Paul McCartney Bows Out of Kennedy Center Honors #755
Saturday, August 17, 2002 By David Segal, Washington Post Staff Writer Article #755
Citing a personal scheduling conflict, Paul McCartney has withdrawn from the 2002 Kennedy Center Honors, officials at the Kennedy Center announced yesterday.
But Sir Paul isn't snubbing the nation's top artistic prize -- he's merely delaying his acceptance by a year. The Kennedy Center says he has agreed to be an honoree in 2003.
The withdrawal, the first in the history of the awards, is a deep disappointment to organizers, who had striven to put together a particularly impressive roster of talent for what will be the 25th anniversary of the ceremony, scheduled for Dec. 8. In addition to McCartney, the Kennedy Center lined up actress Elizabeth Taylor, conductor James Levine, dancer and actress Chita Rivera and actor James Earl Jones. Now the Artists Committee and the Kennedy Center's board will meet next week to select a new honoree for this year's event.
What's behind McCartney's postponement is unclear. A call yesterday afternoon to his publicist, Paul Freundlich, was not returned. Tiki Davies, a spokeswoman for the Kennedy Center, said no one in her office knew the cause of the one-year delay.
"It's a personal reason," she said. "That's all we know."
Since 1978, the bestowal of the Kennedy Center Honors has been as close to an imprimatur of government-stamped greatness as the United States has to offer. Over the years it has brought to the city such luminaries as Richard Rodgers, Marian Anderson, Bob Dylan, George Balanchine, Martha Graham, James Cagney, Lucille Ball and James Stewart.
See related article: Taylor, McCartney Get Kennedy Honors
Sooner or later we all will be there....