CAROLINE KENNEDY RETURNS AS HOST OF "THE 28TH ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS," TO BE BROADCAST DEC. 27 ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK
Tony Bennett, Suzanne Farrell, Julie Harris, Robert Redford and Tina Turner
Are This Year's Honorees at the Gala to Be Taped Dec. 4
THE 28TH ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, a new entertainment special, will be broadcast Tuesday, Dec. 27 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Caroline Kennedy hosts for the third consecutive year.
Singer Tony Bennett, dancer and teacher Suzanne Farrell, actress Julie Harris, actor, director and producer Robert Redford and singer Tina Turner will receive honors for the year 2005.
The 2005 Honorees will be saluted by stars from the world of the performing arts at a gala performance in the Kennedy Center's Opera House, which will be attended by the President of the United States and Mrs. Bush and by artists from around the world.
The President and the First Lady 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. The 2005 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concludes with a supper dance in the Grand Foyer. The Kennedy Center Honors will be bestowed the night before the gala on Saturday, December 3, at a State Department dinner, hosted by the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
The Honors recipients are selected each year by the Board of Trustees of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures and television. 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 a balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.
Tony Bennett was born on August 3, 1926 in Astoria, New York. There is no one, anywhere, quite like him. His rags to riches story is also a tale of the good life, the generous embodiment of American music at its sweetest and its best. Frank Sinatra once praised him as "the best singer in the business." From San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel to New York's Carnegie Hall, from Pearl Bailey's Greenwich Village show to the MTV Music Video Awards, holding the stage in style on his own or alongside everyone from Bill Evans and Count Basie to Elvis Costello and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The sheer breadth of his long career is dazzling. Here is an artist who enjoyed his first singing gig at the age of 10, on stage with New York's legendary Mayor Fiorello La Guardia at the 1936 opening of the Triborough Bridge. After six decades, many gold and platinum records, and 10 Grammys including a Lifetime Achievement Award, Tony Bennett scored an unprecedented hit with his own MTV "Unplugged." "Tony Bennett has not bridged the generation gap," enthused The New York Times, "he has demolished it." His artistry continually reveals the timeless gifts of the Great American Songbook: not only the brightest gems of Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, and Irving Berlin, but also "Because of You," "Rags to Riches," "Stranger in Paradise," "I've Got The World on a String," "The Best Is Yet to Come," "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," "The Good Life," "Steppin' Out" and a treasure of other unforgettable songs make up a growing legacy that so far includes more than 50 million albums sold. With his husky warm and easy tenor, with his always surprising jazzy phrasing and his pitch-perfect sense of emotional truth, the man makes music matter.
"I'm very spoiled," confessed Bennett, "I never sing songs I don't like." He was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto and attended the High School of Industrial Arts in Manhattan, where he was able to follow his twin loves of painting and music. He worked as a singing waiter, and later he sang with military bands. Turning 18, he enlisted in the army and served in combat in France and Germany. He later sang with the American Forces Network Orchestra and studied music in Heidelberg University. Back home after the war, thanks to the G.I. Bill, he studied voice at the American Theatre Wing. Singing came easy: He had grown up listening to and admiring Crosby, Cole, Garland, Sinatra -- and he knew how a song should be sung. A string of jobs led to a break opening for Pearl Bailey in Greenwich Village in 1949. Bob Hope came one night, liked the kid and asked him to sing in his show at the Paramount. Tony at the time was billed as Joe Bari, a name Hope did not care for. "I told him my name was Anthony Dominick Benedetto," recalled the singer years later, "and Bob said 'We'll call you Tony Bennett'."
In 1950, he cut a demo album that brought him to the attention of Mitch Miller and Columbia Records. In 1951 Tony Bennett had his first hit, "Because of You." It soared to the top of the pop charts and stayed there for 10 weeks. "Cold, Cold Heart," "Rags to Riches," and Stranger in Paradise," all chart-toppers, saw Bennett weather the dawn of the rock and roll revolution in the 1950s, staying in the Billboard Top 40 and branching out into television with his own variety show in 1956.
