Kennedy Center Honorees

Kennedy Center honorees

  • Aaron Copland Aaron Copland
    Aaron Copland was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later a conductor of his own and other American music. Copland was referred to by his peers and critics as "the Dean of American Composers."
  • Adolph Green Adolph Green
    Adolph Green was an American lyricist and playwright who, with long-time collaborator Betty Comden, penned the screenplays and songs for some of the most beloved movie musicals, particularly as part of Arthur Freed's production unit at Metro Goldwyn Mayer, during the genre's heyday.
  • Agnes de Mille Agnes de Mille
    Agnes George de Mille was an American dancer and choreographer.
  • Alan Jay Lerner Alan Jay Lerner
    Alan Jay Lerner was an American lyricist and librettist. In collaboration with Frederick Loewe, and later Burton Lane, he created some of the world's most popular and enduring works of musical theatre for both the stage and on film.
  • Alexander Schneider Alexander Schneider
    Alexander Schneider was a violinist, conductor, and educator. Born to a Lithuanian Jewish family in Vilnius, Lithuania, he later moved to the United States as a member of the Budapest String Quartet.
  • Alexandra Danilova Alexandra Danilova
    Aleksandra Dionisyevna Danilova was a Russian-born prima ballerina, who became an American citizen. In 1989, she was recognized for lifetime achievements in ballet as a Kennedy Center Honoree.
  • Al Green Al Green
    Albert Leornes Greene, often known as The Reverend Al Green, is an American singer, songwriter and record producer, best known for recording a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s, including "Take Me to the River", "Tired of Being Alone", "I'm Still in Love with You", "Love and...
  • Alvin Ailey Alvin Ailey
    Alvin Ailey was an African-American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. He is credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th-century concert dance.
  • Alwin Nikolais Alwin Nikolais
    Alwin Nikolais was an American choreographer.
  • André Previn André Previn
    André George Previn, KBE is a German-American pianist, conductor, and composer. Previn is the winner of four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber Andrew Lloyd Webber
    Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber is an English composer and impresario of musical theatre. Several of his musicals have run for more than a decade both in the West End and on Broadway. He has composed 13 musicals, a song cycle, a set of variations, two film scores, and a Latin Requiem Mass.
  • Angela Lansbury Angela Lansbury
    Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury, is a British-American-Irish actress who has appeared in theatre, television and film, as well as a producer, voice actress, singer, and songwriter. Her career has spanned seven decades, much of it in the United States, and her work has attracted international attention.
  • Antony Tudor Antony Tudor
    Antony Tudor was an English ballet choreographer, teacher and dancer.
  • Aretha Franklin Aretha Franklin
    Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer, songwriter and musician. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at the church of her father, minister C. L. Franklin's church.
  • Arthur Miller Arthur Miller
    Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright, essayist, and figure in twentieth-century American theater. Among his most popular plays are All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, The Crucible and A View from the Bridge. He also wrote several screenplays and was most noted for his work on The Misfits.
  • Arthur Mitchell (dancer)
    Arthur Mitchell is an African-American dancer and choreographer who created a training school and the first African-American classical ballet company, Dance Theatre of Harlem.
  • Arthur Rubinstein Arthur Rubinstein
    Arthur Rubinstein was a Polish American classical pianist. He received international acclaim for his performances of the music written by a variety of composers and many regard him as the greatest Chopin interpreter of his time.
  • Barbara Cook Barbara Cook
    Barbara Cook was an American singer and actress who first came to prominence in the 1950s as the lead in the original Broadway musicals Plain and Fancy, Candide and The Music Man among others, winning a Tony Award for the last.
  • Barbra Streisand Barbra Streisand
    Barbara Joan "Barbra" Streisand is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and filmmaker.
  • B.B. King B.B. King
    Riley B. King, known professionally as B.B. King, was an American blues singer, electric guitarist, songwriter, and record producer. King introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that influenced many later electric blues guitarists.
  • Benny Carter Benny Carter
    Bennett Lester Carter was an American jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader. He was a major figure in jazz from the 1930s to the 1990s, and was recognized as such by other jazz musicians who called him King.
  • Benny Goodman Benny Goodman
    Benjamin David Goodman was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the "King of Swing".
  • Bette Davis Bette Davis
    Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis was an American actress of film, television, and theater.
