Geoffrey Rush earns acting triple crown with Tony Award win for 'Exit the King'
Geoffrey Rush became the 17th performer to win the acting triple crown of Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards when he romped to victory tonight as best lead actor in a play. Astonishingly, Geoffrey Rush won each of these prestigious prizes on his first try – the Oscar for "Shine" in 1996, the Emmy for "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" in 2005, and now the Tony for "Exit the King."
Geoffrey Rush not only stars in this acclaimed production of the absurdist play by Eugene Ionesco but translated the text with director Neil Armfield. The Australian actor edged out performances by "God of Carnage" stars Jeff Daniels and James Gandolfini, Raul Esparza – who earned his third consecutive Tony nod for "Speed-the-Plow" – and newcomer Thomas Sadoski ("reasons to be pretty").
Only 2 of the 10 people to pull off the grand slam of all four major showbiz awards won their Oscar, Emmy and Tony for acting — Helen Hayes and Rita Moreno (Hayes got her Grammy for spoken word while Moreno won for children's album). An additional 14 performers have won these top honors for their skills as thespians — Jack Albertson, Anne Bancroft, Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Booth, Melvyn Douglas, Jeremy Irons, Thomas Mitchell, Al Pacino, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, Paul Scofield, Maggie Smith, Maureen Stapleton and Jessica Tandy.
Photo: Ethel Barrymore Theatre