14 classic television stars who earned Grammy awards and nominations
Kirk, Spock, Andy, Mork and Kookie have all been recognized by the Grammys.
It took real talent to get on the television back in the day. There were no random reality stars. Heck, there were about one one-hundreth of the roles to go around, compared to all the shows today. The cream rose to the top.
Need more evidence? Just look at all the classic TV stars who had successful careers in music. Some actors sang their own theme songs. Some were one-hit wonders. Some recorded novelty songs. And, a rare few took home the ultimate prize in pop music — a Grammy Award.
Below you'll find many familiar faces from classic TV who also earned Grammy trophies and nominations. A few might surprise you.
1. Bob Newhart
The wry comic master holds a certain distinction, as he is the only performer on this list to take home the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. He earned the honor in 1961 with his stand-up recording The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, the first comedy album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts, and still the only comedy platter to be named Album of the Year.
2. Andy Griffith
The adored Mayberry man had a quietly successful recording career. His began to earn recognition in 1959, when his "Hamlet" was nominated for Best Comedy Performance. In 1996, he finally won, for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album, thanks to his I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns. Two years later, he earned another nomination in the same category for his follow-up, Just As I Am.
3. Robin Williams
Who could have fathomed that a quirky young guest star on Happy Days would go on to become such a legend? Well, anyone who was on set that day. Robin Williams exploded to stardom the moment he slipped on Mork's red spacesuit. He won Grammys for Best Comedy Album in 1980, 1988, 1989 and 2003, for his records Reality...What a Concept (1980), A Night at the Met (1988), Good Morning, Vietnam (1989) and Robin Williams Live - 2002. To boot, he was nominated for Best New Artist in 1980. He lost to Rickie Lee Jones.
4. Betty White
The cherish American treasure took home the award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2012, thanks to her reading of her memoir, If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't).
5. Doris Day
Day was known as a woman of song years before she headlined her own The Doris Day Show. In 1958, at the 1st Annual Grammy Awards, she was nominated for Best Vocal Performance, Female, thanks to her single "Everybody Loves a Lover." Two years later, Sound of Music delivered another nom. At last, in 2008, the Grammys gave her a Lifetime Achievement Award.
6. Lily Tomlin
Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In star Tomlin took home the Best Comedy Recording trophy in 1972 for This Is A Recording, which featured her telephone operator Ernestine, a character featured in several skits on the show.
7. Della Reese
Long before she was the boss angel on Touched by an Angel, Della Reese was a gospel powerhouse. (She was also the first black woman to host a talk show on television.) In 1960, she earned a nomination for Best Vocal Performance Album, Female, for her LP Della. Years later, in '87 and '98, she got a couple nominations in the Soul Gospel category.
8. Clint Eastwood
The tough-as-leather Rawhide star certainly has an artistic side. His directorial skills are well known. But he also was nominated for a Grammy in Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media in 2006, after composing his stirring soundtrack to Million Dollar Baby.
9. William Shatner
Someone on the Grammy panel is clearly a Trekkie. Shatner, whose musical career is amusing, certainly, earned a nomination in Best Spoken Word Recording in 1976, for his dramatic (is there any other kind, when you're talking about Shatner?) reading of Isaac Asimov: Foundation - The Psychohistorians.
10. Leonard Nimoy
Yep, Spock, too. In fact, Nimoy has two up on Shatner. He had three nominations to his credit. Two came in the same year! In 1988, he was up for Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording for both Whales Alive and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In 1995, he got another nom in the same category for the audiobook of his autobiography, I Am Spock.
11. Lisa Whelchel
The biggest (or at least blondest) young star of The Facts of Life got into the music game, too. The spiritual actress struck a chord with the Christian music community. Her praise-pop earned a nomination for Best Inspirational Performance in the 27th Annual Grammy Awards. She lost to Donna Summer, but hung around on Billboard's Christian chart for weeks.
12. Edd Byrnes
The hip young co-star of 77 Sunset Strip coined a lot of catchphrases and popularized teen slang. He also earned a nomination for Best New Artist in 1959. He lost to Bobby Darin.
13. The Partridge Family
Speaking of Best New Artist of the Year nominees, the Partridge Family earned the honor in 1970.
14. Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers & Rob Reiner
The entire cast of All in the Family was up for Best Comedy Recording in 1973, due to their tie-in album All in the Family. Of course, it featured the warbling theme song, "Those Were the Days," alongside tracks like "A Station Wagon Filled With Nuns" and "Bacon Souffle & Women's Lib."