  • Betty Comden Betty Comden
    Betty Comden was one-half of the musical-comedy duo Comden and Green, who provided lyrics, libretti, and screenplays to some of the most beloved and successful Hollywood musicals and Broadway shows of the mid-20th century.
  • Beverly Sills Beverly Sills
    Beverly Sills was an American operatic soprano whose peak career was between the 1950s and 1970s. Although she sang a repertoire from Handel and Mozart to Puccini, Massenet and Verdi, she was known for her performances in coloratura soprano roles in live opera and recordings.
  • Bill Cosby Bill Cosby
    William Henry Cosby Jr. is an American stand-up comedian, actor, musician, and author. His start in stand-up comedy began at the hungry i in San Francisco; he then landed a starring role in the 1960s television show I Spy.
  • Bill T. Jones Bill T. Jones
    Bill T. Jones is an American artistic director, choreographer and dancer. Jones has received numerous awards for his work and is the co-founder of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.
  • Billy Wilder Billy Wilder
    Samuel "Billy" Wilder was a Austrian-born Jewish-American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist whose career spanned more than five decades. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood's golden age.
  • Bob Dylan Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan is an American singer, songwriter, musician, painter, and writer. He has been influential in popular music and culture for more than five decades.
  • Bob Hope Bob Hope
    Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete and author. With a career spanning nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in more than 70 short and feature films, including a series of "Road" movies.
  • Brian Wilson Brian Wilson
    Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer best known for being the multi-tasking leader and co-founder of the rock band the Beach Boys. After signing with Capitol Records in 1962, Wilson wrote or co-wrote more than two dozen Top 40 hits for the group.
  • Bruce Springsteen Bruce Springsteen
    Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen is an American singer-songwriter, known for his work with the E Street Band.
  • Buddy Guy Buddy Guy
    George "Buddy" Guy is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is an exponent of Chicago blues and has influenced eminent guitarists including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, John Mayer and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
  • Carol Burnett
    Carol Creighton Burnett is an American actress, comedienne, singer and writer, whose career spans six decades of television.
  • Cary Grant Cary Grant
    Cary Grant was a British-American actor, known as one of classic Hollywood's definitive leading men. He began a career in Hollywood in the early 1930s, and became known for his transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor, and light-hearted approach to acting and sense of comic timing.
  • Charlton Heston Charlton Heston
    Charlton Heston was an American actor and political activist.
  • Chita Rivera Chita Rivera
    Chita Rivera is an American actress, dancer, and singer best known for her roles in musical theatre. She is the first Hispanic woman and the first Latino American to receive a Kennedy Center Honors award. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
  • Chuck Berry Chuck Berry
    Charles Edward Anderson Berry was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music.
  • Cicely Tyson Cicely Tyson
    Cicely Tyson is an American actress.
  • Claudette Colbert Claudette Colbert
    Claudette Colbert was an American film actress and a leading lady in Hollywood for over two decades, and has been called "The mixture of inimitable beauty, sophistication, wit, and vivacity".
  • Clint Eastwood Clint Eastwood
    Clinton Eastwood Jr. is an American actor, filmmaker, musician, and political figure.
  • Count Basie Count Basie
    William James "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother taught him to play the piano and he started performing in his teens.
  • Danny Kaye Danny Kaye
    David Daniel Kaminsky, better known by his screen name Danny Kaye, was an American actor, singer, dancer, comedian, and musician. His performances featured physical comedy, idiosyncratic pantomimes, and rapid-fire novelty songs.
  • Dave Brubeck Dave Brubeck
    David Warren Brubeck was an American jazz pianist and composer, considered to be one of the foremost exponents of cool jazz. He wrote a number of jazz standards, including "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke".
  • David Letterman David Letterman
    David Michael Letterman is an American television host, comedian, writer, and producer.
  • Diana Ross Diana Ross
    Diana Ernestine Earle Ross is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer.
  • Dizzy Gillespie Dizzy Gillespie
    John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer.
  • Dolly Parton Dolly Parton
    Dolly Rebecca Parton Dean is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist, known primarily for her work in country music.
  • Dustin Hoffman Dustin Hoffman
    Dustin Lee Hoffman is an American actor and a director, with a career in film, television, and theatre since 1960. Hoffman has been known for his versatile portrayals of antiheroes and vulnerable characters.
