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List Mania! Frances McDormand and all the "Triple Crown" Icons

Since I'm on record as being annoyed that all anyone cares about is the EGOT and since Steve asked in the comments of the Emmy post-mortem about my preferred obsession (The Triple Crown of Acting) to date only 21 actors* have accomplished this, two of them within this very calendar year (Dame Helen Mirren and Frances McDormand). Of course this has become more commonplace than it used to be given that actors no longer feel like they should be solely a movie star, or solely a tv actor, or only a thespian of the stage. With more and more people willing to do all three, sometimes consistently, these ranks will likely swell in another 20 years.

Currently the rarified list of actors who've won The Tony, The Oscar and The Emmy for their acting reads like so...

Frances McDormand is your latest Triple Crown Winner. From Fargo (1996) to Good People (2011) to Olive Kitteridge (2014)

  • Jack Albertson (Tony: 65, Oscar: 69, Emmy: 75)
  • Anne Bancroft (Tony: 58, Oscar: 63, Emmy: 99)
  • Ingrid Bergman (Oscar: 45, Tony: 47, Emmy: 60)
    Our Ingrid Bergman Centennial was fun wasn't it? You're welcome. Ingrid is the youngest performance to complete the trinity at age 45. 
  • Shirley Booth (Tony: 49, Oscar: 53, Emmy: 62)
  • Ellen Burstyn (Oscar: 75, Tony: 77, Emmy: 09)
  • Melvyn Douglas (Tony: 60, Oscar: 64, Emmy: 68)
    Did you know that this Hud star was Illeanna Douglas's grandfather? I certainly didn't.
  • Helen Hayes (Oscar: 32, Tony 47, Emmy: 53)
    (Though IMDb does not state what her Emmy was for so who knows if she's a special case or not)
  • Jeremy Irons (Tony: 84, Oscar: 91, Emmy: 97)
  • Frances McDormand (Oscar: 97, Tony: 11, Emmy: 15)
    The most recent inductee to this hall of fame. 
  • Helen Mirren (Emmy: 96, Oscar: 07, Tony: 15)
    And yes she won all three for playing Queens named Elizabeth! Though she has multiple Emmys so she's won for other roles, too. 
  • Thomas Mitchell (Oscar: 40, Tony: 53, Emmy: 53) 
  • Rita Moreno (Oscar: 62, Tony: 75, Emmy: 77)
    The second youngest to the Triple. She was 46 when she completed it with the Emmy for The Muppet Show
  • Al Pacino (Tony: 69, Oscar: 93, Emmy: 04)
  • Christopher Plummer (Tony: 74, Emmy: 77, Oscar: 12)
  • Vanessa Redgrave (Oscar: 78, Emmy: 81, Tony: 03)
  • Jason Robards (Tony: 59, Oscar: 77, Emmy: 88)
  • Geoffrey Rush (Oscar: 97, Emmy: 05, Tony: 09)
  • Paul Scofield (Tony: 62, Oscar: 67, Emmy: 69)
    The youngest male actor to the Triple. He was 47 when he completed it with the Emmy for Male of the Species 
  • Maggie Smith (Oscar: 70, Tony: 90, Emmy: 03)
  • Maureen Stapleton (Tony: 51, Emmy: 68, Oscar: 82)
  • Jessica Tandy (Tony: 78, Emmy: 88, Oscar: 90)

Weird Statistic
The Emmy, which seems like the easiest to win since they have so many damn categories, is actually won last by the majority of Triple Crowners. How about that? 

Eddie Redmayne is very young to have already won two of the big threeWho do you think will join the list next?
Of currently working stars Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen Barkin, Hugh Jackman and Bryan Cranston are just missing the Oscar which is obviously the hardest to win.

Overachiever Glenn Close has three Tonys and three Emmys but (sigh) zero Oscars. Kevin Spacey, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dame Judi Dench, Denzel Washington and Marcia Gay Harden are just missing the Emmy. The youngest immediate threats are Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne: she is only 32 and just needs a Tony; he is only 33 and just needs an Emmy... though he isn't currently doing any TV so the Triple Crown will probably have to wait. 

