It’s official: Viola Davis has officially achieved the most prestigious status in the entertainment world. Now that the celebrated actress has won a Grammy for the audiobook version of her memoir Finding Me, Davis has now achieved EGOT status.
The term “EGOT” stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony” and is meant to honor the talented few who’ve won at least one of each of the four major American entertainment awards in a competitive category. The star to most recently make the list before Davis was Jennifer Hudson.
EGOT status is often seen as the ultimate achievement for any American entertainer. However, the man who coined the term EGOT unfortunately never notched a single nomination for any of the major awards.
In 1984, Miami Vice actor Philip Michael Thomas first publicly used the term during an interview with ET.
“[In January], I put a plan in motion, which I call ‘EGOT,’” he told the outlet while on the set of the popular TV show. “And EGOT is ‘E’ for Emmy, ‘G’ for GRAMMY, ‘O’ for Oscar and ‘T’ for Tony. And I’m putting this on a five-year plan. I hope to win all of those in the next five years.”
It seemed like Thomas did his best to manifest the honor, even fashioning the acronym onto a gold pendant for him to wear while he chased his goal. In 1985, he followed up with ET, telling the publication that he had the Emmy in his sights as Miami Vice celebrated multiple nominations for its pilot episode.
He added that had a plan to secure the next three awards. He first anticipated a Grammy with his debut studio album Living the Book of My Life, but he wouldn’t stop there.
“The Oscar will come when I buy the rights to No Place To Be Somebody and do it as a film,” Thomas explained. “And the Tony will come when I produce the musical I wrote, which is called The Legend of Stagolee.”
Unfortunately, those five years passed for Thomas without receiving a single EGOT-eligible win or even nomination. However, Thomas indisputably left his mark on the entertainment world by coining the oft-used term. In fact, in a roundabout way, every EGOT winner owes the prestigious designation to Thomas himself.
Thomas’ story was eventually satirized on the Emmy-award winning show 30 Rock. During the series’ fourth season, Tracy Morgan’s semi-autobiographical character Tracy Jordan insisted he was taking on Thomas’ quest.
The character even purchased Thomas’ supposed “EGOT” necklace, setting the plan into motion. While the storyline was played for laughs on the show, it also helped solidify the term “EGOT” in the public’s consciousness.
It doesn’t look like Thomas gets much work these days with his last acting credit being in 2009. However, never say never! According to his IMDB page, he actually has multiple projects in pre-production, meaning Phillip could be planning a full-on come-back. As we saw with so many actors this year, all it takes is one good role to bring an entertainer’s career back to life!