Shirley MacLaine and Billy Joel were among a select group of artists celebrated by President Obama at the Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday night, and MacLaine, for one, said the award couldn’t come soon enough.
“It’s about time,” she said.
The prestigious award is given to the country’s best actors and musicians, and President Obama was on hand to toast this year’s group, which also included singer Santana, opera star Martina Arroyo, and musician Herbie Hancock.
“The diverse group of extraordinary individuals we honour today haven’t just proven themselves to be the best of the best,” Obama said. “Despite all their success, all their fame, they’ve remained true to themselves – and inspired the rest of us to do the same.”
Musicians Snoop Dogg and Garth Brooks took the stage to pay tribute to Herbie Hancock and Billy Joel, and the show ended with a version of “Piano Man” which had the audience singing along. As for MacLaine, she was the only actor to be celebrated this year and said the award was so special because it paid tribute to her entire career, rather than just one film or show.
“I thought it was terrific. I thought it was about time. I thought it was a tribute what I’ve done, but also it’s a welcome home. It’s more about my life and my past and my background and my home and my parents and dancing and work ethic,” she said. “This is squaring the circle of living here.”