  • Edward Albee Edward Albee
    Edward Franklin Albee III was an American playwright known for works such as The Zoo Story, The Sandbox, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and A Delicate Balance. Three of his plays won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and two of his other works won the Tony Award for Best Play.
  • Edward Villella
    Edward Villella is an American danseur and choreographer. He is frequently cited as America's most celebrated male dancer of ballet at the time. Villella was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2007.
  • Elia Kazan Elia Kazan
    Elia Kazan was a Greek-American director, producer, writer and actor, described by The New York Times as "one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history".
  • Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth Taylor
    Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, DBE was a British-American actress, businesswoman, and humanitarian. She began her career as a child actress in the early 1940s, and was one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s.
  • Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald
    Ella Jane Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer often referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz and Lady Ella. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.
  • Elton John Elton John
    Sir Elton Hercules John, is an English singer, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date.
  • Eugene Ormandy Eugene Ormandy
    Eugene Ormandy was a Hungarian-born conductor and violinist, best known for his association with the Philadelphia Orchestra, as its music director. The maestro's 44-year association with the orchestra is one of the longest enjoyed by any conductor with a single orchestra.
  • Fayard Nicholas Fayard Nicholas
    Fayard Antonio Nicholas was an American choreographer, dancer and actor. He and his younger brother Harold Nicholas made up the Nicholas Brothers tap-dance duo, who starred in the MGM musicals An All-Colored Vaudeville Show, Stormy Weather, The Pirate, The Five Heartbeats and Hard Four.
  • Frank Sinatra Frank Sinatra
    Francis Albert Sinatra was an American singer, actor, and producer who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide.
  • Fred Astaire Fred Astaire
    Fred Astaire was an American dancer, singer, actor, choreographer and television presenter.
  • Fred Ebb Fred Ebb
    Fred Ebb was an American musical theatre lyricist who had many successful collaborations with composer John Kander. The Kander and Ebb team frequently wrote for such performers as Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera.
  • Frederick Loewe Frederick Loewe
    Frederick Loewe, was an Austrian-American composer. He collaborated with lyricist Alan Jay Lerner on a series of Broadway musicals, including My Fair Lady and Camelot, both of which were made into films.
  • Gene Kelly Gene Kelly
    Eugene Curran Kelly — known as Gene Kelly — was an American dancer, actor of film, stage and television, singer, film director, producer, and choreographer. He was known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks, and the likeable characters that he played on screen.
  • George Abbott George Abbott
    George Francis Abbott was an American theater producer and director, playwright, screenwriter, and film director and producer whose career spanned nine decades.
  • George Balanchine George Balanchine
    George Balanchine was a choreographer. Styled as the father of American ballet, he co-founded the New York City Ballet and remained its Artistic Director for more than 35 years.
  • George Burns George Burns
    George Burns was an American comedian, actor, singer, and writer. He was one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned vaudeville, radio, film and television. His arched eyebrow and cigar-smoke punctuation became familiar trademarks for over three quarters of a century.
  • George Jones George Jones
    George Glenn Jones was an American musician, singer and songwriter. He achieved international fame for his long list of hit records, including his best known song "He Stopped Loving Her Today", as well as his distinctive voice and phrasing.
  • Georg Solti Georg Solti
    Sir Georg Solti, KBE was an orchestral and operatic conductor, best known for his appearances with opera companies in Munich, Frankfurt and London, and as a long-serving music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
  • Gian Carlo Menotti Gian Carlo Menotti
    Gian Carlo Menotti was an Italian-American composer and librettist. Although he often referred to himself as an American composer, he kept his Italian citizenship.
  • Ginger Rogers
    Ginger Rogers was an American actress, dancer, and singer, widely known for performing in films and RKO's musical films, partnered with Fred Astaire. She appeared on stage, as well as on radio and television, throughout much of the 20th century.
  • Grace Bumbry Grace Bumbry
    Grace Melzia Bumbry, an American opera singer, is considered one of the leading mezzo-sopranos of her generation, as well as a major soprano for many years.
  • Gregory Peck Gregory Peck
    Eldred Gregory Peck was an American actor who was one of the most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s. Peck continued to play major film roles until the late 1980s. His performance as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor.
