Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Kennedy Center honors Steve and 4 other people

Below are several articles all on the same subject -- this year's Kennedy Honors. Steve, of course, it the important one of the five.
Steve Martin Among Kennedy Center Honorees
By Andrew Gans
11 Sep 2007

Steve Martin at the reception for his 2005 Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize.
Scott Suchman

Stage and screen star, comedian and playwright Steve Martin will be among the select group who will receive the Kennedy Center Honors of 2007.

Joining Martin for the 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors will be pianist Leon Fleisher, singer Diana Ross, film director Martin Scorsese and songwriter Brian Wilson. The 2007 Honorees will be saluted in a gala performance at the Kennedy Center's Opera House Dec. 2.

President and Mrs. Bush will receive the Honorees at the White House prior to the performance. The evening — which will be filmed for TV broadcast — will air on CBS-TV Dec. 26 at 9 PM ET. (The Kennedy Center Honors will be bestowed the night before the gala on Dec. 1 at a State Department dinner, hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.)

In a statement Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said, "With their extraordinary talent, creativity, and perseverance, the five 2007 Honorees have transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear and feel the performing arts. We will forever be thankful for the great gift they have shared with us. Leon Fleisher is a consummate musician whose career is a moving testament to the life-affirming power of art; Steve Martin is a Renaissance comic whose talents wipe out the boundaries between artistic disciplines; Diana Ross’s singular, instantly recognizable voice has spread romance and joy throughout the world; Martin Scorsese is a visionary filmmaker and a fearless artist; and Brian Wilson led not only a spectacularly popular rock group but also an era-defining transformation of the sound of music."

Members of the Kennedy Center's national artists committee, as well as past Honorees, made recommendations of possible Honorees. Among the artists making recommendations were Emanuel Ax, Dan Aykroyd, Jon Robin Baitz, Dave Brubeck, Kenny Chesney, Francis Ford Coppola, Melissa Etheridge, Laurence Fishburne, Renee Fleming, Anjelica Huston, India.Arie, Evgeny Kissin, Rob Marshall, Peter Martins, Terrence McNally, Helen Mirren, Anna Netrebko, Christopher Plummer, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Previous Kennedy Center Honorees Edward Albee, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, Sean Connery, Bill Cosby, Kirk Douglas, Elton John, Mike Nichols, Smokey Robinson and Steven Spielberg also made nominations.

Last year's honorees included composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, conductor Zubin Mehta, country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton, singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson and film director Steven Spielberg.

Steve Martin wrote and starred in such films as "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Man with Two Brains," "Roxanne," "L.A. Story" and "Bowfinger." His plays include Picasso at the Lapin Agile and The Underpants, and he also published the novellas "Shopgirl" and "The Pleasure of My Company." Martin was also one of the producers of the 2002 Broadway revival of The Elephant Man.

For more information about the Kennedy Center Honorees or the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, visit

Kennedy Center Announces Honorees

By Jacqueline Trescott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 11, 2007; 11:48 AM

Someone at the Kennedy Center may be time-traveling back to 1964 and cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway with the Supremes and the Beach Boys blasting.

The center announced this morning that it has selected Diana Ross, the lead singer of the phenomenal '60s girl group, and Brian Wilson, the driving force behind the joyful '60s boys group, to be among this year's Kennedy Center Honorees.

Also on the list, marking the 30th anniversary of the annual acknowledgment of cultural contributions, are director Martin Scorsese, pianist Leon Fleisher and actor and writer Steve Martin, who also won the center's 2005 Mark Twain Award for comedy.

Martin, who is filming "Pink Panther Deux" in Boston, released this statement: "I am grateful to the Kennedy Center for finally alleviating in me years of covetousness and trophy envy."

Stephen A. Schwarzman, the center's chairman, said the five 2007 honorees had "transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear and feel the performing arts."

Wilson, 65, set people singing when he formed a band in 1962 with his two younger brothers, Dennis and Carl, his cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. From their home in California, they captured a youthful sound of bounce and harmony in a series of hits -- "Surfin' " "Surfin' U.S.A.," "Surfer Girl" and "Little Deuce Coupe."

His compositions are admired by a cross-section of musical architects from Philip Glass to Paul McCartney to Burt Bacharach to the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan. Wilson's 1966 album "Pet Sounds" was considered a landmark recording.

Wilson is currently at the Royal Festival Hall in London, performing a new work called "That Lucky Old Sun."

The Beach Boys and the Supremes vied for control of young America's ears in the summer of 1964 with "Fun Fun Fun" and "Baby Love," and followed the next year with "Help Me, Rhonda" and "Stop! In the Name of Love."

Ross, 63, came out of Detroit's Brewster Housing Projects and joined her friends Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard in creating another new sound, this one an urban amalgam of rhythm and blues and pop ballads. Ross was the face of Motown. She led the trio through hit after hit -- "Come See About Me," "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and "I Hear a Symphony." Altogether with her solo and group careers, Ross has had 70 hit singles. She also established herself as an actress, earning an Oscar nomination for her interpretation of Billie Holiday in "Lady Sings the Blues." She also played Dorothy in the movie musical "The Wiz."

Fleisher, 79, who was born in San Francisco, made his Carnegie Hall debut at 16. He went on to an international career as a soloist, with his versions of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms concertos becoming classics. In 1965, after he lost the use of his right hand, Fleisher turned to teaching and conducting. He was a founder and director of the Kennedy Center's Theater Chamber Players and associate conductor of the Baltimore Symphony. In his long association with the Peabody Conservatory of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, he has trained another generation of artists, such as pianists Andre Watts and Yefin Bronfman. At 67, he regained use of his right hand. Tim Page, the classical music critic for The Washington Post, said, "I would rather listen to Fleisher, even in his current, delicate shape, than to most other pianists now before the public."

