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Cook, 84, made her Broadway debut in 1951, and later Leonard Bernstein cast her in his musical “Candide.” She topped that performance as Marian the Librarian in 1957’s hit musical “The Music Man,” for which she won a Tony Award.

A film tribute noted Cook went silent for a decade, due to drinking and depression, but she came back.

Glenn Close called her an icon for anyone who has worked on Broadway.

“I think we have the biggest respect for her because she really has survived, survived and prevailed,” Close said.

Another honoree was Sonny Rollins, 81, a jazz saxophonist who has shared the stage with Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, among others.

“America is the home of jazz. It’s what we started,” he said. “By the way, hip hop music is a part of jazz, believe it or not.”

Friend Bill Cosby marveled about how he has heard Rollins’ distinctive sax around the world in Greece, Hong Kong, Italy _ and found so many people who knew the musician’s work.

“All over the world, Sonny Rollins,” Cosby said.

Benny Golson and Herbie Hancock joined in playing some of Rollins’ tunes.

Fellow sax player President Bill Clinton said earlier that he has been a fan since the age of 15 or 16 when he bought his first Rollins LP and played it until it was worn out.

“His music can bend your mind, it can break your heart, and it can make you laugh out loud,” Clinton said. “He has done things with improvisation that really no one has ever done.”

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Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.

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Follow Brett Zongker at http://www.twitter.com/DCArtBeat