And get this: Sally Field, Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, Dianne Wiest and Jane Fonda who all have won multiple Oscars and multiple Emmys are all just missing the Tony though they've all worked the Broadway stage!

Depressing Three-Medium Stats: Sir Ian McKellen, a hugely lauded thespian has only won the Tony despite Oscar & Emmy nominations. The gifted Sarah Paulson who works all three mediums with regularity has not won any of the prizes and has only been Emmy-nominated. The Lovely Laura Linney, another regular three-medium threat has only won the Emmy despite multiple Tony and Oscar nominations. Marisa Tomei who works all three has only won the Oscar with no Tony or Emmy honors. Martha Plimptonwho does all three (though movies only occasionally) has only won the Emmy but has at least been nominated for multiple Tonys. Kathleen Turner who only occasionally does TV (unthinkably her work on Friends did not even win her a Guest Actress nomination) but used to be a huge movie star has been nominated for the Oscars and Grammys (once) and the Tonys (twice) but has yet to win any of the big showbiz awards beyond her two Golden Globes. Annette Bening has NONE of the top three prizes despite being nominated for all. The strange thing is that though she now regularly does stage work, she does not do it on Broadway. She could win a Tony if she came back!

* Special Cases: Notable superstars like Judy Garland (her Oscar was a non-competitive juvenile Oscar), Liza Minnelli (her Emmy was for a televised concert), Barbra Streisand (her Tony was a special award) and Whoopi Goldberg (her Emmy was not a Primetime Emmy which is all that people usually refer to when they talk about winning Emmys) won all three statues but they did not win them all in regular competitive categories or for performances exactly so they are special cases.

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Reader Comments (50)

Cool post, Nathaniel.
You, sadly, reminded me that Judi Dench does not have an Emmy. She was great in Cranford. She needs a Game of Thrones role.
Also, I have to stop procrastinating and just write that damn play that will get Winslet the Tony. Oh, and show people how to love themselves and each other etc.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

You missed Hugh Jackman, who has an Emmy and a Tony but no Academy Award, though I predict he'll add one to his collection eventually.

I can see Viola Davis and Bryan Cranston easily winning competitive Oscars with Cicely Tyson possibly being given an honorary trophy, but I can't imagine a world in which Neil Patrick Harris is ever an Oscar winner. Ever. Kevin Spacey has a large House of Cards fan base, so that Emmy can't be too far away. As for the rest, if they worked more (or at all) in the media for which they're missing the honor that could complete their triple crown, then any of them would be a legitimate threat to join the club.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

I posted a similar trivia-ful topic on IMDb:

McDormand is also the 8th youngest to have completed the awards at 58.24 years. Ingrid Bergman remains the youngest at 44.81 years while Christopher Plummer the oldest at 82.20 years. 10 of the Triple Crown of Acting winners completed their wins in their 60s (Thomas Mitchell, Shirley Booth, Al Pacino, Jason Robards, Vanessa Redgrave, Melvyn Douglas, Anne Bancroft, Maggie Smith, Jack Albertson, and Helen Mirren).

It took McDormand 18.49 years to complete her Triple Crown of Acting wins, ranking her 10th among all 21 actors. The shortest to complete the three wins is Paul Scofield at 7.11 years, followed by Melvyn Douglas at 8.07 years, and Jack Albertson at 10.92 years. On the other hand, it took Anne Bancroft 41.37 years, Christopher Plummer 37.85 years, and Al Pacino 35.40 years to complete their Triple Crown of Acting wins.

Among all 21, 11 actors won a Tony first, 9 an Oscar, and only Helen Mirren has won an Emmy first. There are more actors who won an Oscar for their second Triple Crown of Acting wins. Usually, the Emmy award is won last with 14 of 21 actors winning it last. Only 3 actors won an Oscar last: Stapleton (1982), Tandy (1990), and Plummer (2012). Only 4 actors won a Tony last: Mitchell (1953), Redgrave (2003), Rush (2009), and Mirren (2015). Therefore, for Triple Crown of Acting wins: Tony --> Oscar --> Emmy

Youngest to win an Oscar: Ingrid Bergman, 29.54 years old
Youngest to win an Emmy: Maureen Stapleton, 42.91 years old
Youngest to win a Tony: Maureen Stapleton, 25.76 years old

