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With Grammy win, Viola Davis earns EGOT

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

Last night, Viola Davis won a Grammy Award for her audiobook memoir, "Finding Me." That's an achievement in itself. But for Davis, it meant something bigger.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

VIOLA DAVIS: I just EGOT.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

EGOT - as in Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. She now joins 17 others, including Rita Moreno, Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson, who've won all four awards.

SUMMERS: Viola Davis picked up her Emmy for outstanding actress in a drama series.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER")

DAVIS: (As Annalise Keating) I'm Professor Annalise Keating, and this is Criminal Law 100 - or as I prefer to call it, how to get away with murder.

SUMMERS: She became the first Black woman to win that particular Emmy, but she's also known as a stage actor.

SHAPIRO: Davis won her first Tony Award in 2001 for her role in August Wilson's play, "King Hedley II." Her character is pregnant. Her husband, an ex-con, wants her to keep the baby.

(SOUNDBITE OF PLAY, "KING HEDLEY II")

DAVIS: (As Tonya) Ain't raising no kid to have somebody shoot him, to have his friends shoot him, to have the police shoot him. Why you want to bring another life into this world that don't respect life? I don't want to raise no more babies when you've got to fight to keep them alive.

SUMMERS: Davis won a second Tony for the 2010 Broadway revival of "Fences," another August Wilson play. She won an Oscar in 2017 for the play's film adaptation.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FENCES")

DAVIS: (As Rose Lee Maxson) I gave 18 years of my life to stand in the same spot as you. Don't you think I ever wanted other things? Don't you think I had dreams and hopes? What about my life? What about me?

SHAPIRO: When the movie version of "Fences" came out, there were several high-profile films by and about people of color, and she spoke about that with NPR's Michel Martin.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

DAVIS: Now, people are saying, this is what I have to give to the artistic community, and I'm going to give it. I'm not going to wait for Hollywood. I'm just going to do it. And I'm going to do it because I deserve to be here.

SUMMERS: Viola Davis said at the Grammys that she wrote her memoir for her 6-year-old self. She's 57 now and the third Black woman to win an EGOT.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.