WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sean Connery and Jason Robards, actors who
gained fame playing a Cold War secret agent and a Watergate
newspaper editor, will be saluted for lifetime achievement at this
year's Kennedy Center Honors. They will be joined by
singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder, dancer Judith Jamison and
pianist-comedian Victor Borge.
The 22nd annual awards will be presented Dec. 4 at a dinner at
the State Department. The next day President Clinton and Hillary
Rodham Clinton will throw a White House reception for the
recipients, followed by a gala performance at the Kennedy Center
for the Performing Arts, taped for television broadcast later in
Robards, 77, and Connery, 69, are being honored for a wide range
of acting. Connery, a Scot, is best known for his role during three
decades as James Bond, Agent 007, in films based on Ian Fleming's
Robards, born in Chicago, has performed in stage dramas from
Shakespeare to Harold Pinter. He has won two Academy Awards, for
his portrayals of The Washington Post's Ben Bradlee in 1976's "All
the President's Men" and novelist Dashiell Hammett in "Julia" in
Borge, who turned 90 last January, made his debut as Borge
Rosenbaum, a soloist at 14 with the Philharmonic Orchestra of his
native Copenhagen. Already celebrated in the Nordic countries for
his musical humor before he was 30, he fled the Nazi advance with
his American wife and was soon performing with Ed Sullivan, Rudy
Vallee and Bing Crosby.
Wonder, a songwriter and singer, is "a musical genius who has
been an integral part of American popular culture for the past four
decades," said James A. Johnson, Kennedy Center chairman. At 49,
he is the youngest of the five being honored.
Blind since birth, Wonder signed a contract at 11 in 1963 with
Motown where as "Little Stevie Wonder" he began turning out hit
records. He was instrumental in the movement to honor the Rev.
Martin Luther King Jr. with a national holiday.
Jamison, 56, is a dancer, choreographer and teacher who has led
the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater since its founder died in
1989. She was his biggest star for 15 years. Ailey was honored by
the Kennedy Center in 1988.