Kennedy Center Honors People We've Never Heard Of

Sally Mercedes
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Kennedy Center Honors logoEvery year, the Kennedy Center Honors pays tribute to a select few for their lifetime contributions to the performing arts. In a star-studded event, this year's Honorees were Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Merle Haggard, Bill T. Jones, and Jerry Herman, with performances and appearances by Chita Rivera, Carol Channing, Steven Tyler, Sidney Poitier and several others.

Oprah & Paul are household names, but what have the rest of these men accomplished? No surprise that it's a heck of a lot ...

Merle Haggard, also known as The Hag, is a country music artist and songwriter. He was vocal about his political leanings and helped start a trend of patriotic songs back in the '60s. His last number one hit was more than 20 years ago, but he's been making a comeback in the last few years with his classic country sound.

Bill T. Jones is a top dancer and choreographer. He has choreographed for esteemed companies like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and also has his own company,
the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Most recently, Jones co-created, directed, and choreographed the hit musical Fela!, which enjoyed a one-year run on Broadway.

Jerry Herman is an accomplished musical theater composer and lyricist who worked on award-winning musicals Hello, Dolly! and La Cage Aux Folles, among others, Some of his works, like the title song in Hello, Dolly!, went on to become pop hits in their own right and a couple of his songs were recently used in the movie WALL-E.

As Kennedy Center Honorees, their work will definitely be remembered for years to come. And for that one special night, at least, all eyes were on them and their work. Well, and on No Doubt, who had an awesome performance as tribute to Paul McCartney. Check out the Beatles medley below.

What do you think of this year's collection of nominees?

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