Joining Martin for the 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors will be pianist Leon Fleisher, singer Diana Ross, film director Martin Scorsese and songwriter Brian Wilson. The 2007 Honorees will be saluted in a gala performance at the Kennedy Center's Opera House Dec. 2.
President and Mrs. Bush will receive the Honorees at the White House prior to the performance. The evening — which will be filmed for TV broadcast — will air on CBS-TV Dec. 26 at 9 PM ET. (The Kennedy Center Honors will be bestowed the night before the gala on Dec. 1 at a State Department dinner, hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.)
In a statement Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said, "With their extraordinary talent, creativity, and perseverance, the five 2007 Honorees have transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear and feel the performing arts. We will forever be thankful for the great gift they have shared with us. Leon Fleisher is a consummate musician whose career is a moving testament to the life-affirming power of art; Steve Martin is a Renaissance comic whose talents wipe out the boundaries between artistic disciplines; Diana Ross’s singular, instantly recognizable voice has spread romance and joy throughout the world; Martin Scorsese is a visionary filmmaker and a fearless artist; and Brian Wilson led not only a spectacularly popular rock group but also an era-defining transformation of the sound of music."
Members of the Kennedy Center's national artists committee, as well as past Honorees, made recommendations of possible Honorees. Among the artists making recommendations were Emanuel Ax, Dan Aykroyd, Jon Robin Baitz, Dave Brubeck, Kenny Chesney, Francis Ford Coppola, Melissa Etheridge, Laurence Fishburne, Renee Fleming, Anjelica Huston, India.Arie, Evgeny Kissin, Rob Marshall, Peter Martins, Terrence McNally, Helen Mirren, Anna Netrebko, Christopher Plummer, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Previous Kennedy Center Honorees Edward Albee, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, Sean Connery, Bill Cosby, Kirk Douglas, Elton John, Mike Nichols, Smokey Robinson and Steven Spielberg also made nominations.
Last year's honorees included composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, conductor Zubin Mehta, country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton, singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson and film director Steven Spielberg. Steve Martin wrote and starred in such films as "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Man with Two Brains," "Roxanne," "L.A. Story" and "Bowfinger." His plays include Picasso at the Lapin Agile and The Underpants, and he also published the novellas "Shopgirl" and "The Pleasure of My Company." Martin was also one of the producers of the 2002 Broadway revival of The Elephant Man.
For more information about the Kennedy Center Honorees or the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, visit www.kennedy-center.org.