Oscar-winning actor Al Pacino, rock band Eagles, singer-songwriter James Taylor, pianist Martha Argerich and gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples were feted at Kennedy Center Honors gala by the US President Barack Obama.
The ceremony, which took place at the White House, was also quite a memorable evening for Obama and his wife Michelle as it marked the final Kennedy Center Honors they would attend as President and the first lady, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The tribute to Pacino included remarks by actor Sean Penn and recitations of Shakespeare by Laurence Fishburne and Lily Rabe.
Chris O'Donnell and Gabrielle Anwar re-enacted the tango that Pacino danced with Anwar in "Scent of a Woman," the 1992 movie that won Pacino his long-overdue Oscar.
Actor Kevin Spacey gave a virtuoso tutorial on how to impersonate Pacino, whose passionate delivery has helped create some of the most memorable lines in American cinema.
"The keys are to look surprised and exhale loudly. Al seems to have a lot of air," he said.
Former US President Bill Clinton made a surprise appearance on stage to talk about how veteran singer Taylor's music resonated with him and the American public in times that tested the nation's resolve.
"Our nation was reeling from the pain of Vietnam. James was there to satisfy our hunger for both intimacy and authenticity," Clinton said.
The honors proceeded with musicians and actors taking the stage to pay tribute to the honorees, who stood on a balcony, waving and applauding as they wore the event's signature rainbow-colored garlands.
The Eagles were originally selected to be honored last year, but the band opted to delay participation because of founding member Glenn Frey's poor health.
Frey died in January at the age of 67, making the event a bittersweet one for the surviving Eagles, that include Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Don Felder, Randy Meisner, Timothy B Schmit and Bernie Leadon.
"I want to dedicate this evening to our brother Glenn," Henley said as the band accepted its honors at the State Department.
"He was so much a part of our success. He was the driving force in this band. He believed in the American dream," Henley added.
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