Bennett turned to jazz, at the suggestion of his pianist Ralph Sharon, beginning in 1957 with the album Beat of My Heart -- a critically acclaimed collaboration with Herbie Mann, Nat Adderley, Art Blakey, and other prominent jazz instrumentalists. He then became the first male vocalist to front the Count Basie Orchestra, creating two now-classic albums: Basie Swings, Bennett Sings (1958) and In Person! Tony Bennett and the Count Basie Orchestra (1959). A landmark 1962 jazz concert at Carnegie Hall boasted 44 songs that became his, including "I've Got The World on a String" and "The Best Is Yet To Come." Also in 1962, Bennett released "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," which spent a year on the charts, won multiple Grammys and became an American classic.
The turbulent 1960s saw Bennett exploring, everything from a movie role in "The Oscar" to a musical dip into psychedelia, Tony Bennett Sings the Songs of Today!. Still, it was the songs not just of today but of always that reclaimed his attention, and his single "What Is This Thing Called Love?" was just one of the decidedly un-psychedelic hits Bennett had from a pair of albums in collaboration with Bill Evans.
It was Tony's son Danny who thought to showcase his dad for younger audiences, booking guest spots on the David Letterman show, "The Simpsons" and on MTV. Dressed in a tux and singing as he had for another generation in Carnegie Hall, Tony was very much at home. His music video of "Steppin' Out With My Baby" remains one of the unlikeliest and most likable of all MTV hits. His 1994 Unplugged won the top Grammy for Album of the Year. His latest string of Grammy winners was just getting going, with affectionate, jazzy tributes to Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, in addition to very special albums dedicated to Fred Astaire and Frank Sinatra: Steppin' Out and Simply Frank.
A champion of the civil rights movement, Bennett had spoken out against racial segregation while he served in the army in the 1940s and, in 1965, participated in the historic marches to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. Later, he also would join the artistic boycott of apartheid South Africa. Bennett also has raised millions of dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
He never abandoned his painting and still finds time to work with brushes when he is not singing. His original paintings each year are reproduced as greeting cards to raise funds for the American Cancer Foundation. Painting under his real name Benedetto, he has exhibited at prestigious galleries and has received commissions from the United Nations, where his art hangs. When his friend David Hockney famously drew Bennett, the singer returned the favor with a painted Homage to Hockney that hangs permanently in the Butler Institute of American Art. In 2001, Bennett and his partner Susan Crow paid tribute to yet another friend and founded the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts in Queens, a public high school dedicated to teaching the performing arts.
"I need two lifetimes," Tony Bennett has said. "I'll never get it finished." Perhaps. But what he has given us so far is immensely good.
Suzanne Farrell was born on August 16, 1945 in Mount Healthy, Ohio. Throughout the nearly three decades of her performing career, she was the most influential American ballerina of the late 20th century, as well as the exquisite muse of one of the undisputed masters of ballet. At the dawn of the 21st Century, she is fast emerging as one of the most inspiring ballet teachers and directors. Her own ballet company is young; her legacy is timeless.
George Balanchine handpicked Farrell for his company when she was only 16, and guided her through the whole of his dance universe. For a generation, she danced and redefined the standards of everything from one of the earliest Balanchine ballets, Apollo, to his very last creation, Variations for Orchestra. "In the extremes of its range, her technique was hair-raising," wrote Arlene Croce in the New Yorker, "it seems safe to say we shall never see anything like it again." In Balanchine's own estimate, she was like a Stradivarius to his music. Perhaps it was Balanchine who best brought out not only Farrell's musicianship, clarity and ineffable abandon, but also that rarest, old-fashioned thing called soul. Through her example, and now through her own company, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, she is giving Balanchine back to us all.
She was born Roberta Sue Ficker and began ballet classes at the age of eight in the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. At 14, she was spotted by New York City Ballet's Diana Adams, who suggested that the young dancer go to New York and audition for Balanchine. She did, on her 15th birthday. Two days later, on Balanchine's recommendation, she received a scholarship to the School of American Ballet and a Ford Foundation scholarship to cover her tuition at the Professional Children's School. By the fall season of 1961, after less than a year of study, she was invited to join the corps of the New York City Ballet. She changed her name to Suzanne Farrell, and her first role with the company was that of the dark Angel in Balanchine's Serenade.