  • Harold Nicholas Harold Nicholas
    Harold Lloyd Nicholas was an American dancer specializing in tap. He was the younger half of the tap-dancing pair the Nicholas Brothers, known as two of the world's greatest dancers. His older brother was Fayard Nicholas. Harold was married to actress Dorothy Dandridge from 1942 to 1951.
  • Harold Prince
    Harold Smith Prince is an American theatrical producer and director associated with many of the best-known Broadway musical productions of the 20th century.
  • Harry Belafonte Harry Belafonte
    Harry Belafonte is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist. One of the most successful African-American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s.
  • Helen Hayes Helen Hayes
    Helen Hayes MacArthur was an American actress whose career spanned almost 80 years. She eventually garnered the nickname "First Lady of American Theatre" and was one of 12 people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award.
  • Henry Fonda Henry Fonda
    Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor with a career spanning five decades.
  • Hume Cronyn Hume Cronyn
    Hume Blake Cronyn, Jr., OC was a Canadian-American actor of stage and screen, who enjoyed a long career, often appearing professionally alongside Jessica Tandy, his wife of over fifty years.
  • Irene Dunne Irene Dunne
    Irene Dunne was an American film actress and singer of the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. Dunne was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Actress, for her performances in Cimarron, Theodora Goes Wild, The Awful Truth, Love Affair and I Remember Mama.
  • Isaac Stern Isaac Stern
    Isaac Stern was a Ukrainian-born American violinist and conductor.
  • Itzhak Perlman Itzhak Perlman
    Itzhak Perlman is an Israeli-American violinist, conductor, and pedagogue.
  • Jack Lemmon Jack Lemmon
    John Uhler "Jack" Lemmon III was an American actor and musician. Lemmon was an eight time Academy Award nominee, with two wins.
  • Jack Nicholson Jack Nicholson
    John Joseph Nicholson is an American actor and filmmaker, who has performed for over 60 years. Nicholson is known for playing a wide range of starring or supporting roles, including satirical comedy, romance and dark portrayals of antiheroes and psychopathic characters.
  • Jacques d'Amboise (dancer)
    Jacques d'Amboise is an American danseur and choreographer.
  • James Brown James Brown
    James Joseph Brown was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th century popular music and dance, he is often referred to as the "Godfather of Soul".
  • James Cagney James Cagney
    James Francis Cagney Jr. was an American actor and dancer, both on stage and in film, though he had his greatest impact in film. Known for his consistently energetic performances, distinctive vocal style, and deadpan comic timing, he won acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of performances.
  • James Earl Jones James Earl Jones
    James Earl Jones is an American actor. His career has spanned more than 60 years, and he has been described as "one of America's most distinguished and versatile" actors and "one of the greatest actors in American history."
  • James Levine
    James Lawrence Levine is an American conductor and pianist. He is primarily known for his tenure as Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, a position he held for 40 years. He has made numerous recordings, as well as television and radio broadcasts, with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
  • James Stewart James Stewart
    James Maitland "Jimmy" Stewart was an American actor and military officer who is among the most honored and popular stars in film history.
  • Jason Robards Jason Robards
    Jason Nelson Robards Jr. was an American stage, film, and television actor. He was a winner of the Tony Award, two Academy Awards and an Emmy Award. He was also a United States Navy combat veteran of World War II.
  • Jerome Robbins Jerome Robbins
    Jerome Robbins was an American choreographer, director, dancer, and theater producer who worked in classical ballet, on Broadway, and in films and television.
  • Jerry Herman Jerry Herman
    Jerry Herman is an American composer and lyricist, known for his work in Broadway musical theater. He composed the scores for the hit Broadway musicals Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles. He has been nominated for the Tony Award five times, and won twice, for Hello, Dolly!.
  • Jessica Tandy Jessica Tandy
    Jessica Tandy was a British stage and film actress. She appeared in over 100 stage productions and had more than 60 roles in film and TV.
  • Jessye Norman
    Jessye Mae Norman is an American opera singer and recitalist. A dramatic soprano, Norman is associated in particular with the Wagnerian repertoire, and with the roles of Sieglinde, Ariadne, Alceste, and Leonore. Norman has been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and is a Spingarn Medalist.
  • Jimmy Page Jimmy Page
    James Patrick Page, is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.
  • Joanne Woodward
    Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward is an American actress, producer, activist, and philanthropist. She is best known for her Academy Award-winning role in The Three Faces of Eve.
