Something for everyone. The Grammy Awards are known as “music’s biggest night,” but the Recording Academy also hands out a ton of trophies in non-musical categories — and you might be surprised to find out who’s won them.
One of the major sources of unusual Grammy winners is Best Spoken Word Album, first awarded in 1959. This prize has gone to statesmen reading their speeches (Martin Luther King Jr.), poets reciting their work (Maya Angelou) and more recently, authors and actors reading audiobooks (LeVar Burton, Cynthia Nixon, Michael J. Fox and many more).
It’s certainly not easy to win a Grammy, but the sheer breadth of categories has helped a number of stars complete their EGOT: the showbiz feat of winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
The legendary Audrey Hepburn, for example, won an Oscar in 1953 for Roman Holiday, a Tony in 1954 for Ondine and an Emmy in 1993 for Gardens of the World With Audrey Hepburn. Finally, in 1994, the Breakfast at Tiffany’s star won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for Children, making her the first person to win all four awards posthumously. (She died one month before the ceremony.)
Liza Minnelli also received her Grammy last after winning a Tony in 1965, an Oscar in 1972 and an Emmy in 1973. The Cabaret actress took home a Grammy Legend Award in 1990, making her an official EGOT winner — a feat that even her mother, Judy Garland, didn’t achieve. (The late Wizard of Oz star was nominated for three Emmys but never won one.)
On the non-Hollywood end of the spectrum, the Grammys have also honored a number of former presidents and former first ladies, including Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Jimmy Carter currently holds the record for most presidential Grammys with three wins, but the Audacity of Hope author could tie the Georgia native when the 64th Annual Grammy Awards air in April 2022. The former Illinois senator is nominated for Best Spoken Word Album for the audiobook version of his 2020 memoir, A Promised Land.
He’s not the only Grammy winner at home, either. His wife, Michelle Obama, took home the gold in 2020 for the audiobook of her memoir, Becoming. The honor came one year after she made a surprise appearance at the ceremony alongside Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez and Jada Pinkett Smith.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side [of Chicago] to the ‘Run the World’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story,” the Illinois native said in February 2019 to rapturous applause. “Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other. Music shows us that all of it matters.”
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Keep scrolling for the most surprising Grammy winners over the years: