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Meryl Streep Feted at Kennedy Center Honors Gala

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI(WASHINGTON) -- Meryl Streep was one of five entertainers whose careers were celebrated Sunday night at the 34th Kennedy Center Honors gala in Washington, D.C. The recipients -- who also included "Sweet Caroline" singer Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, saxophonist Sonny Rollins and Broadway singer Barbara Cook -- were honored for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.

Several of Streep's past co-stars, including Robert De Niro, Stanley Tucci and Kevin Kline, took part in the tribute to the actress. After a retrospective of Streep's career was screened, her Deer Hunter co-star, De Niro, joked, "Looking at those great moments over the years, I realize ... I was amazing in Deer Hunter."

Before the gala, President Obama hosted the honorees at the White House. He said of Streep, "When a reporter asked Clint Eastwood why he chose Meryl to star opposite him in The Bridges of Madison County, he shrugged and replied, she's the greatest actor in the world."

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended the gala. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a dinner for the recipients Saturday night.

CBS will air the Kennedy Center Honors event on December 27.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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