Stars of film, stage, music worlds honored for career achievements

Sunday, December 3rd 2006, 5:14 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) From Hollywood to Dollywood, Motown to Broadway, a select group of stars from the film, stage and music worlds received recognition on Sunday for a lifetime of achievement in the performing arts.

Movie director Steven Spielberg, singers Dolly Parton and Smokey Robinson, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and conductor Zubin Mehta attended a White House reception as members of the 29th annual class of Kennedy Center honorees.

At an evening gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, fellow entertainers and artists were celebrating the careers of the five honorees. CBS will broadcast the show at a later date.

``This is absolutely fantastic,'' said Robinson, a Motown recording legend, as he arrived for the private reception with President Bush and first lady Laura Bush. ``I'm so honored and so flattered to get this because it not only deals with your craft; they attach what impact you have on humanity to this.''

Others who strolled the East Wing colonnade for the reception included actress Jessica Simpson, singers Vince Gill and Kenny Rogers and movie producer George Lucas. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the Rhode Island Democrat, walked in with actress Fran Drescher.

This year's honorees are:

_Steven Spielberg, 58. He has won two Academy Awards for best director, for ``Schindler's List'' and ``Saving Private Ryan.'' Among his other film are ``E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,'' ``Jaws,'' ``Close Encounters of the Third Kind'' and the Indiana Jones series.

_Dolly Parton, 60. The country singer, who has performed for more than four decades, is a Grammy-winner who also has appeared in movies such as ``Nine to Five,'' ``The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas'' and ``Steel Magnolias.'' And there is her Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

_Smokey Robinson, 66. The Motown legend is best known for classics such as ``The Tracks Of My Tears,'' ``Tears Of A Clown'' and ``I Second That Emotion.'' He is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

_Andrew Lloyd Webber, 58. The London-born composer is responsible for the music for ``Cats,'' ``The Phantom of the Opera,'' ``Jesus Christ Superstar'' and ``Evita.'' He has won seven Tony Awards and three Grammy Awards.

_Zubin Mehta, 70. The Indian-born conductor was music director of the New York Philharmonic from 1978 to 1991 and has led the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.