Betty White, who died on New Year’s Eve just weeks shy of her 100th birthday, was a TV star for nearly seven decades. It’s no surprise that White won five competitive Emmy Awards, but you may have forgotten that she won a Grammy 10 years ago for best spoken word album (includes poetry, audio books & storytelling) for her audio book, If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t).
White, who was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1995, is one of 16 members of that body who won competitive Grammys. Here are 15 more Hall of Fame members – TV icons every one – who won Grammys.
Carol Burnett: Burnett, whose eponymous variety show ran for 11 years, won the 2016 Grammy for best spoken word album for an audiobook about the show, In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox.
George Burns: The comedian, who teamed with his wife Gracie Allen on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show in the ‘50s, went on to even greater fame after her death in 1964. Like White, he was most beloved in his later years. He won the 1990 Grammy for best spoken word or non-musical recording for Gracie – A Love Story. Oddly, Burns never won an Emmy in competition.
Andy Griffith: Griffith’s eponymous sitcom was one of the top-rated shows of the 1960s. It’s still popular in reruns, even though its gentle humor is out of step with today’s brasher comedy style. Griffith won the 1996 Grammy for best southern gospel, country gospel or bluegrass gospel album for I Love to Tell the Story – 25 Timeless Hymns. Griffith received his first Grammy nod in 1959, before his sitcom launched, for his album Hamlet, nominated as best comedy performance. Like Burns, Griffith never an Emmy in competition.
Ron Howard: The former child star starred in two iconic TV series, The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days. He has gone on to even greater success as a director. It was in that capacity that he won the 2016 Grammy for best music film for The Beatles: Eight Days a Week the Touring Years.
Carl Reiner: Reiner won his first two Emmys as a member of the cast on Sid Caesar’s Caesar’s Hour, but he made his greatest contribution to TV by creating and producing The Dick Van Dyke Show, the granddaddy of smart, sophisticated sitcoms. Reiner and fellow comedy legend Mel Brooks won the 1998 Grammy for best spoken comedy album for The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000, an update on their classic comedy routine. Their original 2000 Year Old Man album was nominated in that category in 1960.
Dick Van Dyke: The star of the aforementioned landmark comedy series won the 1964 Grammy for best recording for children for Mary Poppins in tandem with Julie Andrews.
Edward R. Murrow: The legendary newsman, who was in the inaugural class inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1984, won the 1966 Grammy for best spoken word, documentary or drama recording for Edward R. Murrow – A Reporter Remembers Vol. I The War Years.
Steve Allen: Allen was the first host of NBC’s The Tonight Show. Allen was also a prolific composer. He wrote one song that became a pop standard, the zesty “This Could Be the Start of Something Big.” Allen and Ray Brown won a 1963 Grammy for best original jazz composition for “Gravy Waltz.” Twenty years later, Allen and his wife Jayne Meadows were nominated for best spoken word or non-musical recording for Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Home Computers. Allen was nominated in that category again in 1989 for a 50th anniversary update of Orson Welles’ legendary The War of the World broadcast.
Charles Kuralt: The newsman and host of CBS’ On the Road with Charles Kuralt won two 1997 Grammys – best spoken word album for Charles Kuralt’s Spring and best spoken word album for children for Winnie-The-Pooh.
Bob Newhart: The comedy icon’s dry style and flawless timing served him well on two long-running series, The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart. He won three 1960 Grammys, including album of the year for The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart and best new artist. He is the only comedian ever to win in the latter category.
Jim Henson: The beloved creator of The Muppets won five Grammys from 1978-86, all for best children’s recording.
Leonard Bernstein: Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts specials in the 1960s made him a TV icon. He won 16 Grammys from 1961-92. He received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 1985, five years before he was voted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame.
Perry Como: Como’s laid-back style was ideal for TV, which is famously a cool medium. Como’s variety series was a smash in the 1950s. He won a Grammy in the competition’s first year for best vocal performance, male for “Catch a Falling Star.” He received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 2002, 13 years after he was voted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame.
Joan Rivers: The irreverent comedian won the 2014 Grammy for best spoken word album for Diary of a Mad Diva. She was nominated for best comedy recording for 1983, when she was nearing the peak of her fame, for What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most? Despite being a TV mainstay for decades, Rivers was never even nominated for an Emmy in competition, something her Hall of Fame induction in 2017 helped to rectify.
Dick Wolf: The producer, best known as the creator and executive producer of the Law & Order franchise, won a 2010 Grammy as one of the producers of The Doors documentary When You’re Strange, which was voted best long form music video.
Bill Cosby, a nine-time Grammy winner, was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1991, but his induction was revoked following his 2018 rape conviction.
Four members of the TV Academy Hall of Fame – producers Walt Disney and Dick Clark, entertainer Fred Astaire and inventor and engineer Ray Dolby – received special merit awards from the Recording Academy, but weren’t nominated for competitive Grammys.
In addition, these members of the TV Academy Hall of Fame received Grammy nominations, but didn’t win or, in the case of those still living, have yet to win: All in the Family stars Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton, M*A*S*H star Alan Alda, White’s Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Ed Asner, Star Trek star William Shatner, Julia star Diahann Carroll, The Smothers Brothers, the original cast of Saturday Night Live, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, comedian Ernie Kovacs, anchorman Walter Cronkite, anchor team Chet Huntley & David Brinkley, newsman Eric Sevareid, executive Fred W. Friendly and Kukla, Fran & Ollie puppeteer Burr Tillstrom.
The TV Academy presented Hall of Fame awards every year from 1984 to 1993 but has presented them in just 15 of the past 28 years. As a result, they are seriously backlogged on worthy recipients who have yet to be honored. Among them: Lily Tomlin, Robin Williams, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey.