Grammy-winning artist isn't the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Bill Clinton. He and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, are just two of many unlikely celebrities who have won Grammys. Others who could join the Grammy winner's circle include Sean Penn and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who were each nominated this year for best spoken word album.
If they speak, they could be nominated. Spoken-word albums are most likely to produce an eclectic group of celebrity Grammy winners. Bill Clinton has two spoken-word Grammys; Hillary has one. Bill and Hillary were even nominated in the same year, although in different categories. Bill's most recent Grammy is for the 2004 spoken-word album of his memoir, 'My Life,' and he shares his other Grammy (the 2003 award for best spoken word album for children) with Sophia Loren and former Soviet Union chief Mikhail Gorbachev. Hillary won a Grammy for 1996's 'It Takes a Village.' She received a best spoken-word album nomination for her 2003 autobiography, 'Living History,' but lost to comedian/political commentator Al Franken.
Other spoken-word Grammy winners include Kate Winslet, Magic Johnson, Christopher Reeve, Ben Kingsley, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sidney Poitier, Dudley Moore, Jesse Jackson, Richard Harris, Henry Fonda, George Burns and Orson Welles. Celebs who were nominated for spoken-word Grammys but didn't win include Ruth Westheimer (also known as sex expert Dr. Ruth) and Michael J. Fox. Also getting Grammy nods this year (for best spoken word album for children) are Ray Romano and Marlo Thomas.
Several comic icons have won Grammys. Bill Cosby is the comedian with the most Grammys: eight for comedy, and one for a children's category. Others who've gotten Grammys in the comedy field include Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Chris Rock, Robin Williams, John Stewart, Lily Tomlin, Weird Al Yankovic, Steve Martin and Mel Brooks. And if people ever think the Grammys are too stuffy, consider that the late raunchy comic Sam Kinison even won a Grammy for his 1994 album, 'Live From Hell.' This year's nominees include Rock, Larry the Cable Guy and, yes, even Rick Moranis.
And what about other unlikely Grammy awards or nominations? This year, critically acclaimed artists Aimee Mann and Ani DiFranco each received nominations not for their music, but for their album artwork: each is up for the best recording package award. Mann and DiFranco, who release their current music on their own independent labels, served as art directors on their respective albums that were nominated for Grammys this year.
The lines between fiction and reality can become blurred when it comes to the Grammys. Christopher Guest and Michael McKean, also known as Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins, won the 2003 Grammy for writing the title track to their folk-music mockumentary film, 'A Mighty Wind.' They shared the Grammy with Eugene Levy, who also played a folk singer in 'A Mighty Wind.' Meanwhile, Kevin Spacey, who did his own singing when portraying Bobby Darin in the biopic 'Beyond the Sea,' is nominated this year for the film's soundtrack. And Clint Eastwood, who won multiple Oscars for 'Million Dollar Baby," is nominated for a Grammy for composing the film's music.
The soundtrack to the Johnny Cash biopic 'Walk the Line' was released after the Grammys' Sep. 30 cutoff date. But don't be surprised if next year Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon are nominated for a Grammy, since they did their own singing when they portrayed Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, in the film and on the soundtrack.