'Aladdin' composer Alan Menken reaches EGOT status with Daytime Emmy win

He joins a rarefied group that includes Rita Moreno, Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg and John Legend.
"Aladdin" Los Angeles Press Conference
Composer Alan Menken participates in the U.S. press conference for "Aladdin", in Los Angeles on May 19, 2019.Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney file

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By Daniel Arkin

Tracy Morgan's character on "30 Rock" spent much of the fourth season coveting the four major awards in the entertainment industry: the Emmy, the Grammy, the Oscar and the Tony. But in the real world, only 16 people have reached so-called "EGOT" status.

The prolific composer and songwriter Alan Menken joined that exclusive club on Sunday.

Menken, best known for composing the music for the Broadway smash "Little Shop of Horrors" and a string of Disney animated classics, including "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin," achieved the EGOT with a win at the Daytime Emmy Awards.

He was honored for a song he composed for the Disney Channel series "Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure." He shared the Daytime Emmy for the song, "Waiting in the Wings," with the lyricist Glenn Slater.

Menken, 71, began his journey to EGOT in 1990 with a pair of Academy Awards for his work on "The Little Mermaid." He went on to win six more Oscars for "Beauty and the Beast" (1991), "Aladdin" (1992) and "Pocahontas" (1995).

He notched 11 victories at the Grammy Awards for various Disney soundtrack albums as well as a Tony Award in 2012 for "Newsies," a Broadway adaptation of a 1992 Disney musical film of the same name.

Menken's victory at the Daytime Emmys was not his first TV industry honor. He previously won an honorary Primetime Emmy Award for his work on the 1990 anti-drug special "Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue," featuring Winnie the Pooh and Kermit the Frog warning about the dangers of marijuana abuse.

The list of EGOT winners includes Rita Moreno, Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, Whoopi Goldberg, John Legend and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The term was apparently coined by "Miami Vice" star Philip Michael Thomas, who in a 1984 interview with the Associated Press talked about his desire to win all four major industry awards over the subsequent five years.

Thomas later seemed to walk back his grand career ambition, explaining to People magazine in 1985 that his "trademark gold medallion" engraved with the letters EGOT actually stood for "Energy, Growth, Opportunity and Talent."

The acronym gained greater attention during the fourth season of "30 Rock" after Tracy Morgan's character, the vainglorious actor Tracy Jordan, purchased a diamond-encrusted "EGOT" necklace at a jewelry store and set out to nab the entertainment quadfecta.