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Barbra Streisand, Morgan Freeman among Kennedy Center honorees

September 10, 2008 |  2:48 pm


The Kennedy Center has announced the six performers to be feted at the upcoming 31st edition of its honors: Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman, Grammy-winning country crooner George Jones, multi-hyphenate Barbra Streisand, Tony-winning choreographer Twyla Tharp and rock legends Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who.

The sextet will be saluted Dec. 7 at the White House before a star-studded salute to their achievements in the performing arts at the Kennedy Center. The kudoscast will air later in the month on CBS. Already a four-time winner of the Emmy Award for outstanding variety special, last's year edition is a nominee this year.

The Kennedy Center Honors began in 1978, seven years after the living memorial to President Kennedy opened on the banks of the Potomac in the nation's capital. Since then, the kudos have taken on the aura of the country's highest tribute to artists.

Appropriately enough, Richard Rodgers, the first to achieve an awards grand slam by winning all four big showbiz kudos (Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony), was among the first five artists inducted into this hall of fame. (The others were opera pioneer Marian Anderson, dancer extraordinaire Fred Astaire, choreographer George Balanchine, and pianist Arthur Rubenstein.) Since then, there have been another 152 artists honored (usually five per year but occasionally six, such as this year when a team is feted).

For an interactive  list of previous honorees — CLICK HERE