This year's Kennedy Center Honors will recognize artists from a wide swath of American culture, including soft rockers Eagles, singer-songwriter Carole King and Star Wars creator George Lucas. Actress and singer Rita Moreno, classical conductor Seiji Ozawa and actress Cicely Tyson will all also receive awards. The Honors recognize people whose "impact and genius" have left indelible marks on civilization, Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein explained in a statement.
The gala ceremony will be held in the recipients' honor on December 6th at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and will be broadcast on CBS at 9 p.m. EST on December 29th. As with previous years, each of the honorees will be saluted by performers whom they have influenced. President Obama and the first lady are expected to be in attendance.
"We are deeply grateful to have been named a Kennedy Center honoree," the Eagles said in a collective statement. The band's Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh will be honored. "The members of the Eagles hail from different regions of this great nation, and we feel very fortunate that our music has been embraced by people from all walks of life, all over the world. Popular music is one of America's greatest exports – a bridge that spans geographical and cultural boundaries. We are truly humbled to have been able to be a part of this global connection."
"How amazing to be named a Kennedy Center honoree among such esteemed company," King said. "I'm humbled and grateful to accept. I've been very lucky to able to do the work I love for so many years. And it's even more rewarding to know that what I do has touched the lives of so many people."
"As one of our nation's premier cultural organizations, the Kennedy Center has long recognized the value of creativity and championed the performing arts in all its diverse forms," Lucas said. "As a filmmaker, I am a storyteller at heart. Traditions of old have grown to encompass imaginative and innovative contemporary forms of expression – the Kennedy Center Honors values the continuation of both."
Secretary of State John Kerry will present the Kennedy Center Honors medallions to the recipients the night before the gala at a State Department dinner.
Last year, Sting, Al Green and Tom Hanks were all named as Kennedy Center Honors recipients. Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars performed Sting's songs at the event, while Usher, Jennifer Hudson and Mavis Staples all paid tribute to Green.