The Kennedy Center Honors provides recognition to living individuals who have made significant contributions to American culture through the performing arts in their lifetime. The 2014 Honorees are: US Actor and Director Tom Hanks, US singer Al Green, US ballerina Patricia McBride, US comedian Lily Tomlin and British singer-songwriter Sting.
“The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world,” stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “Al Green’s iconic voice stirs our souls in a style that is all his own; Tom Hanks has a versatility that ranks him among the greatest actors of any generation; one of the world’s greatest ballerinas, Patricia McBride continues to carry forward her legacy for future generations; Sting’s unique voice and memorable songwriting have entertained audiences for decades; and from the days of her early television and theatrical appearances, Lily Tomlin has made us laugh and continues to amaze us with her acting talent and quick wit.”, as reported on their website.
President and Mrs. Obama received the Honorees at the White House before a Gala performance hosted by Stephen Colbert was held in their honor. The First Lady, Michelle Obama was looking stunning in a pale pink gown with sequin details by California-based designer Monique Lhuillier, while the President was looking as sharp as ever in a black tuxedo at the White House reception for the Kennedy Center honorees.
Filmmaker George Stevens Jr., who created the Kennedy Center Honors and produces the show each year, said Hanks, 58, stands apart as “one of the great actors of his generation or any generation.” Hanks is remembered for his powerful characters in films such as “Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump,” “Apollo 13,” and 2013’s “Captain Phillips.”, according to a report from NY Daily News.
Sting, 63, told The Associated Press he was bewildered by the honor. “You know, for an Englishman to receive this reward, it’s not unique, but it’s rare, and I take that pretty seriously,” he said. “To come to this country in 1978 with no prospects at all and then to end up here with the secretary of state, it’s quite a journey. So I don’t take it for granted.”
Photo Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters, Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP, Ron Sachs/POOL/EPA