The Kennedy Center
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The Kennedy Center

Giving Thanks for Timeless Artistry

The 2019 Kennedy Center Honorees

This Thanksgiving, we’re giving thanks for the remarkable artists who will receive the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements.

Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire are a music institution. Over their five-decade history, the group has sold out concerts all around the globe, scored eight Number One hits, and sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, making EWF one of the best-selling musical groups of all time. The group has won an impressive nine Grammy Awards® including one for Lifetime Achievement in 2012. In 2000, EWF was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“Receiving the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor fills us with a lot of pride and gratitude. We have always wanted to make music that inspires and contributes to humanity, and this is acknowledgement that we have helped enrich lives and the arts.”

—Earth, Wind & Fire co-founders Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson

Sally Field

With a career that has spanned more than five decades, Sally Field is a two-time Academy Award® and three-time Emmy Award®–winning actress, who has portrayed dozens of iconic roles on both large and small screens. Highlights from her extensive film credits include Hello, My Name is Doris; Forrest Gump; Steel Magnolias; Mrs. Doubtfire; Soapdish; and more.

“I’ve spent my life exploring something I could never see, trying to grab hold of what it is to be alive, expressing myself using other people’s words. And now, to learn that I will be given one of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors, seems hard to fathom. I am grateful, humbled, and profoundly proud.”

— Sally Field

Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt is arguably the most versatile vocalist of the modern era, having forged a four-decade career which established her as one of the very important artists in one of the most creative periods in the history of modern music. She has broadened the latitudes of the pop singer, expanding the vocalist’s canvas to include country, Rock ’n’ Roll, big band, jazz, opera, Broadway standards, and Mexican and AfroCuban influences. With worldwide album sales of more than 50 million, at least 31 gold and platinum records, and 10 Grammy Awards®, Ronstadt is the consummate American artist.

“I am humbled beyond measure to be included in the company of this distinguished group of Honorees, many of whom have had a profound influence on my own development as an artist.”

— Linda Ronstadt

Sesame Street

In 1969, Sesame Street debuted to answer a single bold question: could television be used to educate children? Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the iconic program, brought together a barrier-breaking multicultural cast, deep early childhood education expertise, and the unforgettable Muppets of Sesame Street, and proved that it could. The Sesame team has been asking big questions — and reaching inspiring milestones — ever since. Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.

“This honor is a testament to all who helped create Sesame Street and those who continue to help us carry out our mission to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.”

— Joan Ganz Cooney and Dr. Lloyd Morrisett, co-founders of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street

Michael Tilson Thomas

Michael Tilson Thomas is an 11-time Grammy Award®-winning conductor and composer. His visionary leadership of the San Francisco Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra has breathed new life into classical music, and the graduates of the academy he created — the New World Symphony — are leading musical voices worldwide. He’s reimagined the concert experience through cutting-edge technology and is a champion of American music and musicians.

“I am honored that the Kennedy Center, which is a living center of both arts and ideals, has chosen to recognize my work. I hope that I can be thought of as a representative for all American classical musicians at this remarkable event.”

— Michael Tilson Thomas

We can’t wait to celebrate all of our Honorees at the 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors December 8. Tune in December 15 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS for the full broadcast of the show.

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