Sally Field, 'Sesame Street' to receive Kennedy Center award


WASHINGTON (AP) — Actress Sally Field and the long-running children's TV show "Sesame Street" are in the latest class of Kennedy Center Honors recipients.

Others chosen to receive the award for lifetime achievement in the arts include singer Linda Ronstadt, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and the pop, R&B musical group Earth, Wind and Fire.

The recipients announced today will be honored during a gala ceremony in early December. For the third straight year, the attendance of President Donald Trump seems likely to be a subject of speculation in advance of the event. Trump has skipped the past two celebrations. The first time, multiple recipients threatened to boycott the event if he attended.

The Kennedy Center's president, Deborah Rutter, said it was too early to tell whether Trump or first lady Melania Trump would attend.

"They are always invited," she said. "He is the president of the United States of America, and it would be good to have these extraordinary individuals acknowledged by the president."

Field, 72, was a television star at age 19 and went on to forge a distinguished career that included two Academy Awards and three Emmys. She starred last year in a Netflix miniseries called "Maniac."

"Sesame Street" debuted in 1969 and remains a force in children's educational television. The show now airs new episodes on HBO, and they are rebroadcast months later on the show's original home, PBS. In recent years, the creators have worked to embrace more modern issues, introducing a puppet named Julia with autism. The co-founders of "Sesame Street," Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett, will accept the award on behalf of the show.

Tilson Thomas, who has served as music director of the San Francisco Symphony for the past 14 years, has become particularly renowned for his interpretations of the entire works of Gustav Mahler.

Earth, Wind and Fire was originally formed in Chicago by lead singer Maurice White. The group drew elements from rhythm and blues, funk, and disco in a flashy crowd-pleasing mix that spawned eight No. 1 hits. Songs such as "September" and "Shining Star" remain in heavy rotation for both radio station programmers and wedding DJs.

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