Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Led Zeppelin Among Honorees for 35th ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS - Tonight!

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Bluesman Buddy Guy, actor Dustin Hoffman, comedian and television host David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova and rock band Led Zeppelin will receive honors for 2012 on THE 35TH ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, to be broadcast tonight, Dec. 26 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The special has been broadcast on CBS each year since its debut.

In a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, the 2012 Honorees will be saluted by great performers from Hollywood and the arts capitals of the world. Seated with President and Mrs. Obama, the Honorees will accept the thanks of their peers and fans through performances and heartfelt tributes.

"With their extraordinary talent, creativity and tenacity, the seven 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees have contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world," said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. "Buddy Guy is a titan of the blues and has been a tremendous influence on virtually everyone who has picked up an electric guitar in the last half century; Dustin Hoffman's unyielding commitment to the wide variety of roles he plays has made him one of the most versatile and iconoclastic actors of this or any other generation; David Letterman is one of the most influential personalities in the history of television, entertaining an entire generation of late-night viewers with his unconventional wit and charm; Natalia Makarova's profound artistry has ignited the stages of the world's greatest ballet companies and continues to pass the torch to the next generation of dancers; and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant transformed the sound of rock and roll with their lyricism and innovative song structures, infusing blues into the sound of rock and roll and laying the foundation for countless rock bands."

The President and Mrs. Obama received the Honorees, as well as members of the Artists Committee who nominated them and the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, at the White House prior to the gala performance on Dec. 2. The 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concluded with a dinner dance in the Grand Foyer.

The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts - whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television - and are selected by the Center's Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; the selection process, over the years, has produced balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.

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."

George Stevens, Jr. will produce and co-write the Honors for the 35th year. Stevens and his Honors producing partner Michael Stevens received three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy Special and are nominated again for the sixth consecutive time. The KENNEDY CENTER HONORS telecast has also been recognized with the Peabody Award for Outstanding Meritorious Service to Broadcasting and seven awards from the Writers Guild of America. Nick Vanoff was co-creator of the Honors with George Stevens in 1978.

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