Three years after causing an uproar with her supporting nod for a 15-second appearance in the telefilm "Mrs. Harris," Ellen Burstyn won her first Emmy for a guest appearance on the drama series "Law & Order: SVU." With this victory, she becomes the 18th performer to win the acting triple crown of Oscar, Emmy and Tony awards.
Though Burstyn won her Oscar ("Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore") and Tony ("Same Time Next Year") in 1975, she did not contend for her first Emmy till 1981 with a lead actress in a movie/mini nod for "The People v. Jean Harris." That was the same role Annette Bening played in "Mrs. Harris." Burstyn contended again in 1987 as lead actress in a movie/mini for "Pack of Lies" and in this guest actress category last year for "Big Love."
Burstyn lost to Cynthia Nixon last year for her guest spot on "SVU." Appearances on that crime drama also won guest Emmys for Leslie Caron in 2007 and Amanda Plummer in 2005 and nods for an additional 10 women including two of Burstyn's competitors this year - six-time Emmy champ Carol Burnett and Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn.
Only two 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 15 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, Geoffrey Rush, Paul Scofield, Maggie Smith, Maureen Stapleton and Jessica Tandy.