Oldest to win an Oscar: Christopher Plummer, 82.20 years old
Oldest to win an Emmy: Jessica Tandy, 79.22 years old
Oldest to win a Tony: Helen Mirren, 69.86 years old

And a special entry to my blog celebrating Frances McDormand's induction to the TCA circle:

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBimboy

I think Emmy is likely to be won last because of actor's career trajectory. They usually start out with stage career, become more popular, then hello movie career. Or another case, popular movie stars want to prove themselves and take a shot at broadway. After a while, TV becomes their last (possibly less prestigious) destination but it has been providing exciting opportunities for actors lately.

I hate the term EGOT because Grammy hardly associate with acting.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJija

Denzel is bound to win an Emmy with the August Wilson series for HBO, right?

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Jessica Lange will correct this wrong next year when she takes home the Tony for Long Day's Journey Into Night.

I think the most egregious injustice in cheating a performer of the EGOT is the case of Ms. Julie Andrews, who has an Oscar, a Grammy and two Emmys...but no Tony. Absolutely indefensible.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

i just want to reaffirm my love for frances mcdormand's denim jacket at the tonys. did you all know that she walked to the tonys that year from her apartment? she is wonderful; she gives zero fucks.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O

Other actors who have won an acting Oscar and Emmy:
Patricia Arquette, Kathy Bates, Halle Berry, Michael Douglas, Patty Duke, Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, Louis Gossett Jr., Lee Grant, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Glenda Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones, Cloris Leachman, Melissa Leo, Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Eva Marie Saint, Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, and Joanne Woodard

Other actors who have won an acting Oscar and Tony:
Alan Arkin, Joel Grey, Kevin Kline, Liza Minnelli, Mercedes Ruehl

Other actors who have won an acting Emmy and Tony:
Jane Alexander, Mary Alice, Christine Baranski, Phillip Bosco, Stockard Channing, Kristin Chenoweth, Tyne Daly, Blythe Danner, Nanette Fabray, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Gallagher, Rosemary Harris, George Hearn, Judd Hirsch, Hal Holbrook, Ken Howard, Derek Jacobi, Cherry Jones, James Earl Jones, Shirley Knight, Swoosie Kurtz, Anthony LaPaglia, John Larroquette, Ron Leibman, Judith Light, John Lithgow, Debra Monk, Michael Moriarty, Robert Morse, Donna Murphy, Bebe Neuwirth, Cynthia Nixon, Mary-Louise Parker, Mandy Patinkin, David Hyde Pierce, Amanda Plummer, Diana Rigg, Dick Van Dyke, and Jeffrey Wright

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBimboy

For years I thought the "G" in EGOT was for Golden Globe. Wouldn't that make more sense???

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

San FranCinema, each award in the EGOT represents each industry's highest honor, the Grammy being the one for recording.

Bimboy, I don't want to speak for Nathaniel, but he may have been trying to distill the list down to the actors who stand the most likely chance of winning a triple crown based on how frequently they work/have worked in the various media.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Frances McDormand won in 1997 for her 1996 performance.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

San Fran -- it would if people could concentrate on acting but they don't. the Grammy screws everything up! ;)

Troy & Bimboy -- yeah, the "not a full crown" was a sampler list. there are others for instance who have an Oscar & Emmy but no Tony beyond those movie godesses who have two Oscars... but that woulda screwed up the symmetry of my list.

brookesboy -- well that is kinda her own fault since she refused the tony nomination for victor/victoria.

September 22, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

You also forgot Helen Hayes (Oscar: 32, Tony: 47, Emmy: 53)

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBen

Kathy Bates Hilary Swank'd Julia Roberts for the Oscar and the Emmy. Fun fact: a Huston was in the audience both times.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Nathaniel--I understand, but how in hell could she not win for sheer legendary brilliance in Camelot or My Fair Lady? Just crazy shit.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Ben -- fixed

Bimboy -- i only count 20 actors + 4 "special cases". You mentioned 21. Any clue on who I'm missing if it is indeed 21?

September 22, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nat -- I was offering supplementary info.

