Maybe David Letterman will talk about it when President Obama appears on The Late Show September 18th. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the recipients this morning. Letterman joins actor Dustin Hoffman, the rock band Led Zeppelin, blues great Buddy Guy, and ballerina Natalia Marakova as the 2012 Annual Kennedy Center Honorees. While Led Zeppelin is being honored as a band, keyboardist/bassist John Paul Jones, guitarist Jimmy Page, and singer Robert Plant will each receive a medallion. The night before the gala, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will host a State Department dinner for the seven individuals who then sit with President Obama and First Lady Michelle during the December 4th ceremony. The President and Mrs Obama 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.
For the 35th year, the honors will be broadcast by CBS as a two-hour primetime special on December 26th. George Stevens Jr, who co-created the honors in 1978, returns to produce and co-write. He was just tapped to receive an Honorary Oscar this year.
“With their extraordinary talent, creativity and tenacity, the seven 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees have contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.
“Buddy Guy is a titan of the blues and has been a tremendous influence on virtually everyone who has picked up an electric guitar in the last half century; Dustin Hoffman’s unyielding commitment to the wide variety of roles he plays has made him one of the most versatile and iconoclastic actors of this or any other generation; David Letterman is one of the most influential personalities in the history of television, entertaining an entire generation of late-night viewers with his unconventional wit and charm; Natalia Makarova’s profound artistry has ignited the stages of the world’s greatest ballet companies and continues to pass the torch to the next generation of dancers; and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant transformed the sound of rock and roll with their lyricism and innovative song structures, infusing blues into the sound of rock and roll and laying the foundation for countless rock bands.”