What happened next was an alchemy of genius. Balanchine recognized a kindred spirit in the young ballerina, who danced only leading roles after her debut season. Her repertory eventually would include more than 100 ballets. Among her Balanchine premieres were Movements for Piano and Orchestra in 1963, quickly followed by the sublime Meditation. To celebrate her joining the ranks of principals in 1965, Balanchine created his full-length Don Quixote for Farrell and cast himself opposite his muse as Cervantes' mad, loving knight. Farrell brought new accents and revealed new facets of Balanchine's masterpieces Concerto Barocco, Symphony in C and Apollo, even as new work followed brilliant new work: Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, the "Diamonds" section of Jewels, Metastaseis & Pithoprakta, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue and Requiem Canticles. These last three miraculously were all in 1968, just before Farrell struck out on her own exploring new ballet frontiers and briefly joined Maurice Bejart's Ballet of the 20th Century in Brussels. Her contributions there were unforgettable too, including leading roles in Bejart's Sonate, Nijinsky, Clown of God, Mass for the Present Time and I trionfi.
But Farrell could not stay away from her native land for long, and her 1975 return to NYCB was triumphal. Jerome Robbins made his Piano Concerto in G for her, and Balanchine showered her with the torrid, uncharacteristically theatrical Tzigane as well as with Union Jack, Chaconne, Vienna Waltzes, Walpurgisnacht, the revised Mozartiana and the ineffably lovely Dabisdbuendlertaenze. Balanchine's death in 1983 was the end of an era, but not the end of Farrell's dancing. She was a young, breezy Sugar Plum Fairy in Balanchine's Nutcracker marking the company's 1,000th performance of the Christmas classic. Even after a hip-replacement operation, she returned in 1987 with renewed �lan and refinement to Vienna Waltzes. Farrell continued Balanchine's living legacy, constantly challenging herself and her art to ever-higher standards, until her retirement from the stage in 1989 -- with the long and lovely solo Balanchine made for her in Vienna Waltzes. Her performances with New York City Ballet numbered more than 2,000. Her influence was immeasurable.
Her work, however, was far from over. In 1993, the Kennedy Center invited Farrell to give a series of master classes, unassumingly billed as Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, giving advanced students the chance to study with this unique artist. The intensive program, now in its 12th season, has grown into a model of arts education for America's young people. For the Kennedy Center's 25th Anniversary in 1995, Farrell gathered a troupe of national and international dancers for an unprecedented gala week of Balanchine in the Opera House. Then, taking her cue from her formidable mentors, Farrell again collaborated with the Kennedy Center for Suzanne Farrell Stages the Masters of the 20th Century. This celebration of the genius of Balanchine, Bejart and Robbins took Farrell's fledgling ballet troupe from the nation's capital to an East Coast tour for five weeks. Success, acclaim and genuine warmth from audiences everywhere followed, and by 2000 The Suzanne Farrell Ballet became a full-fledged company at the Kennedy Center, making its debut during the Balanchine Celebration. Here was Balanchine for the 21st Century, a legacy alive and thrilling. Here was Farrell's gift.
Suzanne Farrell has worked for the Balanchine Trust, staged Balanchine ballets from America to Russia, served on the New York State Council for the Arts and the Princess Grace Foundation. Her 1990 autobiography Holding On to the Air, co-written with fellow dancer Toni Bentley and reissued in 2002, remains a font of wisdom for dance lovers. Anne Belle and Deborah Dickson's film of her life, Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1997. Farrell has been a tenured professor of dance at Florida State University since 2000, and in 2003 she received the National Medal of the Arts.
"A dancer's life on stage is short. Teaching extends my dance life," Farrell wrote. "Every time I teach -- whether students or my company -- I inwardly giggle as I hear George's voice long ago: 'You will all teach one day!'"
Julie Harris was born on Dec. 2, 1925 in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. She is widely regarded as the most respected and honored stage actress in America. Playwrights have created roles for her, critics have lavished praise on her, audiences have adored her -- in the theater, in the movies, on television. For decades, her awards for her stage performances in "I Am a Camera" (1952), "The Lark" (1956), "Forty Carats" (1969), "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln" (1973) and "The Belle of Amherst" (1977), gave her the distinction of winning more Tony Awards than any other performer. Her 10 nominations were likewise unequalled. Then in 2002, she was honored with yet another Tony -- a Lifetime Achievement Award -- securing her place in the record books for decades to come.
