knew what I was going through, and once a week, Robin would call me on schedule and he would do 15 minutes of stand-up on the phone,” Spielberg said. “I would laugh hysterically, because I had to release so much.”

10. HE HELPED ETHAN HAWKE GET HIS AGENT.

During a June 2018 appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Ethan Hawke recalled how, while working on Dead Poets Society, Williams was hard on him. “I really wanted to be a serious actor,” Hawke said. “I really wanted to be in character, and I really didn’t want to laugh. The more I didn’t laugh, the more insane [Williams] got. He would make fun of me. ‘Oh this one doesn't want to laugh.’ And the more smoke would come out of my ears. He didn’t understand I was trying to do a good job.” Hawke had assumed Williams hated him during filming.

After filming ended, Hawke went back to school, but he received a surprising phone call. It was from Williams’s agent, who—at Williams's suggestion—wanted to sign Hawke. Hawke said he still has the same agent today.

11. HE WAS ALMOST CAST IN MIDNIGHT RUN.

In February 1988, Williams told Rolling Stone how he sometimes still had to audition for roles. “I read for a movie with [Robert] De Niro, [Midnight Run], to be directed by Marty Brest,” Williams said. “I met with them three or four times, and it got real close, it was almost there, and then they went with somebody else. The character was supposed to be an accountant for the Mafia. Charles Grodin got the part. I was craving it. I thought, ‘I can be as funny,’ but they wanted someone obviously more in type. And in the end, he was better for it. But it was rough for me. I had to remind myself, ‘Okay, come on, you’ve got other things.’”

In July 1988, Universal released Midnight Run. Just two years later, Williams finally worked with De Niro, on Awakenings.

12. BILLY CRYSTAL AND WILLIAMS USED TO TALK ON THE PHONE FOR HOURS.

Actors Robin Williams (L) and Billy Crystal pose at the afterparty for the premiere of Columbia Picture's 'RV' on April 23, 2006 in Los Angeles, California
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Starting in 1986, Williams, Billy Crystal, and Whoopi Goldberg co-hosted HBO’s Comic Relief to raise money for the homeless. Soon after Williams’s death, Crystal went on The View and spoke with Goldberg about his friendship with Williams. “We were like two jazz musicians,” Crystal said. “Late at night I get these calls and we’d go for hours. And we never spoke as ourselves. When it was announced I was coming to Broadway, I had 50 phone messages, in one day, from somebody named Gary, who wanted to be my backstage dresser.”

“Gary” turned out to be Williams.

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind premieres on Monday, July 16 at 8 p.m. ET on HBO.

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12 EGOT Winners (and 25 Almost-EGOTS)
Archive Photos/Getty Images
Archive Photos/Getty Images

Life should have been good for Miami Vice’s Philip Michael Thomas in 1985. He was the star of one of television’s biggest hits, had released his first album as part of a multimillion dollar deal with Atlantic Records, and was making a name for himself in the fashion world (or at least trying to) with his very own women’s clothing line. But Thomas still had loftier goals, both in mind and on the gold medallion he was so fond of wearing. That dream was an EGOT.

Though Thomas swore that the engraved letters E, G, O, and T on his prized necklace stood for energy, growth, opportunity, and talent, those around the then-36-year-old actor unanimously gave a different translation: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony—the four awards Thomas had intended to win over the next few years. It’s now more than 30 years later and Thomas has yet to even be nominated for any one of those accolades.

While an EGOT may seem an unlikely reality for Thomas, it’s not an impossibility for all artists. If John Legend can beat out Benedict Cumberbatch to win this year's Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie for Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, he'll become the 13th member of the EGOT winners' circle—and one of its youngest. Here are the 12 current members, a couple of SHEGOTS, plus several artists who are just one award away.

1. RICHARD RODGERS

Richard Rodgers
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Before there was even a name for it, American composer Richard Rodgers became the first person to EGOT (yes, the acronym can also be used as a verb) when he won an Emmy for the television documentary Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years. His Oscar came in 1945, when his “It Might as Well Be Spring” from State Fair was named Best Song. He earned Grammys in both 1960 and 1962, for the original cast recordings of The Sound of Music and No Strings, respectively. Between 1950 and 1962, he won six Tony Awards, three of them in that first year for South Pacific. The same year, South Pacific also earned Rodgers a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which we guess makes him a PEGOT.