Troy -- I agree as some of the actors I listed are from being active and most have not been nominated in all three awards

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBimboy

Thank you for this. I believe Ellen Burstyn has all 3 too

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter212doheny

Streep should be able to nab the Grammy ( she actually has been nominated quite a bit for soundtracks and book narration) and if she ever takes a break from filming to revisit the stage a Tony could be hers as well.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjamie

I wanna party with that Emmy-Tony group!

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W.

I think the youngest immediate threat should be Anne Hathaway, who is just missing the Tony.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterYung-Wei

The reason I love the EGOT more is that the Grammy allows for the rarest of the rare, the cream of the crop: The Triple Threat. Which is why my favorite EGOT is and always will be Rita Moreno. Yes, other actors like John Gielgud, Helen Hayes, and Audrey Hepburn have done it, but when the Grammy is for narrating a book, I always feel that's a bit of a cheat. And then, weirdly, Whoopi's Tony is for producing Thoroughly Modern Millie, not for any of her shows.

So yeah, for me, Rita Moreno is the only EGOT that matters, and the ultimate performer.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Who knows? Maybe Tomei will win a Guest Actor Emmy for her role as the lesbian billionaire on this upcoming season of Empire.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Imelda Staunton needs to bring her "Gypsy" to Broadway and get started on her EGOT. :-)

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoel V.

I love this post and my mind is exploding with the multiple options.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

According to Wikipedia, Helen Hayes won a competitive "Best Actress" Emmy in '53, beating (Winston's daughter) Sarah Churchill, (future "Timmy's mom") June Lockhart, (Marlene's daughter) Maria Riva and ("Mama") Peggy Wood.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Nat -- it's now 21 on your list. Maybe it was Hayes.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBimboy

Additional trivia:

Julie Andrews and Meryl Streep remain the youngest actors to have been nominated for an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony at 29. Andrews was nominated for a Tony in 1957 at 21, an Emmy in 1958 at 22, and an Oscar in 1965 at 29. Streep was nominated for a Tony at 27, an Emmy at 29, and an Oscar at 29.

Only two actors have been nominated for an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony in a single year: Glenn Close and Alan Alda. In 1984, Close was nominated for an Oscar for The Big Chill (1983), nominated for and won a Tony for The Real Thing, and nominated for an Emmy for Something About Amelia (1984). Alda, on the other hand, was nominated for an Oscar for The Aviator (2004), an Emmy for The West Wing (1999), and a Tony for Glengarry Glenn Ross in 2005.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBimboy


Tomei is playing Gloria Steinem in an HBO biopic produced by George Clooney.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

@3rtful - well then she has two upcoming chances! Sweet.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Paul -- but does it say what it was for. i can't figure it.

September 22, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

For Helen Hayes' Emmy, the EGOT wiki page says is was for Schlitz Playhouse of Stars for the episode "Not a Chance"

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBen

If Elisabeth Moss get a nomination for Queen of Earth she'll get the triple crown nomination in the same year

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Has anyone won the Triple Crown for the same role? Or at least the same character?

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

Not yet, though Helen Mirren was won 2 of the 3 (Oscar and Tony) as Elizabeth II, so she's just one TV movie away from pulling it off.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBen

For Tony list makers, only plays that appear on Broadway are eligible for Tony awards? So, it discounts a whole lot of great work that might have been seen off-Broadway or at the Public, right? But are those non-"Broadway" plays are still eligible for Obie, Drama Desk, NY Drama Critics, Lortel, or other awards? And those productions have to be in NYC? (See ref to Bening in Nathaniel's post, because I think a lot of the greats DO have great stage work.)

I love the Tony awards ceremony but I guess they don't really capture the full-range of theater performances, like the Oscars and films, so methinks it shouldn't get as much weight as an Oscar!

And totally throw out the Grammy, unless it's for spoken word/narration.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Kate Winslet ain't getting that Triple Crown. Multiple people (including her ex Sam Mendes + her The Reader director Stephen Daldry) have tried to woo Kate back to the stage and she has refused. Girl doesn't have a desire to do theatre.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Other triple crowners (though not acting)

Bob Fosse: Emmy (Liza with a Z), Oscar (Cabaret), and Tony (Pippin)
Mike Nichol: Tony (several), Emmy (Angels in America), Oscar (Graduate)

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Aaron -- Julianne Moore also isn't ever getting it. She is not great on stage and from a recent interview it sounds like she didn't enjoy the experience of being on stage either.

