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28th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

Tina turns heads, Bennett shines and REDFORD stays natural

2005 Kennedy Center Honorees Singer Tony Bennett , dancer and teacher Suzanne Farrell, actress Julie Harris, actor, director and producer Robert Redford, and singer Tina Turner.

Between Sundance, the Oscars, the Golden Globes, Grammys and countless others, award season now seems to rival major league baseball in length. Nonetheless, the Kennedy Center Honors still stand out among the rest as the true pinnacle of career achievement. To be a Kennedy Center Honoree means you have essentially become an icon within your respective field. This year’s artists, like those before them, fit the bill. “We honor five extraordinary American artists whose unique and abundant contributions to our culture have transformed our lives,” said Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman.

Transformation has also been a part of Tina Turner’s life. Forget coming back in your next life as a tree or your favorite pet: Try Tina Turner. Let’s try that again: Tina Turner in the second half of her life. As longtime friend Oprah Winfrey pointed out in her introduction of the honoree at the 28th Kennedy Center Honors Gala, life was not always as it is today. Having suffered at the hands of her abusive husband during her Ike and Tina years, she walked out on fame and fortune to find solace. Instead, she became a cultural phenomenon.

Tony Bennett and Vanessa Williams

Young, spirited and gorgeous singer Beyonce’s on-stage rendition of Turner’s greatest hits recreated the singer so flawlessly that it was like a time warp. All her trademark moves were there from leg baring fashion to heartrending lyrics. But as one would expect of the Kennedy Center Honors, the performances were flawless from top top to bottom: The ballet performed for honoree Suzanne Farrell was breathtaking in its own right; Golden voice Tony Bennett savored his rock star status; Robert Redford’s boyish looks and charm made everyone want to book tickets for Sundance; and sweet, demure and unpretentious; Julie Harris was a classy presence, as was Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, who opened and closed the evening. Mystery of the night: Why did Karl Rove leave during a rendition of Tina Turner’s “East Flatbush?” Was it that one spin master misinterpreted another…?

Sibylle Szaggers and Robert Redford
Tina Turner

Julie Harris and Tony Bennett
Christine Schwarzman and Kid Rock

Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman
Oprah Winfrey

Suzanne Farrell
Les Moonves and Julie Che


The red carpet and after party

Who was there: Joan Rivers, Sen. Ted Kennedy, the Honorable Jim Symington, HLS honcho Michael Chertoff sans bodyguards, George Stevens, Jr. (who created the Honors in 1978 with Nick Vanoff and produced and co-wrote the 28th annual awards), Rep. Newt Gingrich, Mayor Anthony Williams and wife Diane, Lloyd and Ann Hand, Sen. Arlen Specter, Rep. Charlie Rangel, DC Councilwoman Carol Swartz, Sen. John Kerry, George and Liz Stevens, former Defense Secretary Bill Cohen and TV wife Janet Langhart, and Actor Ron Silver with his daughter. Who wasn’t: Tina Turner (we hear she and Oprah skipped on the dinner and went to Bistro Francais).

Queen Latifah
Christine Baranski

George Stevens, Jr. and Willie Nelson
Helen Mirren and Robert Redford

Kennedy Center Honors Brunch

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