As reported in a profile published by Vanity Fair, actor Philip Michael Thomas was the first to bring the term EGOT to public attention. For those unfamiliar, Thomas portrayed Detective Sergeant Rico Tubbs on the original television series Miami Vice, which aired primarily in the mid to late ’80s. Thomas, as some may know, is not an EGOT winner, nor has he won any of the four awards necessary for quality. However, Thomas sometimes wore a necklace adorned with his four letters in public, expressing his desire to one day win all four awards. In fact, Thomas’ EGOT jewelry and discussion of it effectively introduced the term to the public and made him the inventor of the EGOT distinction.
For what it’s worth, an Atlantean account of the term EGOT references the fact that Thomas at one point changed the meaning of his necklace to include energy, growth, opportunity, and talent. The article also credits a season 4 episode of “30 Rock” in which Thomas’ trailer appears to introduce the term to many who were previously unfamiliar with it.
So while many “30 Rock” fans first heard Tracy Morgan vocalize the acronym, by the show’s own admission the term EGOT came from Thomas and his extravagant, custom-made jewelry.