- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 17, 2002

Paul McCartney, citing a personal scheduling conflict, will not receive the 2002 Kennedy Center honor this fall.

Instead, the ex-Beatle will be honored in 2003, the Kennedy Center confirmed yesterday.

The decision marks the first time in the honors' 25-year history that an award recipient postponed his or her acceptance. The center's Artist Committee will huddle next week to select a replacement.

In a statement released yesterday, Mr. McCartney expressed his "deepest regret and profound apologies" for being unable to accept the award as planned.

"The Kennedy Center understands and respects Sir Paul's sense of priority that places an inescapable personal obligation ahead of other commitments," said Kennedy Center Chairman James A. Johnson in a statement.

The 2002 honorees, announced July 31, include conductor James Levine of the Metropolitan Opera, two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones, screen icon Elizabeth Taylor and dance legend Chita Rivera.

The Honors Gala will go on, as scheduled, Dec. 8 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. The event will be shown as a two-hour prime-time special on CBS at a time and date to be announced.

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