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2012 Kennedy Center Honorees Announced

  • VOA News

This undated handout photo provided by the Kennedy Center shows members of Led Zeppelin, from left, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page.
Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman, television comedian David Letterman and Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy are among seven people who will receive this year's Kennedy Center Honors.

The three, along with Russian-born ballerina Natalia Makarova and three members of the British rock group Led Zeppelin - keyboardist and bassist John Paul Jones, guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant - will be honored by Washington's John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for their contributions to American culture through the arts.

The honorees will be saluted at an all-star gala at the Kennedy Center on December 2, which will be broadcast on national television later that month. The seven will be treated to a lavish dinner at the U.S. State Department hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, followed by a reception at the White House hosted by President Barack Obama.

Hoffman won Oscars for his roles in Kramer vs. Kramer and Rain Man, and has appeared in other Hollywood classics as All the President's Men, The Graduate and Tootsie. Letterman, the host of a long-running late night talk show, was cited by the Kennedy Center as "one of the most influential personalities" in the history of the medium.

Buddy Guy, 76, was hailed by the center for being "a tremendous influence" on guitarists for the last half-century. Makarova, who left her native Russia in 1970 and debuted with the legendary American Ballet Theater that same year, "ignited the stages of the world's greatest ballet companies" during her career.

And the Kennedy Center says Jones, Page and Plant "transformed the sound of rock-and-roll with their lyricism and innovative song structures."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.