On December 1 comedian, ballerina Natalia Makarova, blues guitar man , actor , and members of the rock group gathered in Washington DC for the annual Kennedy Center Honors. The annual ceremony will be aired on a tape delay later this month.
The Kennedy Center Honors are bestowed each year on artisans who have had an influence on the culture of America via the arts – music, dance, acting, etc.
Meet the 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees…
David Letterman –
Born David Michael Letterman on April 12, 1947 in Indianapolis, Indiana the only son and middle child of three; the Emmy and Peabody Award winning Letterman has been a staple of the late night television scene for 30 years and nearly 2,000 episodes of his shows.
The class clown as a child, Letterman graduated from Ball State University before working as a television announcer and weatherman in the early seventies. Later he moved on to stand up comedy and writing – including the sitcom “Good Tmes”.
It all came together for Letterman when he was the choice for sit-in host for “Tonight Show” star Johnny Carson. In 1982 Letterman got his own show – a spot he has maintained ever since; not even coronary arterial blockage and quintuple bypass surgery could slow him down.
Letterman also own a production company – Worldwide Pants – and has produced his own show along with “Everybody Loves Raymond”. He and form Idianapolis 500 winnerown the Indy Racing League racing team, Team Rahal.
Led Zeppelin -
“Stairway to Heaven” creators , , , and – better known as Led Zeppelin hail from England and are at least partly responsible for the musical genre that became known as heavy metal.
The band’s name is in reference to a lead balloon – something fellow sixties musicians believed the band would resemble when they first took the stage. The band broke up in 1980 after the death of John Bonham.
While the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members have never been awarded a Grammy Award, the rockers have sold over 300 million albums around the world. The band has amassed several multi platinum awards and five Diamond Awards for selling at least 10 million copies in the United States including their self titled fourth album which has sold 23 million copies. The English rockers have eleven platinum and multi platinum awards in their homeland; including a six time platinum award for their self titled fourth album.
Dustan Hoffman -
Dustin Lee Hoffman was bon on August 8, 1937 in Los Angeles, California. He began his acting career at 19 as a member of the Pasadena Playhouse. His big break came in 1966 when he won the lead role in “The Graduate”.
The two time Academy Award winner also earned three Drama Desk Awards for his acting in plays on and off Broadway in New York City.
Since his television debut in two episodes of “Naked City” in the early sixties, Hoffman has appeared in over 70 roles including “The Graduate”, “Midnight Cowboy”, “Little Big Man”, “Papillon”, “All the President’s Men”, “Marathon Man”, “Kramer vs. Kramer”, “Tootsie”, “Death of a Salesman”, “Rain Man”, “Family Business”, “Dick Tracy”, “The Simpsons”, “Hook”, “Outbreak”, “Sphere”, “Runaway Jury”, “Finding Neverland”, “Meet the Fockers”, the voice of Shifu in the “Kung Fu Panda” series, “Little Fockers”, and 10 episodes of the television series “Luck”,
Buddy Guy -
George Guy was born on July 30, 1936 in Lettsworth, Lousiana. The son of a sharecropping family, when he was a lad, Buddy’s home had no electricity or running water. A seven year old Buddy made his first “guitar” out of two strings, a piece of wood, and some of his mother’s hairpins. Buddy’s first “real” guitar would come years later when Buddy was a teen; that guitar now resides in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Guy’s world changed when he boarded a train for Chicago in September 1957. After meeting, he later became a session player for records where he played for Waters, Gowlin’ Wolf, , and Sonny Boy Williamson..
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member is a six time Grammy Award winner who has also earned the US National Medal of the Arts in 2003. Currently Eric Clapton’s favourite guitar man is the king of blues in Chicago where he owns his own club Legends. Over the years Guy has been an influence and inspiration to rock greats Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Ballerina Natalia Makarova was born November 21, 1940 in what was known as Leningrad in the former Soviet Union – now St. Petersburg, Russia.
Makarova made her first public appearance when she was eleven years old. In 1959 she joined the Kirov Ballet but in 1970 when the Kirov was in London, Makarova defected to the west and soon thereafter became a member of the American Ballet Theatre.
Throughout her career Makarova has earned the Gold Medal in the International Ballet Competition; was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award; won a Tony Award; has worked with George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Maurice Beiart; and appeared in “Giselle”, “Swan Lake”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Hamlet”, “Apollo”, “Jardin aux Lilas”, “Dark Elegies”, “Pillar of Fire”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “La Bayadere”, “Manon”, “Checkmate”, and”Les Biches’.
In 1969 she was named an honoured artist of the Russian Federation and later became the first exiled artist to be invited back to her homeland to dance.
In 1993 Makarova appeared as Natasha Romanoff in two episodes of the daytime drama “One Life to Live”.