Winfrey, McCartney join top Kennedy Center artists
Dec. 5, 2010, 11:55 PM EST
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Oprah Winfrey has come a long way since her childhood years in a Mississippi shack and in public housing with a poster of the Beatles on her bedroom wall. Sunday, she was honored with Paul McCartney, one of the Beatles she so loved.
Stars from Hollywood, Nashville and Broadway gathered in the nation's capital to salute Winfrey, McCartney and three others — country singer Merle Haggard, Broadway composer Jerry Herman and dancer Bill T. Jones — with the Kennedy Center Honors. The president, first lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Colin Powell sat with the honorees.
Since the 1960s, the new Kennedy Center honorees have helped define television, dance, theater and music.
At a White House ceremony before the show Sunday, they heard accolades from President Barack Obama who said the awards are important because the arts are necessary.
"Although the honorees on this stage each possess a staggering amount of talent, the truth is, they aren't being recognized tonight simply because of their careers as great lyricists or songwriters or dancers or entertainers," Obama said. "Instead, they're being honored for their unique ability to bring us closer together and to capture something larger about who we are — not just as Americans, but as human beings."
The show was recorded Sunday night for broadcast Dec. 28 on CBS.
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