2. HELEN HAYES

Helen Hayes
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In 1977, 15 years after Rodgers inaugurated the honor, actress Helen Hayes joined him as the first female EGOT—an honor that took her 45 years to achieve, the longest of any of her EGOT peers. Her road began in 1932, when she won the Oscar for The Sin of Madelon Claudet (she won a second Oscar for 1970’s Airport). Her first Tony came in 1947, for Happy Birthday, followed by another in 1958 for Time Remembered. And she won a Best Actress Emmy in 1953 for an episode of Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. But it would take more than two decades for her to nab that elusive second letter, which she did for Best Spoken Word Recording for Great American Documents.

3. RITA MORENO

Rita Moreno
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Seven months after Hayes earned her EGOT, actress Rita Moreno did the same when she won her first of two consecutive Emmys for a guest spot on The Muppet Show in 1977 (the following year she won one for an appearance on The Rockford Files). But Moreno did it in about a third the time of Hayes, 16 years, which was an EGOT record until Lopez smashed it last night. Her Oscar came in 1961 as Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story, followed by a Best Recording for Children Grammy in 1972, for The Electric Company. In 1975, Moreno nabbed a Tony playing Googie Gomez in Terrence McNally’s The Ritz, a role she reprised in the 1976 big-screen version.

4. JOHN GIELGUD

John Gielgud
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Unlike his three predecessors, the Oscar wasn’t the first award John Gielgud won to earn his EGOT. Instead it was the Tony, which he first won in 1948 for The Importance of Being Earnest. He won a second Tony in 1961, as the director of Big Fish, Little Fish. Next came the Grammy, in 1979, for his dramatic recording of Ages of Man. In 1981, Gielgud took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his iconic role as Dudley Moore’s butler/sidekick in Arthur. And when he won the Emmy in 1991, for Outstanding Lead Actor in Summer’s Lease, he was 87 years old, making him the oldest EGOT-getter.

5. AUDREY HEPBURN

Audrey Hepburn
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Unfortunately, Audrey Hepburn didn’t live long enough to enjoy her EGOT. Two of her awards—her 1994 Grammy for the children’s album Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales and her 1993 Emmy for the informational Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn—were awarded after her passing on January 20, 1993, which made her the first posthumous EGOT recipient. She did, however, have the chance to bask in the glow of her 1953 Oscar for Roman Holiday, and a Tony for Ondine one year later.

6. MARVIN HAMLISCH

Marvin Hamlisch
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There’s a distinctively heavy emphasis on the “O” in composer Marvin Hamlisch’s EGOT, as he is the most Academy Award-winning of the bunch, with a total of three. All of them were awarded in 1973—two for The Way We Were and one for his score for The Sting. It was “The Way We Were” that earned him his first of four Grammys, too, in 1974. His collaboration with Barbra Streisand continued, and earned him two Emmys in 1995, for Barbra: The Concert. Hamlisch’s Tony came in 1976 for A Chorus Line, the musical that also got him a Pulitzer Prize, making him the only other PEGOT on this list.

7. JONATHAN TUNICK

Jonathan Tunick
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Composer/conductor Jonathan Tunick’s path to EGOT glory was a straight shot over the course of 20 years: In 1977 he won an Oscar for A Little Night Music, followed by an Emmy for Music Direction in 1982 for Night of 100 Stars, a 1988 Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for Cleo Laine’s “No One is Alone,” and, finally, a 1997 Tony for Best Orchestrations for Titanic.