  • Joan Sutherland Joan Sutherland
    Dame Joan Alston Sutherland, OM, AC, DBE was an Australian dramatic coloratura soprano noted for her contribution to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire from the late 1950s through to the 1980s.
  • John Kander
    John Harold Kander is the American composer of a number of musicals as part of the songwriting team of Kander and Ebb. His best-known stage musicals as composer are Cabaret and Chicago, both of which were later adapted into films.
  • Johnny Carson Johnny Carson
    John William Carson was an American talk show host and comedian, best known for his 30 years as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Carson received six Emmy Awards, the Television Academy's 1980 Governor's Award, and a 1985 Peabody Award.
  • Johnny Cash Johnny Cash
    John R. Cash was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author. He is widely considered one of the most influential popular musicians of the 20th century and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide.
  • John Paul Jones (musician) John Paul Jones (musician)
    John Richard Baldwin, better known by his stage name John Paul Jones, is an English multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, arranger and record producer. Best known as the bassist for the English rock band Led Zeppelin, Jones has since developed a solo career.
  • John Williams John Williams
    John Towner Williams is an American composer, conductor, and pianist.
  • Judith Jamison
    Judith Ann Jamison is an American dancer and choreographer, best known as the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
  • Jule Styne Jule Styne
    Jule Styne was a British-American song writer and composer known for a series of Broadway musicals, which include several famous and frequently revived shows. Styne was born in London as Julius Kerwin Stein to Jewish immigrants from Ukraine, the Russian Empire who ran a small grocery.
  • Julie Andrews Julie Andrews
    Dame Julia Elizabeth "Julie" Andrews, is an English actress, singer, and author. Andrews, a child actress and singer, appeared on the West End in 1948 and made her Broadway debut in The Boy Friend.
  • Julie Harris (actress)
    Julia Ann "Julie" Harris was an American stage, screen, and television actress. A 10-time Tony Award nominee and five-time winner, she won for I Am a Camera, The Lark, Forty Carats, The Last of Mrs. Lincoln, and The Belle of Amherst.
  • Katharine Hepburn Katharine Hepburn
    Katharine Houghton Hepburn was an American actress. Known for her fierce independence and spirited personality, Hepburn was a leading lady in Hollywood for more than 60 years.
  • Katherine Dunham Katherine Dunham
    Katherine Mary Dunham was an American dancer, choreographer, author, educator, and social activist. Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers in American and European theater of the 20th century, and directed her own dance company for many years.
  • Kennedy Center Honors Kennedy Center Honors
    The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The honors have been presented annually since 1978, culminating each December in a star-studded gala celebrating the honorees in the Kennedy Center Opera House.
  • Kirk Douglas Kirk Douglas
    Kirk Douglas is an American actor, producer, director, and author. He is one of the last living people of the film industry's Golden Age. After an impoverished childhood with immigrant parents and six sisters, he had his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers with Barbara Stanwyck.
  • Lauren Bacall Lauren Bacall
    Lauren Bacall was an American actress and singer known for her distinctive voice and sultry looks.
  • Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin
    Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham.
  • Lena Horne Lena Horne
    Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was an American jazz and pop music singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist. Horne's career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, television, and theater.
  • Leonard Bernstein Leonard Bernstein
    Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim.
  • Leon Fleisher Leon Fleisher
    Leon Fleisher is an American pianist and conductor.
  • Leontyne Price Leontyne Price
    Mary Violet Leontyne Price is an American soprano. Born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi, she rose to international acclaim in the 1950s and 1960s, and was one of the first African Americans to become a leading artist at the Metropolitan Opera.
  • Lillian Gish Lillian Gish
    Lillian Diana Gish was an American actress of the screen and stage, as well as a director and writer. Her film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 in silent film shorts to 1987.
  • Lionel Hampton Lionel Hampton
    Lionel Leo Hampton was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, bandleader and actor. Hampton worked with jazz musicians from Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, and Buddy Rich to Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Quincy Jones.
  • Loretta Lynn Loretta Lynn
    Loretta Lynn is an American country music singer-songwriter with multiple gold albums over a career of almost 60 years.
  • Luciano Pavarotti Luciano Pavarotti
    Luciano Pavarotti, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian operatic tenor who also crossed over into popular music, eventually becoming one of the most commercially successful tenors of all time.
