Comedienne Lily Tomlin, who has appeared in such wide-ranging TV series as The West Wing, Damages, and Desperate Housewives, is set to receive this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, one of the top cultural prizes in the United States.
She is joined by actor Tom Hanks, British rock star Sting, singer Al Green, and ballet dancer Patricia McBride as this year’s honorees in recognition of their lifetime contributions to U.S. culture through the performing arts.
“The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world,” said the Kennedy Center in a statement. “Al Green's iconic voice stirs our souls in a style that is all his own; Tom Hanks has a versatility that ranks him among the greatest actors of any generation.”
Of Tomlin, the Kennedy Center said, she “has made us laugh and continues to amaze us with her acting talent and quick wit.” Sting was hailed for his “unique voice and memorable songwriting” during a career that included hits such as “Every Breath You Take.”
Patricia McBride spent almost 30 years with New York City Ballet and has worked with some acclaimed choreographers.
The five honorees will be celebrated at a gala on December 7 in Washington, with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in attendance.
Previous honorees include Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, among others.
The Kennedy Center notes of the process to determine the honorees: “The Honors recipients recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts—whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television—are selected by the Executive Committee of the Center's Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; the selection process, over the years, has produced balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.”