The 28th national celebration of the arts will be held in the Kennedy Center's Opera House. The presentation, which includes a host of surprise guests, will be recorded for broadcast on CBS-TV December 27 at 9 PM ET.
About this year's honorees, Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said in a recent statement, "We honor five extraordinary American artists whose unique and abundant contributions to our culture have transformed our lives. Tony Bennett is a brilliant musician and singer's singer whom even the great Frank Sinatra called the best there is; Suzanne Farrell's profound artistry has inspired the creation of masterpieces and is teaching ballet to a new generation; for half a century, the enchanting Julie Harris has been one of this country’s most acclaimed and revered actors; Robert Redford is an actor/director whose extraordinary support of independent film has had an immeasurable impact on filmmakers and audiences alike; and Tina Tuner's sizzling talent and indomitable spirit has made her one of the world’s best-loved entertainers."
Julie Harris made her stage debut in the 1945 play It's a Gift, and her expansive theatrical career brought her a record-making five Tony Awards, including Tonys for I Am a Camera, The Lark, Forty Carats, The Last of Mrs. Lincoln and The Belle of Amherst. The actress made her feature film debut in 1952's "The Member of the Wedding," earning an Oscar nomination for the role that she also created on Broadway. Television audiences know Harris from her work on the nighttime series "Knots Landing," which earned her an Emmy Award nomination. Harris nabbed the Emmy twice: in 1961 for "Victoria Regina" and in 1999 for "Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony."
The recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, according to press notes, "are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts: whether in dance, music, theatre, opera, motion pictures or television. 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."
The recipients of the 2004 Kennedy Center Honors were Warren Beatty, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Elton John, Joan Sutherland and John Williams. For more information about the Kennedy Center Honorees or the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, visit www.kennedy-center.org.