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Paul McCartney is one of the most successful musical performers of all time. The singer, songwriter, and musician was raised in Liverpool, England. He first rose to fame as a member of the Beatles.
He and John Lennon began playing music together at the age of fifteen. They played in a band called the Quarrymen.
Then, in 1960, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison began performing under the name The Beatles. Drummer, Ringo Starr, joined the group in 1962.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, has inducted Paul McCartney twice – once as a member of The Beatles, and again, as a solo artist. More than thirty of his songs have been number-one hits in the United States.
Oprah Winfrey was born in the South, in a rural part of the State of Mississippi. Her parents were a soldier and an unwed teenage mother. The grandmother who raised her taught her to read at an early age.
Oprah Winfrey made herself into a billionaire as a talk-show host, actress, producer, author, and magazine publisher. Her daytime talk show changed American television and made her one of the world’s richest women.
Oprah has announced that she will retire her talk show in the Fall of 2011. She is expected to launch her own cable channel.
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts normally honors performing artists. It says Oprah Winfrey is being recognized for her “soul-stirring performances on screen.”
She has appeared in several movies. She was nominated for a best-actress Oscar for her first movie, the 1985 film, “The Color Purple.”
And she is not the first television host to receive a Kennedy Center honor. Late-night TV host, Johnny Carson, was among the honorees in 1993.
This is the thirty-third year that the Kennedy Center Honors have been awarded. The ceremony is recorded for television and raises a lot of money for the Kennedy Center. Presidents attend the event and tickets can cost as much as $5,000.
Most years, there are five Kennedy Center honorees. But there have been up to seven people chosen in some years.
Honorees are not always American. They can include foreign artists who have had a major effect on American culture.
The process for choosing the honorees begins with nominations made by about 100 artists. From those nominations, Kennedy Center executives produce a list of about fifteen names.
Then, seven members of the Center’s executive committee make the final choices. The process does not include an official vote.