8. MEL BROOKS

Mel Brooks
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Yes, Mel Brooks can do it all. In June of 2001 he became the world’s eighth EGOT winner, just a few weeks shy of his 75th birthday, when he earned three Tony Awards—for Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book of a Musical—for The Producers. It was The Producers that brought Brooks his Oscar as well, for Best Original Screenplay (albeit 33 years earlier). Brooks’s first award came in 1967, when he won the Emmy for writing The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special. Beginning in 1997, he won three consecutive Emmys, this time as a guest actor on the sitcom Mad About You. It was during that same period that he also won his first of three Grammys, in 1998 for Best Spoken Comedy Album for The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000. In a 2013 NPR interview, Brooks mentioned this crowning achievement, saying, “I'm an EGOT, so I don't need any more [awards].”

9. MIKE NICHOLS

Mike Nichols
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Mike Nichols earned his EGOT in the same year as Mel Brooks, though it took him a full 40 years to get there (versus Brooks’s 34). The late comedian-turned-director’s path began with a 1961 Best Comedy Performance Grammy for An Evening With Mike Nichols And Elaine May. In 1964, he won his first of nine Tony Awards for Barefoot in the Park (his second came a year later for The Odd Couple). In 1967 he was named Best Director at the Oscars for The Graduate. And in 2001 he won his first two of four Emmys—for Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Made for Television Movie—for Wit.

10. WHOOPI GOLDBERG

Whoopi Goldberg
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If Philip Michael Thomas invented the idea of the EGOT, Tracy Morgan—as Tracy Jordan—brought the phrase back into popular use on 30 Rock, when he set the same goal and even wore the necklace. And they even got real-life EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg to play along and poke fun at the debate over whether she should truly be included as her Emmy is a Daytime one. (“It still counts,” she told Tracy. “Girl’s gotta eat!”) Goldberg's first award was a 1985 Grammy for Best Comedy Recording of Whoopi Goldberg—Original Broadway Show Recording. Next came a 1990 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Ghost. In 2002 she got her E and T: an Emmy for hosting Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel and a Tony as co-producer of Thoroughly Modern Millie, which won Best Musical.

11. SCOTT RUDIN

Scott Rudin
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Scott Rudin is the first producer to EGOT. He earned his gold medallion in 2012 when The Book of Mormon: Original Broadway Cast Recording earned a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album (an award Rudin shares with fellow EGOT Robert Lopez). Rudin’s first award—an Emmy—came in 1984, for the kid’s show He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’. He earned his first of 15 Tony Awards in 1994 for Passion, and his most recent in 2017 for Hello, Dolly!. While Rudin is probably best known as a film producer, he’s only got one Oscar to his credit, a 2007 Best Picture statue for the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men.

12. ROBERT LOPEZ

Robert Lopez
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In 2014, songwriter Robert Lopez became the newest EGOT when he and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, took home the Oscar for Best Original Song for Frozen’s “Let It Go.” (The pair won a second statuette earlier this year for the song "Remember Me" from Coco.) In addition to being the newest member of the EGOT winners' circle, he is also the youngest member of the club (he's 43 years old now, but had just turned 39 when he was "inducted.") Lopez is also the fastest artist to achieve the honor, taking just 10 years to earn all four awards, beginning with a 2004 Tony Award for Best Score for Avenue Q, followed by two Daytime Emmys in 2008 and 2010 for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for Wonder Pets. In 2012, Lopez and Rudin shared the Grammy for The Book of Mormon, making them the first pair of EGOTs to have a shared award get them into the circle.

(SH)EGOTS

Though the official number of EGOT winners is 12, it’s worth noting that there are a handful of other rather famous faces who have also earned all four awards ... but because at least one of them is a special or honorary award only—not a competitive one—their inclusion in the official club is questionable. Let’s call them SHEGOTs?

1. BARBRA STREISAND


Terry Fincher, Express/Getty Images

Amazingly, the only Tony Award that Barbra Steisand has on her mantel is a non-competitive one; in 1970, she was named Star of the Decade.

2. LIZA MINNELLI

Performer Liza Minnelli
Getty Images

Liza Minnelli may have been handed a Grammy Legend Award in 1990—but this legend has no competitive Grammy to speak (or sing) of.

3. JAMES EARL JONES

James Earl Jones accepts the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City
Theo Wargo, Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Though he's been a Hollywood icon for decades, James Earl Jones's only Oscar win was an honorary one in 2012. He did receive a Best Actor nomination in 1971 for The Great White Hope, but lost out to George C. Scott for Patton. (It's worth noting that Scott had alerted the Academy ahead of time that he refused the nomination, so it was hardly surprising that he wasn't there to accept the actual award.)

