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Kennedy Fete Reaches For Stars

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)
Kander and Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman) rank among Broadway's most successful and enduring creative teams. The Broadway revival of Chicago is one of the hottest tickets in town, and it's pretty near impossible to get a seat at the current production of Cabaret.

Andre Previn (AP)
Previn, a composer, conductor, and pianist, has been a force in American music for more than 40 years and has recently finished an opera based on Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, which will premiere in San Francisco in September.
Willie Nelson (AP)
Nelson has helped define contemporary music for half a century, with such songs as Crazy, made popular by Patsy Cline, and On the Road Again and Momma Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.
hirley Temple Black (AP)
Temple Black was a beloved child star in Hollywood's golden era and went on to perform as a young adult in film, then TV, and later became a U.S. diplomat.
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