Most tellingly, her greatest fans have been the playwrights and directors who have witnessed the miracle of a Julie Harris performance from the inside out. Harold Clurman, who directed her breakthrough performance in the stage version of "The Member of the Wedding," described her as "a nun whose church is the stage." Elia Kazan, her director on the film "East of Eden," called her "an angel�kind and patient and everlastingly sympathetic." James Prideaux, who wrote "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln" for her, called her "a bride of the theater." The playwright Donald Freed, author of "The Countess," in which she portrayed Tolstoy's wife, said, "No matter what character she plays, there is something transcendent about her performance. And no matter how transcendent, there is also something poignantly human."
Indeed for more than half a century, Julie Harris has been recognized as the soul of the American theater. She is that rare artist who has devoted her life to the stage -- on Broadway and off, and in theaters, large and small, throughout the nation. She says she knew she would do so from the very beginning: "The Stage! I knew it was where I wanted to be. I loved it all. It became this great source of nourishment, spiritual nourishment, for me. I found everything in life there."
Harris was introduced to the theater by her parents who regularly took her into Detroit on weekend afternoons the see the Broadway plays and players coming through town on national tours. At 20, she made her own Broadway debut in a comedy seemingly named to describe her talent: "It's a Gift." It ran just over a month, and for five more years she tried to get noticed in a variety of Broadway productions that included revivals of Shakespeare and Synge, and new plays now long forgotten. But in 1950 she opened in the stage adaptation of Carson McCullers' "The Member of the Wedding." She was 24, and spent more than a year playing a 12-year-old, and her success was absolute. Brooks Atkinson wrote in The New York Times: "Julie Harris gives an extraordinary performance -- vibrant, full of anguish and elation." Suddenly she was a star on Broadway. In 1952, she also played the part in the film version, was nominated for an Oscar and became a household name across America. Her next stage outing back in New York was equally brilliant. As the first Sally Bowles, in John van Druten's "I Am a Camera," she won her first Tony Award. Not surprising. She startled theatergoers with her miraculous transformation, going from precocious Southern tomboy one season to desperate Berlin cabaret singer the next.
Throughout the next two decades, Broadway was her playground and her home, and that astonishing versatility she displayed early on would become one of the hallmarks of her career. Rare is the actress who can triumph in one-woman shows, Restoration comedy, French farce, light comedy, historical drama and even a musical. Her vacations from Broadway found her playing the great classical roles (including Juliet and Ophelia) at Stratford in Canada and the New York Shakespeare festivals.
Harris has also made a career of bringing to the stage the lives of historical women, building over the years a rich gallery filled with luminous portraits, exciting in their boldness, often heartbreaking in their vulnerability: Joan of Arc, Mary Todd Lincoln, Isak Dinesen, Florence Nightingale, Nora Joyce (wife of James), Dora Carrington (of Bloomsbury fame), Fanny Osbourne (wife of Robert Louis Stevenson), the actress June Havoc, Queen Victoria (on television), and perhaps most famously, Emily Dickinson in her one-woman hit, "The Belle of Amherst."
Some of her best work has also been for television and theatrical films. In the movies, she followed her Oscar for "The Member of the Wedding," by appearing opposite James Dean in "East of Eden," bringing her Sally Bowles to the screen, and working not often, but colorfully in, among others, "Requiem for a Heavyweight," "The Haunting," "Harper," "You're a Big Boy Now," "Reflections in a Golden Eye," "The Hiding Place," "The Bell Jar" and "Gorillas in the Mist." On television she played Ibsen ("A Doll's House"), Shaw ("Pygmalion") and Shakespeare ("Hamlet"), and, for seven wildly convoluted years, in a little California cul-se-sac known as "Knots Landing," where she portrayed the eccentric audience favorite Lillimae Clements from 1981 to 1987.
Television may have brought her the widest fame, but the stage always gave her the most intense joy and once her job on the prime time soap opera was over, she returned to the theater with a vengeance. She toured the country in "Driving Miss Daisy" and "The Gin Game" and starred in a revival of "The Glass Menagerie" on Broadway. Now in her seventies, she continues to commission plays from playwrights and to appear in venues huge and small because, as she says, "What is thrilling about the theater is that it's a forum where people come and for those two or three hours belong to something, to ideas, to a feeling of being a member of the human race."
"I want to touch people with the meaning of life," she adds. And she has.
Robert Redford was born Aug. 18, 1937 in Santa Monica, Calif. He has a career that could fill three normal lives. He is an actor praised early on for his work on the stage and in television and then for four decades' worth of fine performances in films. He is a director and producer of acclaimed motion pictures. He is also an intensely committed champion of independent film. Through his founding and unflagging support of the Sundance Institute, the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Channel, and a nationwide chain of Sundance movie theaters, Robert Redford has fostered a generation of independent American filmmakers.