4. ALAN MENKEN

Johnny Mercer Award Honoree Alan Menken performs onstage at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame 48th Annual Induction and Awards at New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 15, 2017 in New York City
Larry Busacca, Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame

Composer/songwriter Alan Menken won the Tony for Best Original Score for the Broadway version of Newsies in 2012, but his 1990 Emmy for his contribution to "Wonderful Ways to Say No," an anti-drug cartoon special, was an honorary one—leaving him one official award short of an EGOT.

5. HARRY BELAFONTE

Harry Belafonte attends the 2016 Library Lions Gala at New York Public Library - Stephen A Schwartzman Building on November 7, 2016 in New York City
Theo Wargo, Getty Images

In 2014, Harry Belafonte was awarded the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award—putting him in the elite class of a half-dozen (SH)EGOTs.

6. QUINCY JONES

Music producer Quincy Jones attends Spotify's Inaugural Secret Genius Awards hosted by Lizzo at Vibiana on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California
Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images for Spotify

Music producer Quincy Jones may be one of the world's most award-winning artists, but a competitive Oscar has so far eluded him. Like Belafonte, the only Academy Award he has won is the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (which he received in 1994). Beyond that, he is a seven-time Oscar nominee.

ALMOST EGOTS

While there are are a number of artists who came close to EGOT'ing during their lifetimes—including Robin Williams (who was short a Tony), Jessica Tandy (she was missing a Grammy), Henry Fonda (who was minus an Emmy), and Leonard Bernstein (who never won an Oscar)—the EGOT dream is still alive for dozens of artists.

1. JOHN LEGEND

If John Legend wins an Emmy this year, he'll become the 13th official member of the EGOT winners' circle.

2. JULIE ANDREWS

It's hard to believe that Julie Andrews has yet to win a Tony Award (though she's been nominated for three). If and when she does, she can add EGOT to her resume.

3. AND 4. ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER AND TIM RICE

Like Legend, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice are just an Emmy short of an EGOT—which could change this year.

5. LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA

The Hamilton creator came so close to EGOT'ing last year. But something tells us it won't be long before he's inducted into this elite group of artists.

6. MARTIN SCORSESE

He may be one of the world's most acclaimed filmmakers, but it took him more than a quarter-century to earn his first (and so far only) Oscar. Hopefully a Tony will be next.

7. FRANCES MCDORMAND

Just below the EGOT, there's what is known as the Triple Crown of Acting: a performer who has won an Oscar, Emmy, and a Tony (but is missing a Grammy). Frances McDormand is among that group.

8. VIOLA DAVIS

Like McDormand, Viola Davis is part of the Triple Crown club.

9. RANDY NEWMAN

It took 20 years and 16 nominations, but Randy Newman finally became an Oscar winner in 2002 when he won the award for Best Original Song for "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc. He still needs a Tony though.

10. AL PACINO

He's one of the most celebrated actors alive, but Al Pacino is no Grammy winner.

11. JOHN WILLIAMS

The iconic composer may hold the record for the most Oscar nominations for a living person, but John Williams has yet to receive a single Tony Award nomination.

12. CHER

The iconic singer is one Tony Award short of an EGOT.

13. ELTON JOHN

The "Rocket Man" singer is one Emmy Award away from an EGOT.

14. MAGGIE SMITH

Dame Maggie Smith may not have a Grammy Award, but she's a Triple Crown-winning actor who has earned the right to be addressed as "Dame."

15. COMMON

Rapper/poet/singer/producer Common only needs a Tony Award to complete his EGOT.

16. AND 17. RON HOWARD AND BRIAN GRAZER

Longtime producing partners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer have seemingly conquered every medium, but neither one has yet to win a Tony (though Grazer has come closer; he was nominated in 2008).

18. AND 19. TREY PARKER AND MATT STONE

The South Park creators are just an Oscar short of the EGOT goalpost.

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