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Shirley MacLaine celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors

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Actress Shirley MacLaine was honored at the 36th annual national celebration of the arts at the Kennedy Center Honors at the Kennedy Center on Dec. 8, 2013, in Washington, DC. Other artists recognized during the evening were: musician Carlos Santa, opera singer Martina Arroyo, rock star Billy Joel and musician Herbie Hancock.

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"The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world," said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. "Martina Arroyo has dazzled the world with her glorious soprano voice and continues to share her artistry with a new generation of opera singers; Herbie Hancock has established himself as one of the most innovative musicians in the world, constantly breaking musical barriers and redefining the art of jazz; Billy Joel's melodies have provided the soundtrack of our lives for over four decades making him one pop music's most prolific and memorable singers and songwriters; the remarkable breadth and range of Shirley MacLaine's acting has left an indelible impression over a nearly 60-year career on stage and screen; from his legendary performance at Woodstock to his sweep at the 2000 Grammys and beyond, Carlos Santana's artistry transcends genres while entertaining millions."

Shirley MacLaine was honored in 2012 with the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. She has won one Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for "Terms of Endearment" in 1984. She has won seven Golden Globe Awards, and one Primetime Emmy. Older sister to actor/director Warren Beatty, she is an accomplished dancer and Broadway star, MacLaine is the mark of a true Hollywood legend.

The annual Honors Gala has become the highlight of the Washington cultural year, and will be broadcasted on CBS on Dec. 29. The star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage was produced by George Stevens Jr. and Michael Stevens. The 2012 Honorees were saluted by great performers from New York, Hollywood, and the arts capitals of the world. Seated with the President of the United States and Mrs. Obama, the Honorees accepted the thanks of their peers and fans through performances and heartfelt tributes.

The President and Mrs. Obama received the Honorees and members of the Artists Committee who nominate them, along with the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees at the White House prior to the gala performance. The 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concluded with a supper dance in the Grand Foyer.

The Kennedy Center Honors medallions were presented on Saturday, December 7, the night before the gala, at a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry.

The Honors Gala will be recorded for broadcast on the CBS Network for the 36th consecutive year as a two-hour primetime special on Wednesday, December 29 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

The Honors recipients recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts-whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television-are selected by the Center's Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence.

Past Honors recipients, as well as members of the Kennedy Center's national artists committee, made recommendations of possible 2012 Honorees. Artists making recommendations included: including Emanuel Ax, Harry Belafonte, Alec Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Glenn Close, Joshua Bell, Christoph Eschenbach, Morgan Freeman, Renée Fleming, Paloma Herrera, Steve Martin, Lang Lang, Leontyne Price, Arturo Sandoval, Chita Rivera, Steven Spielberg and Forest Whitaker also made recommendations.

Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser expressed the national cultural center's continued gratitude to the many individuals involved in the success of the Honors program. "In addition to recognizing some of the world's most treasured artists, the Kennedy Center Honors supports a wide variety of artistic programming, as well as the Center's educational and national outreach efforts."

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Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cell phones & no texting, please don't talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don't forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.

-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Films, see her work at SilentHollywood.com

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