A screen actor at the top of his career in 1980, Robert Redford felt it was time to give something back to the film business and so he founded the Sundance Institute, a multi-disciplinary arts organization dedicated to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their new work. His goal was to create a film community where directors, writers, actors and composers could realize their talent in an atmosphere of collaboration, where two basic freedoms were guaranteed: the freedom to have a singular vision and the freedom to experiment in putting that vision on film. "Sundance created an opportunity of education through work that didn't exist before," says Redford. Since its inception, the Institute has supported nearly 1,000 artists through its training programs and thousands more through the annual Sundance Film Festival. Some of the most compelling films of recent years have been developed and premiered at Sundance: "Hoop Dreams," "Smoke Signals," "Central Station," "Three Seasons," "Boys Don't Cry" and "Love & Basketball." The movie that launched the whole modern independent film movement -- "Sex, Lies & Videotape" -- was first seen at the Sundance Festival.
Still, Redford is first and foremost known the world over as one of the great movie stars.
Because of his golden screen image and his well-known love of the great outdoors, it is not a surprise to learn he was born in Santa Monica, Calif., sun-kissed land of sand and surf, where for a kid with stars in his eyes, Hollywood is just a joyride away. What is surprising, though, is that in fact, he was the son of a milkman, raised in a grim neighborhood where life during the depression and World War II was bleak. The young Redford spent what little free time he had not at the beach or going to the movies, but at the library. His favorite reading material: comic strips. There he learned about storytelling through words and pictures.
His first artistic ambition was to be an artist in Europe and in fact for a while he led the painter's life in Paris. He was also an oil worker, and he attended school on a baseball scholarship. Finally deciding he wanted to act, he moved to New York. Any serious young actor trying to make it in New York in the late '50s did TV drama, and Redford appeared in his fair share of televised plays. They were, in fact, his acting school and simultaneously he made his Broadway debut in 1959 in the comedy "Tall Story." More romantic comedies followed leading up to his 1963 appearance in a classic of the genre -- Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park," a huge success that made Hollywood take notice. He had already made his film debut a year earlier in "War Hunt," but now the offers came steadily. By the mid-sixties he was working constantly -- "Inside Daisy Clover" and "This Property Is Condemned" with Natalie Wood, "The Chase" with Marlon Brandon and Jane Fonda -- none were safe choices. But then, reuniting with Fonda, he made the screen version of his great stage success, "Barefoot in the Park."
His film career took off in earnest when he starred opposite Paul Newman in the stunningly successful "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Expertly blending comedy and an ambiguous love triangle told the story of how "the man" hunts down and kills the two outlaws in a freeze-framed bloodbath. The revisionist Western was perfectly timed to ride the tail end of the anti-establishment cynical sixties, and gave Redford the anti-hero creed needed to become one of the biggest stars of the '70s. He made the character-driven Westerns, "Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here" and "Jeremiah Johnson;" the heist comedy "The Hot Rock;" the super-production literary adaptation "The Great Gatsby;" and the nostalgic adventure "The Great Waldo Pepper." However, five iconic films from that era stand out. Punctuated by awesome skiing sequences, 1969's "Downhill Racer" is an existentialist meditation on the conflict between the independent-minded sports hero and the big-business that controls his world. "The Candidate," released in 1972, is a razor-sharp dissection of the inner-workings of mid-century American politics. For many, 1973's "The Way We Were," with Barbra Streisand, the classic romantic melodrama. "Three Days of the Condor" is a paranoid thriller that perfectly captures the mood of the Watergate era. "All the President's Men," which Redford produced and starred in as Bob Woodward opposite Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein, is the intelligent dramatization of the investigation in the Watergate burglary, which showcases one of Redford's finest performances.
"All the President's Men" marks a major turning point in Redford's career. He continued making movies, including "Brubaker," "The Electric Horseman," "The Natural," "Out of Africa," but his interests shifted to directing and to his beloved Sundance Institute.
