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Kennedy Center Honors celebrates Sally Field, 'Sesame Street'

By
Wade Sheridan
Sally Field, a 2019 Kennedy Center Honoree, arrives for the Kennedy Center gala performance on Sunday. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
Sally Field, a 2019 Kennedy Center Honoree, arrives for the Kennedy Center gala performance on Sunday. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The 42nd annual Kennedy Center Honors took place on Sunday in Washington, D.C., to celebrate Sesame Street, Sally Field, Earth, Wind & Fire, Linda Ronstadt and Michael Tilson Thomas.

LL Cool J served as host at the gala which took place at the Kennedy Center Opera House. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump did not attend the event after missing the past two installments.

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The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates performers and their lifetime contributions. Each honoree was awarded a medallion and given a special presentation onstage.

Sesame Street is the first television show to be honored at the event. The co-founders of the long-running children's program Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett accepted the honor on behalf of the show and all the artists who worked on it.

Sesame Street characters Big Bird, Elmo, Ernie and Bert, Cookie Monster and Abby were also in attendance. Puppeteer Caroll Spinney, who was behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, was remembered after he died on Sunday at the age of 85.

Tom Hanks took to the stage for Field and tapped into his title character from 1994's Forrest Gump which featured the actress as his mother. "Hey, Mama," he said.

Carrie Underwood paid tribute to Ronstadt, a fellow singer, by performing Roy Orbison song, "Blue Bayou," followed by "When Will I Be Loved."

Audra McDonald, in honor of conductor Tilson Thomas, performed "Somewhere," composed by Leonard Bernstein and then "I Got Rhythm" by George and Ira Gershwin.

John Legend, The Jonas Brothers, Ne-Yo and Cynthia Ervio performed in tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire with the band joining the other singers onstage for a rendition of "September" to close out the show.

The ceremony will be aired on CBS on Dec. 15.

Moments from Kennedy Center Honors

The recipients of the 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors pose for a group photo following a dinner at the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C. From left to right, back row, from the band Earth, Wind & Fire, singer Philip Bailey, bassist Verdine White and percussionist Ralph Johnson; from Sesame Street, Abby, Big Bird and Elmo. Front row, left to right, Michael Tilson Thomas, Linda Ronstadt, Sally Field; Sesame street founders Joan Ganz Cooney and Dr. Lloyd Morrisett. Photo by Ron Sachs/UPI | License Photo

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