Agence France Presse
December 03, 2012 12:10 IST
Actor and director Dustin Hoffman arrives for the event
Seven top performing artists from around the world were honoured on late Sunday at Washington's John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for their lifetime contribution to American culture.
This years's honorees included blues musician Buddy Guy, actor and director Dustin Hoffman, comedian and television show host David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, and rock band Led Zeppelin.
While Led Zeppelin were honoured as a band, keyboardist/bassist John Paul Jones, guitarist Jimmy Page, and singer Robert Plant each received their medallions.
"With their extraordinary talent, creativity and tenacity, the seven 2012 Kennedy Center honorees have contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world," said Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein.
The annual honors gala, which has become the highlight of the Washington cultural year, was attended by President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and other Washington and Hollywood dignitaries.
Earlier, the honorees were received at the White House by the president and first lady, who praised the center's tradition of providing support to leading cultural figures around the world.
In his remarks, President Obama called it "a remarkable evening."
"And it speaks to something that has always made this country great -- the idea that here in America, more than any other place on Earth, we are free to follow our own passions, explore our own gifts, wherever they may lead us," he said. "And people from all around the world come here to make sure that they too can provide us the incredible gifts that they have."