Kennedy Center names honorees

Beatty, Davis, Dee, John, Sutherland, Williams feted

WASHINGTON — Six titans of the performing arts have been selected to receive this year’s Kennedy Center Honors.

Warren Beatty, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Elton John, Joan Sutherland and John Williams will receive the honor in December, the 27th year of the event.

Kennedy Center chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said the arts facility chose to honor not the usual five but six individuals “whose unique and abundant artistry has contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world.” He praised the diverse talents of a Hollywood actor-writer-producer-director, a “greatly revered” stage and screen couple, a pop music icon who also composes “stunning musical film and theater scores,” an “operatic superstar of unsurpassed artistic achievement” and one of the “most influential American composers of the past four decades.”

As usual, the artists will be celebrated here during a crowded weekend of pomp and festivities Dec. 4-5. The honors will be presented at a State Dept. dinner hosted by Secretary of State Colin Powell, followed the next evening by the Kennedy Center’s gala, which will be taped for later broadcast by CBS.

The show once again will be written and produced by George Stevens Jr., who created the honors in 1978 with Nick Vanoff. The event is the top fundraiser for the center, with proceeds earmarked for artistic, educational and outreach programs.

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