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Oprah, Paul McCartney Receive Kennedy Center Honors

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto/ Discovery Communications, George Burns(WASHINGTON) -- The achievements of Oprah Winfrey and Paul McCartney in the entertainment field were celebrated Sunday night in Washington, D.C.  The talk show host and the former Beatle received the Kennedy Center Honors, which recognize recipients for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.

The other recipients for 2010 were iconic country singer and songwriter Merle Haggard, Broadway composer and lyricist Jerry Herman, and dancer/choreographer/director Bill T. Jones.

As President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama looked on from the balcony, Julia Roberts, John Travolta, Chris Rock and Barbara Walters all took the stage to salute Winfrey.  Walters called Winfrey the "best interviewer ever.  No one comes close...not even me."

Alec Baldwin began the tribute to McCartney by cracking jokes about the latter's days as a Beatle.  He said McCartney wasn't handed stardom like an America's Got Talent contestant, but rather had to work hard for it.

Following Baldwin's remarks, No Doubt performed ska-influenced covers of "Hello, Goodbye," "All My Loving" and "Penny Lane"; Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and Norah Jones duetted on "Maybe I'm Amazed"; Aerosmith's Steven Tyler belted out "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Carry That Weight," and "The End"; and James Taylor and gospel singer Mavis Staples, backed by a choir, sang a soft acoustic version of "Let It Be."  All of the musicians concluded the gala by singing the "na na na" refrain from "Hey Jude."

The Kennedy Center Honors gala will air as a two-hour special Dec. 28 on CBS.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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