Martin, 62, a native of Waco, Tex., who was raised in Southern California, has projected a manic, urbane, smart persona through television and movie roles since the late 1960s. He is the "wild and crazy guy" from "Saturday Night Live." He is the put-upon parent from "Father of the Bride." He is also the refined collector of modern art of Picasso, Hopper, Hockney and Frankenthaler.

He has won acting nods from the New York Film Critics Association for his role in "All of Me" and Grammys for two comedy albums. He also won a Grammy for his banjo playing in the Earl Scruggs video "Foggy Mountain Breakdown."

Scorsese, 64, a native New Yorker, thought of being a priest and went to a seminary after high school. But he changed his mind and built a catalog of great films, many of which are considered the best of their time. "Raging Bull" was selected as the greatest American film of the 1980s by American Film and ranked second in another international poll of the top ten films of all time (behind "Citizen Kane"). He has produced stories of searing intensity and violence, including "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "GoodFellas," "Cape Fear," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Gangs of New York" and "The Departed," which brought him his first Oscar. He is in post-production on a documentary of the Rolling Stones called "Shine a Light!"

In a statement, Scorsese said, "I'm very honored to be receiving this recognition from the Kennedy Center and proud to be joining the company of the very distinguished individuals who have received this honor in years past."

Kennedy Center to honor Ross, Scorsese
By Robyn-Denise Yourse
September 11, 2007

Pianist Leon Fleisher, actor and writer Steve Martin, Motown legend Diana Ross, Oscar-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese and songwriter Brian Wilson are the recipients of this year's Kennedy Center Honors, officials at the performing arts center announced today.

The 30th annual event is set for Dec. 2 and will be broadcast on CBS Dec. 26. President and Mrs. Bush will receive 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 taping on Dec. 2. The Kennedy Center Honors will be bestowed the night before the gala at a State Department dinner, hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The awards will be presented the first week of December at a gala weekend in Washington. The two-hour show will be televised Dec. 26 on CBS.

Kennedy Props to Martin, Scorsese
by Josh Grossberg
Tue, 11 Sep 2007 12:19:47 PM PDT

We always knew he was a goodfella.

Fresh off his long-coming Oscar win, Martin Scorsese is among the quintet of legendary artists being feted at the 30th Annual Kennedy Cneter Honors.

Scorsese will be joined in the 2007 class by celebrated funnyman Steve Martin, '60s music icons Brian Wilson and Diana Ross and classical musical whiz Leon Fleisher.

"With their extraordinary talent, creativity and perseverance, the five 2007 honorees have transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear and feel the performing arts," Kennedy Center chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said during Tuesday's announcement "We will forever be thankful for the great gift they have shared with us."

Per tradition, the honorees will collect their hardware at a State Department dinner hosted by Condoleezza Rice on Dec. 1. The following evening, they'll meet with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at the White House, after which they'll head over to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to be saluted at a star-studded gala performance.

Here's a brief look at the class of 2007:

• Martin Scorsese: Considered by many to be America's foremost filmmaker, the 64-year-old Scorsese has contributed many a classic to the nation's film canon over a four-decade career. His credits include Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Color of Money, GoodFellas, The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York, The Aviator and The Departed, which won Best Picture and earned the helmer his first Academy Award in eight nominations. His trophy case also includes a Grammy Award and lifetime achievement awards from the Directors Guild and American Film Institute.

• Steve Martin: A gut-busting comedian, bestselling writer, award-winning playwright, master magician and virtuoso banjo player and composer, Martin first shot to fame in the late 1970s with his hugely popular Wild and Crazy Guy stand-up act and appearances on NBC's Saturday Night Live. He scored a hit single with "King Tut" and launched a film career that includes such box-office smashes as The Jerk, All of Me, Roxanne, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Parenthood and Father of the Bride. Martin has won three Grammys and an Emmy and has twice hosted the Academy Awards.

• Diana Ross: The supreme Ross is the most successful female music artist of the 20th century, having scored 18 number one hits, from "Stop in the Name of Love" with her fellow Supremes to the disco anthem "Upside Down" and "Endless Love," her popular duet with Lionel Richie. She won a Tony Award for her Broadway show An Evening with Diana Ross and received a special Golden Globe for her role as Billie Holiday in the biopic Lady Sings the Blues, which also earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Her latest album, I Love You, was released in the U.S. last January and peaked at number 32 on the pop charts.

• Brian Wilson: Hailed as a creative genius and incessant perfectionist, Wilson was the driving force behind the Beach Boys, writing such indelible summertime anthems as "Fun Fun Fun," "I Get Around," "Surfin' USA," "Help Me Rhonda," "California Girls" and "Good Vibrations." His landmark 1966 album, Pet Sounds, is considered one of the best rock albums ever, but it wasn't until he resuscitated the previously scrapped Smile project in 2004 that Wilson earned his first Grammy Award. Like Ross' Supremes, Wilson's Beach Boys are card-carrying members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

• Leon Fleisher: A child prodigy, Fleisher started playing piano at age four and quickly ascended the ranks of the classical world. By eight, he was playing with the New York Philharmonic and in his teens made a lauded series of recordings that culminated in his notable interpretations of Brahms and Beethoven. He's celebrated for overcoming focal dystonia, a neurological condition that caused him to lose the use of his right hand, and continuing to perform. He's also a conductor, a teacher and the subject of last year's Oscar-nominated documentary short Two Hands.

The Kennedy Center Honors were established in 1978 to pay tribute to excellence in the performing arts. Previous recipients include Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, James Stewart, Liz Taylor, Bill Cosby, Johnny Carson, Arthur Miller, Katharine Hepburn, Dolly Parton, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and James Brown.

CBS will air the gala as a prime-time two-hour special on Dec. 26.


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