Pianist Leon Fleisher, actor and writer Steve Martin, singer Diana Ross, film director Martin Scorsese, and songwriter Brian Wilson will receive honors for the year 2007, on The 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, to be broadcast Wednesday, Dec. 26 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. This marks the 30th anniversary of the special, which has been broadcast on CBS each year since its debut.
In a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, the 2007 Honorees will be saluted by great performers from Hollywood and the arts capitals of the world. Seated with President and Mrs. Bush, the Honorees will accept the thanks of their peers and fans through performances and heartfelt tributes.
"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," said Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman. "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."
The President and Mrs. Bush will receive the Honorees and members of the Artists Committee, who nominate them, along with the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees at the White House prior to the gala performance taping on Dec. 2. The 2007 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concludes with a dinner dance in the Grand Foyer. The Kennedy Center Honors will be bestowed the night before the gala at a State Department dinner, hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts - whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television - and are selected by the Kennedy Center's Board of Trustees. Members of the Kennedy Center's national artists committee as well as past Honorees made recommendations. 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.
Michael M. Kaiser, President of the Center, expressed the national cultural center's gratitude to the many individuals involved in the success of the Honors program. "In addition to recognizing our most treasured artists, the Kennedy Center Honors also supports many of our performing arts initiatives, education and public service programming, and national outreach efforts."
George Stevens Jr., who created the Honors in 1978 with Nick Vanoff, will produce and co-write the show for the 30th consecutive year. The Honors telecast has been honored with five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Program, and it is a nominee again this year. It has also been recognized with the Peabody Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television and seven awards from the Writers Guild of America.