- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2001

Julie Andrews, Van Cliburn, Quincy Jones, Jack Nicholson and Luciano Pavarotti make up the Kennedy Center Honors class of 2001, the performing-arts institution announced yesterday.
The selections, based on recommendations by a 93-member national artists committee, were made by the Kennedy Center's Board of Trustees.
The winners were tapped for their lifetime contributions to the arts in their respective fields.
"I'm absolutely thrilled and honored," Mr. Jones said during a phone interview. "This is as good as it gets."
Mr. Jones, 68, has won 26 Grammy Awards during a career that has seen him produce music for such entertainment heavyweights as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Barbra Streisand.
His resume includes scoring soundtracks for 33 films and producing the best-selling record of all time, Michael Jackson's 1982 album, "Thriller."
Mr. Jones presented Ray Charles with his Kennedy Centers Honors award in 1986. The composer says he did not consider himself a future Honors candidate, though.
"I never know what happens next," he says of his storied career. "I take nothing for granted."
Winning awards is a booster shot for one's self-confidence, he says, but his approach to his work calls upon spiritual nourishment, not just the welcome acceptance of his peers.
"If you keep that connection to a higher power, you'll never stop," he says.
Mr. Nicholson, 64, began his acting career in forgettable features from B-movie producer Roger Corman. His Oscar-nominated turn in 1969's "Easy Rider" forced his unforgettable visage upon the public's consciousness. The actor with the inimitable eyebrow arch has taken roles ranging from the maniacal innkeeper in 1980's "The Shining" to the reclusive and obnoxious writer in 1997's "As Good as It Gets," a portrait that won him an Oscar.
The actor also earned Oscars for 1975's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and 1983's "Terms of Endearment."
Mr. Cliburn, 67, rose to national prominence with his 1958 victory in the first Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow, a triumph particularly sweet given the Cold War raging between the Soviet Union and the United States.
The event, which culminated in a ticker-tape parade in New York City, marked the beginning of a career characterized by his tearing down barriers between people across the world and the arts.
The pianist went on to become a force as both a touring musician and a recording artist. He continues to perform live while encouraging young musicians through his Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, each year.
"I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Board of Trustees and the advisory committee that they have considered me worthy of this distinguished honor," Mr. Cliburn says in a statement.
Miss Andrews, 65, may be etched forever in our minds scampering over the verdant grass in 1965's "The Sound of Music." The multifaceted performer's career, though, spans a half-century, beginning with a 1946 solo performance in front of Queen Mother Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.
Her first Broadway musical, "The Boyfriend," launched her career. Her second, "My Fair Lady," made her an icon.
Her lengthy film career includes the title role in the 1964 family classic "Mary Poppins." This summer, she appeared in "The Princess Diaries."
The British-born performer, who has earned an Oscar and eight Emmys during her career, was made a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth.
However, her singing voice abandoned her after a 1997 surgery to remove noncancerous throat nodules. The operation left her without her trademark four-octave range, possibly ending her lengthy singing career. She continues to perform, though, and hopes her voice will return enough for her to sing again.
Mr. Pavarotti, 65, born in Modena, Italy, has spent the past 40 years sharing his operatic pipes with audiences worldwide.
Whether as part of the Three Tenors — with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras — or with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, Mr. Pavarotti's unmistakable tenor has become a symbol of opera.
Some of his most memorable performances have come before stadium audiences, in venues typically known for major sporting events or rock-star acts. He continues to perform across the globe and stands as the recording industry's best-selling classical artist.
The awards gala will be held Dec. 2 at the Kennedy Center Opera House and telecast later in the month by CBS. The five recipients will receive their awards Dec. 1 at a State Department dinner with Secretary of State Colin Powell as host.
Last year's Kennedy Center Honors recipients were Mikhail Baryshnikov, Chuck Berry, Mr. Domingo, Clint Eastwood and Angela Lansbury.

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