Comedian Bill Cosby, singer Willie Nelson, conductor Andre Previn, film star-ambassador Shirley Temple Black, and the Broadway songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb have been selected to receive this year's Kennedy Center Honors.
The artists, tapped by the Kennedy Center with help from a 132-member committee of their peers, will be recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts. As usual, they will be lauded in December at a White House ceremony, a State Department dinner, and a gala performance at the Kennedy Center.
Since they were created in 1978, the honors have become a Washington institution and a lucrative fundraiser for the center. The two-hour variety show will again air on CBS during Christmas week.
This year's recipients have higher than usual marquee value. Cosby, a writer, producer and show creator, has been a primetime TV staple since I Spy in the 1960s, when he became the first black lead in a dramatic series.
|Ann Reinking and Bebe Neuwirth take a bow in revival of "Chicago" (AP)|
|Andre Previn (AP)|
|Willie Nelson (AP)|
|hirley Temple Black (AP)|