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David Letterman 'grateful' to be a Kennedy Center honoree
It’s been a big week for David Letterman. The North Salem resident learned on Wednesday that he has been named a Kennedy Center honoree along with Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman, bluesman Buddy Guy, rock band Led Zeppelin and ballerina Natalia Makarova.
The nation's highest honor is bestowed upon notable figures who have “influenced American culture through the arts.” Letterman is well known for rarely appearing at awards ceremonies, but announced on Wednesday that he will make an exception for this one, which will take place at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 2 (and will be televised on Dec. 26). As is tradition, the president and first lady will be in attendance.
Letterman issued the following statement: “This is something wonderful for my family, my co-workers and myself. I believe recognition at this prestigious level confirms my belief that there has been a mix-up. I am still grateful to be included.”
He saluted his idol Johnny Carson when the legendary “Tonight Show” talk show host was inducted as a Kennedy Center honoree in 1993. It will be interesting to see which of the next generation of talk show hosts -- Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel or former Saugerties resident Jimmy Fallon -- will come out to pay tribute to him. (We highly doubt that his rival, New Rochelle native Jay Leno, will be invited.)
Before they come together on Dec. 2, President Barack Obama will appear on “The Late Show with David Letterman” next Tuesday. While Michelle Obama has appeared several times on the show, most recently presenting the “Top 10” list the day after her speech at the Democratic National Convention, this will be Obama’s second visit to the show since he was elected in 2008.