The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced the recipients of the annual Kennedy Center Honors, and this year’s list is headlined by veteran CBS talk show host David Letterman, multiple Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman and the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin, Deadline.com reports.
Also being honored are longtime bluesman Buddy Guy and ballerina Natalia Marakova.
Hoffman won Oscars for “Kramer vs. Kramer” in 1980 and “Rain Man” in 1989 and has been nominated a total of seven times — all for leading roles. Letterman is also a heavyweight on the awards scene, including winning five Primetime Emmys — along with a pair of Daytime Emmys for his original talk show, back in 1981.
Led Zeppelin has its own awards to brag about — including being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 — but the band made its mark by pretty much defining hard rock at the end of the 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Grammy Hall of Fame songs “Stairway to Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love” are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the band’s impressive body of work.
Longtime Led Zeppelin band members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones will receive their own Kennedy Center medallions along with the honors for the band as a whole.
Deadline reports: “The night before the gala, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will host a State Department dinner for the seven individuals, who then sit with President Obama and first lady Michelle during the December 4th ceremony. The President and Mrs. Obama will receive the honorees and members of the Artists Committee who nominate them, along with the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, at the White House prior to the gala.”
Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement: “With their extraordinary talent, creativity and tenacity, the seven 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees have contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world. Buddy Guy is a titan of the blues and has been a tremendous influence on virtually everyone who has picked up an electric guitar in the last half century; Dustin Hoffman’s unyielding commitment to the wide variety of roles he plays has made him one of the most versatile and iconoclastic actors of this or any other generation; David Letterman is one of the most influential personalities in the history of television, entertaining an entire generation of late-night viewers with his unconventional wit and charm; Natalia Makarova’s profound artistry has ignited the stages of the world’s greatest ballet companies and continues to pass the torch to the next generation of dancers; and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant transformed the sound of rock and roll with their lyricism and innovative song structures, infusing blues into the sound of rock and roll and laying the foundation for countless rock bands.”
CBS will continue its longtime involvement with the honors, broadcasting the ceremony as a two-hour prime-time special Dec. 26.