Kennedy Center nominees announced

— Actors Elizabeth Taylor, James Earl Jones and Chita Rivera will share with musicians Paul McCartney and James Levine the 25th annual honors of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush will receive the honorees at the White House on Dec. 8, before attending a gala performance and supper dance at the Kennedy Center.

Secretary of State Colin Powell will present the honors at a dinner for them the night before.

"The honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts," the Kennedy Center said in a statement Tuesday.

Kennedy Center Chairman James A. Johnson called Taylor "a luminous film actress who for nearly 60 years has been a Hollywood icon treasured by millions throughout the world." He called Jones "an actor whose extraordinary range and power have made him an American institution."

Among the other honorees:

l McCartney was named as "one of the most prolific and influential songwriters of our era."

l Levine, longtime musical director of the Metropolitan Opera and now leader of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was credited with bringing "one of the world's foremost opera companies to unsurpassed artistic excellence."

l Johnson called Rivera "a musical theater star of the highest magnitude."

CBS will air a two-hour special on the ceremonies later in December.

The first Kennedy Center honors in 1978 named singer Marian Anderson, actor and dancer Fred Astaire, choreographer George Balanchine, composer Richard Rodgers and pianist Arthur Rubinstein.


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