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Kennedy Center honours George Clooney, U2

At a reception for this year’s Kennedy Center Honours, President Joe Biden has praised the honorees’ talents and says they embody the spirit of the US.

December 5, 2022
By Jeff Mason and Daphne Psaledakis
5 December 2022

Actor George Clooney, singer-songwriter Amy Grant, singer Gladys Knight, composer Tania León and rock group U2 have been celebrated for their contributions to the arts at a White House reception ahead of the Kennedy Center Honours show.

The event, now in its 45th year, recognises stars from music, stage and screen for their contributions to American culture.

At a reception for the five honourees at the White House beforehand, President Joe Biden addressed each personally, praising their individual talents and said they embodied the spirit of the country.

“To see each other, to see ourselves in one another, to unite in common cause. Tonight we celebrate a truly exceptional … group of artists,” Biden said.

The room was packed with celebrities, the White House’s second star-studded event

In recent days, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon were seated next to each other, in front of journalist Katie Couric. In the front row former Washington DC police officer Michael Fanone, who was beaten defending the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, was seated next to singer Eddie Vedder.

Clooney, an actor and filmmaker who played a doctor on the popular television show ER before launching a movie career that earned him two Academy Awards, has also drawn praise for his humanitarian work.

Grant rose to prominence as a contemporary Christian music singer who later crossed over to pop stardom, amassing six Grammy Awards.

Knight, who has won seven Grammy Awards, is famous for hit songs including Midnight Train to Georgia as the lead singer of The Pips, which became Gladys Knight And The Pips in 1962.

Cuban-born León is a conductor as well as a composer, whose orchestral piece Stride won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Irish band U2, with members Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr, has won 22 Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. 

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