This year's Kennedy Center Honors will recognize the achievements of seven artists across disciplines, from acting to comedy to dance.
Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Buddy Guy, ballerina Natalia Makarova, and Led Zeppelin members John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant will be honored this December for their "lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts," the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Wednesday.
"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," Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement.
Bluesman Buddy Guy, Rubenstein said, "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." Meanwhile, acting legend Hoffman has displayed an "unyielding commitment" while portraying a "wide variety of roles" has made him "one of the most versatile and iconoclastic actors of this or any other generation," Rubenstein added.
"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," he concluded.
The honorees will receive their Kennedy Center Honors medallions at a State Dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and then on December 2 they'll join the President and the First Lady for the annual gala.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle will receive the seven honorees, among others, at the White House before the festivities move to the Kennedy Center Opera House, where the group will be recognized with plenty of performances and tributes from their artistic peers.