Kennedy Center Honors

Kennedy Center Honors

The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to artists in the performing arts. The Honors ceremony is one of the highlights in the cultural life of the United States. The Honors was the brainchild of George Stevens, Jr. (who remains involved), and he and his partner, the late Nick Vanoff, put together the first event in 1978. Since then, the Honors have been presented annually in Washington, D.C., during gala weekend-long events which culminate in a performance for—and honoring—the Honorees at the Kennedy Center Opera House. [ Kennedy Official site "about" page] ]

election process

Each year the Kennedy Center's national artists committee and past honorees (such as Carol Burnett and Bill Cosby) present recommendations for proposed Honorees to the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Honors recognize a lifetime of contributions to American culture through the performing arts, whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television. [ [ Kennedy Official site homepage] ] On seven occasions the five-person list has been expanded where a creative or artistic team or couple was selected, as was the case in two instances in 1991, where both the Nicholas Brothers and Comden and Green were jointly honored, bringing that year's list to seven.To date, including 2007's honorees, only 69 Kennedy Center Honorees are still living.

The announcement is made in the Fall, with the ceremony held over a weekend in early December. The gala performance is broadcast on television between Christmas and the New Year. The 2007 honorees were announced on September 11, 2007, [ [ "Variety" article, September 11, 2007] ] and the event was aired on December 26 2007 by CBS.

The 2008 honorees were announced on September 9, 2008, and the ceremony is scheduled to be held December 7, 2008. [Bacalzo, Dan. [ "Daltrey, Freeman, Jones, Streisand, Tharp, Townshend to Receive Kennedy Center Honors",], September 9, 2008]

The ceremony

The weekend-long ceremony consists of lunch, dinner, reception, and a performance introducing and honoring the new Honorees. The lunch is on Saturday at the Kennedy Center, with a welcoming speech by the President of the Board of Trustees. At that evening's reception and dinner at the State Department, presided over by the Secretary of State, the year's Honorees are introduced. On Sunday, there is an early evening White House reception with the President of the United States, who will then hang a specially designed ribboned award around their necks. [ [ "New York Times" article, December 4, 2006] ]

The performance takes place Sunday evening at the Opera House in the Kennedy Center; the Honorees (wearing their medals) and guests sit in the front of the Box Tier, a few seats away from the President and the First Family. The Honorees do not appear on stage nor do they speak to the general audience. The show consists of events from the recipients' lives, presented documentary style in film and live onstage, with the complete list of guest performers kept secret until the show is in progress. George Stevens, Jr. said: "Our tradition of surprises and surprise guests is particularly special..." For example, for Dolly Parton, a 2006 Honoree, Jessica Simpson, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Rogers, Alison Krauss and Shania Twain performed. ["The Houston Chronicle", Amy Argetsinger, Roxanne Roberts, "Washington Post", p. 7, December 6, 2006]

The 2007 ceremony and honors presentation was held December 1 and 2, 2007 during a gala weekend in Washington. The two-hour event was televised December 26, 2007 on CBS. ["The Washington Post", Natasha Metzler, "The Associated Press", December 2, 2007]

Recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors Awards

There have been 157 recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors Awards: [ [ Kennedy Center Official site history page] ]

*1978 — Marian Anderson, Fred Astaire, George Balanchine, Richard Rodgers, and Arthur Rubinstein
*1979 — Aaron Copland, Ella Fitzgerald, Henry Fonda, Martha Graham, and Tennessee Williams
*1980 — Leonard Bernstein, James Cagney, Agnes de Mille, Lynn Fontanne, and Leontyne Price
*1981 — Count Basie, Cary Grant, Helen Hayes, Jerome Robbins, and Rudolf Serkin
*1982 — George Abbott, Lillian Gish, Benny Goodman, Gene Kelly, and Eugene Ormandy
*1983 — Katherine Dunham, Elia Kazan, Frank Sinatra, James Stewart, and Virgil Thomson
*1984 — Lena Horne, Danny Kaye, Gian Carlo Menotti, Arthur Miller, and Isaac Stern
*1985 — Merce Cunningham, Irene Dunne, Bob Hope, Lerner and Loewe, and Beverly Sills
*1986 — Lucille Ball, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, Yehudi Menuhin, Antony Tudor, and Ray Charles
*1987 — Perry Como, Bette Davis, Sammy Davis Jr, Nathan Milstein, and Alwin Nikolais
*1988 — Alvin Ailey, George Burns, Myrna Loy, Alexander Schneider, and Roger L. Stevens
*1989 — Harry Belafonte, Claudette Colbert, Alexandra Danilova, Mary Martin, and William Schuman
*1990 — Dizzy Gillespie, Katharine Hepburn, Risë Stevens, Jule Styne, and Billy Wilder
*1991 — Roy Acuff, Comden and Green, Fayard and Harold Nicholas, Gregory Peck, and Robert Shaw
*1992 — Lionel Hampton, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Ginger Rogers, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Paul Taylor
*1993 — Johnny Carson, Arthur Mitchell, Sir Georg Solti, Stephen Sondheim, and Marion Williams
*1994 — Kirk Douglas, Aretha Franklin, Morton Gould, Harold Prince, and Pete Seeger
*1995 — Jacques d'Amboise, Marilyn Horne, B.B. King, Sidney Poitier, and Neil Simon
*1996 — Edward Albee, Benny Carter, Johnny Cash, Jack Lemmon, and Maria Tallchief
*1997 — Lauren Bacall, Bob Dylan, Charlton Heston, Jessye Norman, and Edward Villella
*1998 — Bill Cosby, Fred Ebb & John Kander, Willie Nelson, André Previn, and Shirley Temple Black
*1999 — Victor Borge, Sean Connery, Judith Jamison, Jason Robards, and Stevie Wonder
*2000 — Mikhail Baryshnikov, Chuck Berry, Plácido Domingo, Clint Eastwood, and Angela Lansbury
*2001 — Julie Andrews, Van Cliburn, Quincy Jones, Jack Nicholson, and Luciano Pavarotti
*2002 — James Earl Jones, James Levine, Chita Rivera, Paul Simon, and Elizabeth Taylor
*2003 — James Brown, Carol Burnett, Loretta Lynn, Mike Nichols, and Itzhak Perlman
*2004 — Warren Beatty, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Elton John, Joan Sutherland, and John Williams
*2005 — Tony Bennett, Suzanne Farrell, Julie Harris, Robert Redford, and Tina Turner
*2006 — Zubin Mehta, Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson, Steven Spielberg, and Andrew Lloyd Webber
*2007 — Leon Fleisher, Steve Martin, Diana Ross, Martin Scorsese, and Brian Wilson
*2008 — Morgan Freeman, George Jones, Barbra Streisand, Twyla Tharp, and Pete Townshend & Roger Daltrey

ee also

* American Film Institute Life Achievement Award


External links

* [ The Kennedy Center Honors]

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