Bono and The Edge, who penned the score for Julie Taymor's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, will be among those receiving the 45th Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements later this year in Washington, D.C. The two artists will be recognized as part of the Irish rock band U2, which also includes honorees Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.
This year's recipients also include Grammy-winning soul, gospel, R&B, and pop icon Gladys Knight, who performed in concert at Broadway's Gershwin Theatre in summer 1984 in Gladys Knight & the Pips & Kashif; actor and filmmaker George Clooney; contemporary Christian and pop singer-songwriter Amy Grant; and Cuban-born American composer, conductor, and educator Tania León.
The 45th class of Kennedy Center Honorees will be saluted on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage December 4 by leading performers from New York, Hollywood, and the arts capitals of the world. The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on CBS on a date to be announced and will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement, "Whether saving humanity, masterminding a heist, or captaining a ship in dangerous seas, actor George Clooney’s unique brand of earnest charisma and his complete embodiment of a character has led us to root for him every time; multi-platinum singer-songwriter Amy Grant became the first artist to bring contemporary Christian music to the forefront of American culture, then equally thrived after crossing over into mainstream pop with hit after hit, and today is revered as the 'Queen of Christian Pop'; in her 55-year music career, legendary singer and America’s beloved 'Empress of Soul' Gladys Knight went from the Pips of Georgia to Grammy royalty, showcasing a boundless vocal range and soulfulness that has stood the test of time; a brave, young Cuban refugee turned Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and music ambassador, Tania León has blessed America for more than five decades with her astoundingly original compositions and continues to be a major influence on classical music; and one of most influential rock bands of the modern rock era, U2, won over America and the world long ago with their iconic anthems, potent lyrics, and powerful messages of social justice and global citizenship—earning a musical legacy that crosses generations, inspires, and unites.”
The recipients are recognized for their contributions to American culture through the performing arts—whether in music, dance, theatre, opera, motion pictures, or television—and are confirmed by the Executive Committee of the Center’s Board of Trustees.
This year’s honorees were chosen based on the recommendation of the Kennedy Center’s Special Honors Advisory Committee, chaired by David Bohnett and includes past Honors recipients and artists Julie Andrews, Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Judith Jamison, Lionel Richie, and John Williams as well as David M. Rubenstein, Deborah F. Rutter, Bryan Lourd, Cappy McGarr, Shonda Rhimes, and Daryl Roth.
Last year's honorees included stage and screen star Bette Midler, operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz; Motown founder, songwriter, producer, and director Berry Gordy; Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels; and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.
Done+Dusted, the production company and producers of the Center’s Mark Twain Prize since 2018, will executive produce the 45th annual Kennedy Center Honors.