In 1980 he made his directorial debut with "Ordinary People," which won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and best Supporting Actor for the young star of the film, Timothy Hutton. He went on the direct "The Milagro Beanfield War," "A River Runs Through It," "The Legend of Bagger Vance," "The Horse Whisperer" and the acclaimed
That was also the year he established the Sundance Institute, which under his leadership continues to invigorate American and international film. The founding values of independence and creative risk-taking define and guide the work of the Sundance Institute.
They have always defined and continue to guide the work of its founder, Robert Redford: actor, director, producer and godfather to independent film.
Tina Turner was born Nov. 26, 1939 in Brownsville, Tennessee. She helped put the soul back in rock and roll, fused genres and raised American popular music to frenzied levels of international adulation and excitement. She embodies the best and the earthiest meaning of women in rock. Her Cinderella tale is a constant source of inspiration to generations of fans. The whole world seems to know her story, both from her best-selling autobiography I, Tina and from the Oscar-nominated film based on that book. But there is always more to Tina Turner, who has overcome what to many would seem insurmountable odds and each time has risen like the phoenix in full splendor. Hers is a life of both tragedy and hope, of rising and falling stardom, of adversity and triumph, of faith and of renewal. It is a tale of the glory of American song.
"Like Billie Holiday in her later years," wrote the critic Stephen Holden in The New York Times, "she conveys a wounded but indomitable sensuality." Over the decades, her voice has grown in its raw and grainy, leathery power even as it has remained firmly grounded in rock-solid gospel technique." Turner herself famously divides her singing moods as either "nice and easy" or "nice and rough," at once pleading and defiant, primal in its power. She is a feminist model, a champion of equal rights, a sexy fighter who makes her case simply by singing and singing beautifully, whose career has paved the way for other women's paths to stardom from Janis Joplin to Madonna. From the now historic "Proud Mary" and the autobiographical "Nutbush City Limit," right through "Acid Queen," "Private Dancer," "We Don't Need Another Hero," "What's Love Got To Do With It?" and whatever she chooses to sing next, Tina Turner is a refreshing font of affirmation and surprise. And, in her sixties as in her teens, she remains the truest rock diva of all.
She was born Anna Mae Bullock, the daughter of migrant workers who soon abandoned her to the care of her grandmother. She grew up dirt-poor in rural Nutbush, worked in the cotton fields as a child, and found a ray of hope while singing in her church choir. Following the death of her grandmother, the youngster moved in with relatives in St. Louis, just before turning 17. It was there that she met Ike Turner, whose hot dance band The Kings of Rhythm headlined the bill at St. Louis' Manhattan Club. It was Ike who renamed Anna Mae, Tina, soon changing the band's name to the Ike and Tina Turner Review and creating what Richard Harrington in The Washington Post has called "one of the most explosive stage shows in America." With Ike and Tina's 1969 "River Deep, Mountain High" and crucially with their 1971 interpretation of John Fogerty's rambunctious and saucy "Proud Mary," the leggy girl with the raspy belt of a voice became an icon of rock and roll.
As Tina Turner's star rose, Ike Turner's behavior towards his wife grew abusive, his artistic control erratic. Tina began breaking away on her own, starring as the Acid Queen in Ken Russell's film version of "The Who's Tommy," exploring new musical avenues she would pursue only later, finding private solace in the Buddhist faith. She left the abusive marriage in 1976, with only the clothes on her back, penniless and unsure of the prospects of a career on her own. The actress Ann-Margret, a friend from the "Tommy" set, took her in. Other friends, such as Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger, helped in staging her comeback. And what a comeback it was, a success that eclipsed even her glory days as half of the Ike and Tina Turner Review.
A Grammy winner once before, Tina Turner on her own went on to win six more Grammys. "Private Dancer," "Better Be Good to Me" and "What's Love Got To Do With It?" would sell more than 11 million copies. Her incandescent cameo in "Live Aid," her starring role opposite Mel Gibson in "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," and best-selling autobiography put Tina Turner back in the spotlight, strutting in high heels and rasping from the heart. "I may be bruised," she sang, "but I ain't broke." And, if the lyrics are true that we don't need another hero, we certainly need this unique musical heroine, Tina Turner, to sing songs and celebrate life for America and the world.
George Stevens Jr., who created the Honors in 1978 with Nick Vanoff, will produce and co-write the show for the 28th consecutive year. The Honors telecast has been honored with five Emmys for Outstanding Program as well as the Peabody Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television. THE 28th ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS is sponsored in part by General Motors and TIAA-CREF.
RATING: To Be Announced