September 22, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Special cases is an understatement. The older I get, the less that I care about awards. I will be grateful when you go back to writing about movies.

September 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJono

Nat, Kathleen Turner appeared on Friends in its seventh season (2001) and the Guest category has been around since the mid-1980s (it used to be just Guest Performer, not there's Guest Actor and Guest Actress), so her work on Friends was eligible for Emmys that year, but she wasn't nominated. Susan Sarandon was nominagted instead for playing that actress who was killed off Days of Our Lives so Joey's character could come out of his coma by getting her brain (yes, the Joey soap opera plots were ridiculous) and Jean Smart won that year for her stint on Frasier. Just wanted to clear that up...

September 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Jono -- "go back"??? we write about movies constantly here. There were 35 reviews in the past two weeks and best shot before that with Mad Max.

Richter -- ugh. it was just that it was unthinkable really ;) I shall fix.

September 23, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

If they do ever bring Sunset Boulevard musical to the big screen with Glenn Close, I'm certain she'll win her Oscar and complete her triple crown. Even more so if Andrew Lloyd Webber writes an original sing for the film and Glenn has writing credits (which she tried for Albert Nobbs) they might have a shot at the Grammy too.

Marcia Gay Harden was wasted on the newsroom, David E Kelly could've written her a wonderful monologue and she might have had her emmy. Even if she had a cracking scene in Damages with Glenn she would've won.

September 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMustafa

Mustafa -- i loved her on Damages (and i did not love that show) but then she's so often super. But i think the problem with Damages was that it was so hyper focused on Glenn Close's death glare that who else got any real love and tlc from the episodes?

September 23, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

It seems to me Glenn really wanted a project to bring her back onto the light. The first season was spectacular, the rest sure had good moments and great Acting with an A but the whole switching networks from FX to DirecTV must have caused some creative slump. I do remember the ending of season 3 with Glenn and Rose to be spectacular.
I think they're close to mounting the Sunset Boulevard movie. Glenn's doing it on the West End next spring (courtesy of The Guardian).. Fingers crossed.

September 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMustafa

Zeljko Ivanek deservedly won an Emmy for that terrific first season of Damages.

I adore Harden and would love to see her complete the Triple Crown, but she's done so much tv where she's just been wasted.

September 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Yes, I agree, I love her appearance as Chandler's dad. Some of the dialogue she's given could be better ("I'm not fond of New York. Queens I like..."), but that scene where she first sees Chandler in the audience, then meets Monica, finds out they're getting married soon and wishes them luck, as you can see how much this hurts him, and then Chandler stands up and invites her to the wedding in front of everyone, that sense of shared history and amends made in two minutes is one of the most poignant moments in the entire history of that show, beautifully played by both her and Matthew Perry. I don't know why she wasn't nominated. I guess the voters didn't know what to do with a role that was meant to be so outlandish becoming so moving (or maybe they just liked Susan Sarandon better that year). Anyway, I always enjoy seeing who gets that Triple Crown. These people are legendary in their own right either way...

September 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Just an addition:

Whoopi's Tony wasn't for acting. She won as a producer of Thoroughly Modern Millie.

September 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

Marcia Gay Harden is certainly *trying* hard for the Emmy these days. It feels like all of her work is on TV.

"The Emmy, which seems like the easiest to win since they have so many damn categories, is actually won last by the majority of Triple Crowners. How about that?"

I actually don't think it's that's surprising given television was usually considered the less respectable cousin of film and the stage. Many actors wouldn't deign to appear on TV, but between the rise of cable (Geoffrey Rush won his Emmy for a Peter Sellars biopic that went theatrical elsewhere around the world) as well as British TV that routinely saw actors like Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect and so on and filmed plays meant more actors, especially older ones for whom film scripts were less common, headed there.

September 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

I'm hoping With Fences this year, Queen Viola can complete her Crown!!!

June 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

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