2016 Kennedy Center Honors (Photos & Videos)

The 2016 Kennedy Center Honorees, front row, from left, Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, Martha Argerich and James Taylor, back row, from left, Joe Walsh, Don Henley and Timothy Schmit are photographed at the State Department for the Kennedy Center Honors gala dinner, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Introduction A group of cultural icons was honored Sunday night at the 39th annual Kennedy Center Honors. This year’s class included (front row) Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, Martha Argerich, James Taylor, (back row) Joe Walsh, Don Henley and Timothy Schmit of the Eagles along with late member Glenn Frey. See videos from the red carpet below, then click through the gallery for photo highlights. The event airs on CBS on Dec. 27. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree Al Pacino. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree Al Pacino. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Joe Walsh of The Eagles with his wife.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Joe Walsh of the Eagles with his wife. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Opera singer and General Director of the Washington National Opera, Placido Domingo. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Opera singer and General Director of the Washington National Opera, Placido Domingo. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree Mavis Staples.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree Mavis Staples. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree James Taylor with his wife Kim Taylor and their children. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree James Taylor with his wife Kim Taylor and their children. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree, Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, with her daughters. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree, Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, with her daughters. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Clive Davis arrives with former Kennedy Center Honoree Aretha Franklin.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Clive Davis arrives with former Kennedy Center Honoree Aretha Franklin. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Actor Laurence Fishburne. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actor Laurence Fishburne. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Actor Jeff Goldblum and his wife Emilie Livingston. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actor Jeff Goldblum and his wife Emilie Livingston. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara Bach.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara Bach. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Opera singer Denyce Graves. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Opera singer Denyce Graves. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Former Kennedy Center Honoree Itzhak Perlman and his wife, Toby Perlman.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Former Kennedy Center Honoree Itzhak Perlman and his wife, Toby Perlman. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Julie Chen with her husband, president of CBS, Leslie Moonves.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Julie Chen with her husband, president of CBS, Leslie Moonves. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Singer Garth Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Singer Garth Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Cal Ripken Jr. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Cal Ripken Jr. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Sam Moore with his wife, Joyce McRae. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Sam Moore with his wife, Joyce McRae. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Lynda Carter with her husband, Robert Altman. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Lynda Carter with her husband, Robert Altman. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Gayle King. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Gayle King. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Actress Chilina Kennedy, star of Broadway’s “Beautiful,” with her partner, actor Jacob James. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actress Chilina Kennedy, star of Broadway’s “Beautiful,” with her partner, actor Jacob James. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and his wife, Marcelle Pomerleau. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and his wife, Marcelle Pomerleau. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Singer Darius “Hootie” Rucker. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Singer Darius “Hootie” Rucker. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Singer Bob Seger with his wife Juanita Dorricott and their family. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Singer Bob Seger with his wife Juanita Seger and their family. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Singer Sheryl Crow. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Singer Sheryl Crow. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Actor Don Cheadle and his spouse Brigid Latrice Coulter.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actor Don Cheadle and his spouse Bridgid Coulter. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Actor/singer Brian Stokes Mitchell and his wife Allyson Tucker. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actor/singer Brian Stokes Mitchell and his wife Allyson Tucker. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Actor Chris O’Donnell and his wife Caroline Fentress. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actor Chris O’Donnell and his wife Caroline Fentress. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Actress Gabrielle Anwar and her husband Shareef Malnik. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actress Gabrielle Anwar and her husband Shareef Malnik. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
Pianist Yuja Wang.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Pianist Yuja Wang. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D - Calif.) and her husband Stewart Boxer. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D – Calif.) and her husband Stewart Boxer. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, www.shannonfinneyphotography.com) (Courtesy Shannon Finney)
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The 2016 Kennedy Center Honorees, front row, from left, Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, Martha Argerich and James Taylor, back row, from left, Joe Walsh, Don Henley and Timothy Schmit are photographed at the State Department for the Kennedy Center Honors gala dinner, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree Al Pacino. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Joe Walsh of The Eagles with his wife.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Opera singer and General Director of the Washington National Opera, Placido Domingo. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree Mavis Staples.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree James Taylor with his wife Kim Taylor and their children. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
2016 Kennedy Center Honoree, Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, with her daughters. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Clive Davis arrives with former Kennedy Center Honoree Aretha Franklin.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actor Laurence Fishburne. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actor Jeff Goldblum and his wife Emilie Livingston. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara Bach.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Opera singer Denyce Graves. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Former Kennedy Center Honoree Itzhak Perlman and his wife, Toby Perlman.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Julie Chen with her husband, president of CBS, Leslie Moonves.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Singer Garth Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Cal Ripken Jr. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Sam Moore with his wife, Joyce McRae. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Lynda Carter with her husband, Robert Altman. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Gayle King. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actress Chilina Kennedy, star of Broadway’s “Beautiful,” with her partner, actor Jacob James. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and his wife, Marcelle Pomerleau. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Singer Darius “Hootie” Rucker. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Singer Bob Seger with his wife Juanita Dorricott and their family. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Singer Sheryl Crow. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actor Don Cheadle and his spouse Brigid Latrice Coulter.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actor/singer Brian Stokes Mitchell and his wife Allyson Tucker. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actor Chris O’Donnell and his wife Caroline Fentress. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Actress Gabrielle Anwar and her husband Shareef Malnik. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
Pianist Yuja Wang.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D - Calif.) and her husband Stewart Boxer. (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi.  (Courtesy Shannon Finney, <a href="http://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com">www.shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
June 19, 2024 | WTOP's Jason Fraley on red carpet at Kennedy Center Honors (Jason Fraley)