  • Lucille Ball Lucille Ball
    Lucille Désirée Ball was an American actress, comedienne, model, film-studio executive, and producer. She was best known as the star of the self-produced sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, and Life with Lucy.
  • Lynn Fontanne Lynn Fontanne
    Lynn Fontanne was a British-born American-based actress for over 40 years. She teamed with her husband, Alfred Lunt. Lunt and Fontanne were given special Tony Awards in 1970. They both won Emmy Awards in 1965, and Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre was named for them.
  • Marian Anderson Marian Anderson
    Marian Anderson was an African-American contralto and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century. Music critic Alan Blyth said: "Her voice was a rich, vibrant contralto of intrinsic beauty."
  • Maria Tallchief Maria Tallchief
    Elizabeth Marie "Betty" Tall Chief was an American ballerina. She was considered America's first major prima ballerina, and was the first Native American to hold the rank.
  • Marilyn Horne Marilyn Horne
    Marilyn Horne is an American mezzo-soprano opera singer. She specialized in roles requiring a large sound, beauty of tone, excellent breath support, and the ability to execute difficult coloratura passages. She is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors.
  • Marion Williams
    Marion Williams was an American gospel singer.
  • Martha Graham Martha Graham
    Martha Graham was an American modern dancer and choreographer. Her style, the Graham technique, reshaped American dance and is still taught worldwide.
  • Martin Scorsese Martin Scorsese
    Martin Charles Scorsese is an American director, producer, screenwriter, and film historian, whose career spans more than 50 years.
  • Mary Martin Mary Martin
    Mary Virginia Martin was an American actress, singer, and Broadway star. A muse of Rodgers and Hammerstein, she originated many leading roles over her career including Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music. She was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1989.
  • Mel Brooks Mel Brooks
    Mel Brooks is an American actor, writer, producer, director, comedian, and composer. He is known as a creator of broad film farces and comic parodies. Brooks began his career as a comic and a writer for the early TV variety show Your Show of Shows.
  • Merce Cunningham Merce Cunningham
    Mercier Philip "Merce" Cunningham was an American dancer and choreographer who was at the forefront of the American modern dance for more than 50 years.
  • Merle Haggard Merle Haggard
    Merle Ronald Haggard was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and fiddler.
  • Meryl Streep Meryl Streep
    Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress and philanthropist. Cited in the media as the "best actress of her generation," – a designation to which she objects – Streep is particularly known for versatility in her roles and her accent adaptation.
  • Mike Nichols Mike Nichols
    Mike Nichols was an American film and theatre director, producer, actor and comedian. He was noted for his ability to work across a range of genres and an aptitude for getting the best out of actors regardless of their acting experience.
  • Mikhail Baryshnikov Mikhail Baryshnikov
    Mikhail Nikolayevich Baryshnikov, nicknamed "Misha", is a Soviet and American dancer, choreographer, and actor.
  • Morgan Freeman Morgan Freeman
    Morgan Freeman is an American actor, producer and narrator. Freeman won an Academy Award in 2005 for Best Supporting Actor with Million Dollar Baby, and he has received Oscar nominations for his performances in Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Invictus.
  • Morton Gould Morton Gould
    Morton Gould was an American composer, conductor, arranger, and pianist.
  • Mstislav Rostropovich Mstislav Rostropovich
    Mstislav Leopoldovich "Slava" Rostropovich was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. He is considered to be one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century.
  • Myrna Loy Myrna Loy
    Myrna Loy was an American film, television and stage actress.
  • Natalia Makarova Natalia Makarova
    Natalia Romanovna Makarova is a Soviet-Russian-born prima ballerina and choreographer. The History of Dance, published in 1981, notes that "her performances set standards of artistry and aristocracy of dance which mark her as the finest ballerina of her generation in the West."
  • Nathan Milstein Nathan Milstein
    Nathan Mironovich Milstein was a Russian Empire-born American virtuoso violinist.
  • Neil Diamond Neil Diamond
    Neil Leslie Diamond is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actor. One of the world's best-selling artists of all time, he has sold over 135 million records worldwide since the start of his career in the 1960s.
  • Neil Simon Neil Simon
    Marvin Neil Simon is an American playwright, screenwriter and author. He has written more than thirty plays and nearly the same number of movie screenplays, mostly adaptations of his plays. He has received more combined Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer.
  • Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey
    Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist.
  • Ossie Davis Ossie Davis
    Ossie Davis was an American film, television and Broadway actor, director, poet, playwright, author, and civil rights activist.
  • Paul McCartney Paul McCartney
    Sir James Paul McCartney, is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. He gained worldwide fame as the bass guitarist and singer for the rock band the Beatles, widely considered the most popular and influential group in the history of pop music.
  • Paul Newman
    Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, producer, race car driver, IndyCar owner, entrepreneur, activist, and philanthropist.
  • Paul Simon Paul Simon
    Paul Frederic Simon is an American musician, singer-songwriter and actor. Simon's musical career has spanned seven decades, with his fame and commercial success beginning as half of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, which was formed in 1964 with Art Garfunkel.
  • Paul Taylor (choreographer) Paul Taylor (choreographer)
    Paul Taylor is an American choreographer. He is among the last living members of the third generation of America's modern dance artists.
  • Perry Como Perry Como
    Pierino Ronald "Perry" Como was an American singer and television personality. During a career spanning more than half a century, he recorded exclusively for RCA Victor for 44 years after signing with the label in 1943.
  • Pete Seeger Pete Seeger
    Peter Seeger was an American folk singer and social activist.
  • Pete Townshend Pete Townshend
    Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the lead guitarist, backing vocalist, and main songwriter for the rock band The Who.
  • Plácido Domingo Plácido Domingo
    José Plácido Domingo Embil, known as Plácido Domingo, is a Spanish tenor, conductor and arts administrator.
  • Quincy Jones Quincy Jones
    Quincy Delight Jones, Jr., also known as "Q," is an American record producer, actor, conductor, arranger, composer, musician, television producer, film producer, instrumentalist, magazine founder, entertainment company executive, and humanitarian.
  • Ray Charles Ray Charles
    Ray Charles Robinson, known professionally as Ray Charles, was an American singer-songwriter, musician, and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray." He was often referred to as "The Genius." Charles was blind from the age of seven.
  • Richard Rodgers Richard Rodgers
    Richard Charles Rodgers was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He also composed music for films and television.
  • Risë Stevens Risë Stevens
    Risë Stevens was an American operatic mezzo-soprano. Beginning in 1938, she sang for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City for more than two decades during the 1940s and 1950s. She was most noted for her portrayals of the central character in Carmen by Georges Bizet.
  • Robert De Niro Robert De Niro
    Robert Anthony De Niro is an American actor, producer, and director who holds both American and Italian citizenship.
  • Robert Plant Robert Plant
    Robert Anthony Plant, is an English singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band Led Zeppelin.
  • Robert Redford
    Charles Robert Redford Jr. is an American actor, director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, and philanthropist. He is the founder of the Sundance Film Festival.
  • Robert Shaw (conductor) Robert Shaw (conductor)
    Robert Shaw was an American conductor most famous for his work with his namesake Chorale, with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
  • Roger Daltrey Roger Daltrey
    Roger Harry Daltrey, is an English singer and actor.
  • Roger L. Stevens Roger L. Stevens
    Roger Lacey Stevens was an American theatrical producer, arts administrator, and a real estate executive. He was the founding Chairman of both the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Roy Acuff Roy Acuff
    Roy Claxton Acuff was an American country music singer, fiddler, and promoter. Known as the "King of Country Music," Acuff is often credited with moving the genre from its early string band and "hoedown" format to the star singer-based format that helped make it internationally successful.
  • Ruby Dee Ruby Dee
    Ruby Dee was an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and civil rights activist. She is perhaps best known for originating the role of "Ruth Younger" in the stage and film versions of A Raisin in the Sun.
  • Rudolf Serkin Rudolf Serkin
    Rudolf Serkin was a Bohemian-born pianist. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Beethoven interpreters of the 20th century.
  • Sammy Davis Jr.
    Samuel George Davis Jr. was an American singer, dancer, actor and comedian. He was noted for his impressions of actors, musicians and other celebrities. At the age of three, Davis began his career in vaudeville with his father and Will Mastin as the Will Mastin Trio, which toured nationally.
  • Sean Connery Sean Connery
    Sir Thomas Sean Connery is a retired Scottish actor and producer who has won an Academy Award, two BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globes.
