10 Surprising Grammy Winners
It's almost inevitable: Taylor Swift will win another Grammy (or five) this Sunday. But that's no surprise. What is surprising is when artists we don't associate with the music industry take home a coveted gramophone trophy. They're typically winners of the Spoken Word Album category; this year's nominees include Amy Poehler, Janis Ian, Patti Smith, Jimmy Carter, and Dick Cavett. Whoever wins, he or she will be in good company—namely, these 10 surprising winners.
1. KATE WINSLET
Though you’re more likely to find Kate Winslet on the Oscar scene, she nabbed a Grammy in 1999 for recording a spoken word album for children called “Listen to the Storyteller.” Graham Greene and Wynton Marsalis were also winners for the same project. That makes Winslet a Tony away from being an EGOT winner—and she’s well aware of it.
2., 3. AND 4. MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, SOPHIA LOREN, AND BILL CLINTON
This unlikely trio also scored Grammy Awards due to a children’s spoken word album. Their version of Peter and the Wolf, with Loren narrating, Clinton doing the wolf parts, and Gorbachev reading interludes in Russian, was a winner in 2003.
5. JON STEWART
Jon Stewart is a man of many talents, and his hilarious reads of both The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents America: A Citizen's Guide To Democracy Inaction and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Audiobook) earned him Grammy Awards in 2004 and 2010, respectively.
6. BETTY WHITE
Is there anything Betty White can’t do? (Answer: no.) Everyone’s favorite St. Olafian won a Grammy in 2011 for her spoken word album of her book If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t).
7. HILLARY CLINTON
Though she won in 1996 for the spoken word version of her book It Takes A Village, if Hillary becomes president, she’s still just small potatoes in the POTUS Grammy department: Her husband has two under his belt, and so does President Obama.
8. JIMMY CARTER
Another member of the Presidential Grammy Club, Jimmy Carter scored his Grammy in 2006 for Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis. But just being a former leader of the free world doesn’t guarantee one a Grammy: Carter has been nominated seven times.
9. MAGIC JOHNSON
There are plenty of politicians with Grammy Awards, but only one basketball player. After Magic Johnson's HIV diagnosis in 1991, the NBA legend co-wrote What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS. His Grammy was the result of the spoken version.
10. ZACH BRAFF
Though he's probably best known for his role on Scrubs, Braff won a Grammy for compiling the Garden State soundtrack in 2004. (He also wrote and directed the movie, of course.)