Alan Menken Achieves EGOT Status

We have a new EGOT winner. In a remote ceremony last night, the Daytime Emmy Awards announced its second round of winners — the ones recognizing Children’s, Lifestyle, and Animated TV programming. The veteran Disney composer and songwriter Alan Menken took Best Original Song for “Waiting In The Wings,” a song that Eden Espinosa and Hudson D’Andrea sang on the Disney Channel show Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. With that, as The Hollywood Reporter points out, Menken becomes the latest person ever to hit the full grand slam, winning, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards. And yes, Daytime Emmys count towards the EGOT.

Menken is only the 16th person to win an EGOT in competition. If you expand it to include honorary awards, the number becomes 21. That number remains unchanged this morning, since Menken already was given an honorary primetime Emmy in 1990 for writing the song “Wonderful Ways To Say No” for the anti-drug special Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue. That song, which features ALF and Garfield and Michaelangelo, is pretty funny!

Menken now joins a club that includes Rita Moreno, Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, and Whoopi Goldberg. Last year, John Legend, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Menken’s Beauty And The Beast/Aladdin collaborator Tim Rice all locked down EGOT status.

The 71-year-old Menken started out in the ’70s, writing songs for jingles and for Sesame Street. He went on to work in the New York musical-theater world all through the ’80s. Thanks to his work on the Little Shop Of Horrors musical, Disney hired him and lyricist Howard Ashman to write the music for 1989’s The Little Mermaid, the animated film that kicked off the Disney renaissance. Menken and Ashman won the Best Original Song Oscar for “Under The Sea,” and Menken also won Best Original Score for The Little Mermaid.

Menken now has eight Oscars, thanks to his work on The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast, Aladdin, and Pocahontas. He has 11 Grammys, thanks to his work on those films and on 2010’s Tangled. He won the Best Original Score Tony in 2012 for his work on the stage adaptation of Newsies.

Menken co-wrote “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, the only song from a Disney cartoon that’s ever gone to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. As far as I can tell, Menken is one of only three EGOT singers with #1 hits to their credit. (The others are John Legend and Richard Rodgers, who only gets in there because Ariana Grande sampled “My Favorite Things” on “7 rings.”) Maybe there should be a whole new category for that.

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