  • Seiji Ozawa
    Seiji Ozawa, born September 1, 1935, is a Japanese conductor, known for his advocacy of modern composers and his work with the San Francisco Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, and the Boston Symphony. He is the recipient of numerous international awards.
  • Shirley Temple Shirley Temple
    Shirley Temple Black was an American actress, singer, dancer, businesswoman, and diplomat who was Hollywood's number one box-office draw as a child actress from 1935 to 1938.
  • Shirley Temple Black
    Shirley Temple Black was an American actress, singer, dancer, businesswoman and diplomat who was most notable as Hollywood's number one box-office star from 1935 to 1938.
  • Sidney Poitier Sidney Poitier
    Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE is a Bahamian-American actor, film director, author and diplomat.
  • Smokey Robinson Smokey Robinson
    William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr. is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson was the founder and front man of the Motown vocal group the Miracles, for which he also served as the group's chief songwriter and producer.
  • Sonny Rollins Sonny Rollins
    Walter Theodore "Sonny" Rollins is an American jazz tenor saxophonist, widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians.
  • Stephen Sondheim Stephen Sondheim
    Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for more than a half-century of contributions to musical theatre. Sondheim has received an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, the Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • Steve Martin Steve Martin
    Stephen Glenn Martin is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and musician. Martin came to public notice in the 1960s as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and later as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show.
  • Steven Spielberg Steven Spielberg
    Steven Allan Spielberg, is an American director, producer, and screenwriter. He is considered one of the founding pioneers of the New Hollywood era, as well as being viewed as one of the most popular directors and producers in film history. He is also one of the co-founders of DreamWorks Studios.
  • Stevie Wonder Stevie Wonder
    Stevland Hardaway Morris, known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, he is considered to be one of the most critically and commercially successful musical performers of the late 20th century.
  • Suzanne Farrell Suzanne Farrell
    Suzanne Farrell is an American ballerina and the founder of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
  • Tennessee Williams Tennessee Williams
    Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III was an American playwright. Along with Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller, he is considered among the three foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama.
  • Tina Turner Tina Turner
    Tina Turner, is an American-born Swiss recording singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and author. Born and raised in the Southeastern United States, Turner relinquished her American citizenship after obtaining Swiss citizenship in 2013.
  • Tony Bennett Tony Bennett
    Anthony Dominick Benedetto, known professionally as Tony Bennett, is an American singer of traditional pop standards, big band, show tunes, and jazz. He is also a painter, having created works under the name Anthony Benedetto that are on permanent public display in several institutions.
  • Twyla Tharp Twyla Tharp
    Twyla Tharp is an American dancer, choreographer, and author who lives and works in New York City. In 1966, she formed her own company Twyla Tharp Dance. Her work often uses classical music, jazz, and contemporary pop music.
  • Van Cliburn Van Cliburn
    Harvey Lavan "Van" Cliburn Jr. was an American pianist who achieved worldwide recognition in 1958, at the age of 23, when he won the inaugural quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow during the Cold War.
  • Victor Borge Victor Borge
    Børge Rosenbaum, known professionally as Victor Borge, was a Danish and American comedian, conductor, and pianist who achieved great popularity in radio and television in the United States and Europe.
  • Virgil Thomson Virgil Thomson
    Virgil Thomson was an American composer and critic. He was instrumental in the development of the "American Sound" in classical music.
  • Warren Beatty Warren Beatty
    Henry Warren Beatty, better known as Warren Beatty, is an American actor and filmmaker.
  • William Schuman William Schuman
    William Howard Schuman was an American composer and arts administrator.
  • Willie Nelson Willie Nelson
    Willie Hugh Nelson is an American musician, singer, songwriter, author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie, combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust, made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music.
  • Yehudi Menuhin Yehudi Menuhin
    Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin, was an American-born violinist and conductor who spent most of his performing career in Britain. He is widely considered one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century.
  • Yo-Yo Ma Yo-Yo Ma
    Yo-Yo Ma is a French-born Chinese American cellist. Born in Paris, he spent his schooling years in New York City and was a child prodigy, performing from the age of four and a half.
  • Zubin Mehta Zubin Mehta
    Zubin Mehta, is an Indian conductor of Western classical music. He is the Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he has conducted over three thousand concerts over five decades, including tours spanning most continents.

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