WASHINGTON — They saw fire and rain. They took us there. It wasn’t personal; it was strictly business. And they checked out any time but could never leave.

Five arts legends received the nation’s highest creative honor Sunday night at the 39th annual Kennedy Center Honors, saluting actor Al Pacino, singer-songwriter James Taylor, pianist Martha Argerich, gospel and blues icon Mavis Staples and the best-selling country-rock band the Eagles.

The five honorees entered the Kennedy Center Opera House to standing ovations, as well as an extended applause for the final appearance of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. After the national anthem by Tony-winning Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell (“Kiss Me, Kate”), master of ceremonies Stephen Colbert kicked off the show with a clever comedy monologue.

The first artist of the night to be honored was the soothing voice of James Taylor. Former President Bill Clinton and renowned musician Yo-Yo Ma introduced touching video tributes, while Darius Rucker sang “Sweet Baby James” and “Carolina in My Mind,” Sheryl Crow performed “Fire and Rain,” and Garth Brooks got everyone standing and clapping to “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You.”

The second honoree was Al Pacino. Laurence Fishburne performed a Shakespeare tribute from one of Pacino’s favorite plays, Kevin Spacey did his best Pacino impression, Sean Penn discussed Pacino’s influence on a generation of actors, and Chris O’Donnell recreated his “Scent of a Woman” dance.

On the red carpet, Clive Davis and Aretha Franklin showed up alongside NBA great Isaiah Thomas, who said his 1980s Detroit Pistons stole their “Bad Boys” nickname from “Scarface” where Pacino famously said, “Say good night to the bad guy! The last time you’ll see a bad guy like this again.”

Meanwhile, Jeff Goldblum quoted his favorite Pacino lines and weighed in on “Scarface” vs. “The Godfather” and who would survive if Michael Corleone and Tony Montana went to the mats.

As for Don Cheadle, he says his favorite Pacino performance is in “Dog Day Afternoon.”

The third artist honored was the prolific gospel, soul and R&B star Mavis Staples. Don Cheadle introduced a video package filled with archival footage, Elle King sang “I’ll Take You There” and Bonnie Rait teamed with Andra Day for a duet of the civil rights anthem “Respect Yourself.”

On the red carpet, Staples was also saluted by Sam Moore of the “Soul Man” duo Sam & Dave.

After a brief intermission and a salute to John F. Kennedy’s upcoming 100th birthday, the show resumed with its fourth honoree: renowned pianist Martha Argerich. Jeff Goldblum introduced her video package, while previous honorees Itzhak Perlman and Plácido Domingo paid musical tribute.

Finally, the night closed by honoring the Eagles, comprised of Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy Schmit and the late Glenn Frey. The group was originally slated to be honored last year but had to pull out due to Frey’s declining health. Frey passed away in January, leaving his three remaining bandmates to enjoy touching tributes Sunday night by Ringo Starr, Kings of Leon, Vince Gill and Bob Seger.

Which other famous celebs showed up on the red carpet? Check out the remaining videos below:

June 19, 2024 | WTOP's Jason Fraley on red carpet at Kennedy Center Honors (Jason Fraley)
Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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