Kennedy Center Honorees

by Nate76 | created - 13 May 2016 | updated - 15 May 2016 | Public

This list has every honoree since 1978, the inaugural year of the Kennedy Center Honors.

All information on current ages and recent deaths is from May 2016.

1. Marian Anderson

Soundtrack | The Great Debaters

Marian Anderson was born on February 27, 1897, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the first of three sisters in the family. Her father, named John Anderson, was a salesman at a railroad station. Her mother, named Anna Anderson, was a schoolteacher. From the age of six, Anderson sang in the ...

Born 1897 Honored 1978 (age 81) Died 1993 (age 96)

2. Fred Astaire

Soundtrack | Funny Face

Fred Astaire was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Johanna (Geilus) and Fritz Austerlitz, a brewer. Fred entered show business at age 5. He was successful both in vaudeville and on Broadway in partnership with his sister, Adele Astaire. After Adele retired to marry in 1932, Astaire headed to Hollywood. ...

Born 1899 Honored 1978 (age 79) Died 1987 (age 88)

3. George Balanchine

Actor | Playhouse 90

George Balanchine was a Georgian-American ballet dancer and one of the foremost choreographers of the 20th century. Regarded as the founder of American ballet, he established and led the New York City Ballet for more than three decades.

Balanchine was born Georgy Melitonovich Balanchivadze, the son ...

Born 1904 Honored 1978 (age 74) Died 1983 (age 79)

4. Richard Rodgers

Soundtrack | The Talented Mr. Ripley

Richard Rodgers is an American composer, known largely for his work in musical theater. With 43 Broadway musicals and over 900 songs to his credit, Rodgers was one of the most significant American composers of the 20th century, and his compositions had a significant impact on popular music.

He is ...

Born 1902 Honored 1978 (age 76) Died 1979 (age 77)

5. Artur Rubinstein

Soundtrack | The Truman Show

Artur Rubinstein was born on January 28, 1887 in Lódz, Poland, Russian Empire. He was married to Aniela Mlynarska. He died on December 20, 1982 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Born 1887 Honored 1978 (age 91) Died 1982 (age 95)

6. Aaron Copland

Soundtrack | He Got Game

Aaron Copland is an Academy Award-winning composer (The Heiress (1949)), author, conductor, lecturer and educator. He was educated at public schools and was a music student of his sister and later Leopold Wolfson, Victor Wittgenstein, Clarence Adler, Rubin Goldmark and Nadia Boulanger. In 1925, he ...

Born 1900 Honored 1979 (age 79) Died 1990 (age 90)

7. Ella Fitzgerald

Soundtrack | When Harry Met Sally...

On Saturday, June 15th, 1996, an era in jazz singing came to an end, with the death of Ella Fitzgerald at her home in California. She was the last of four great female jazz singers (including Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Carmen McRae) who defined one of the most prolific eras in jazz vocal ...

Born 1917 Honored 1979 (age 62) Died 1996 (age 79)

8. Henry Fonda

Actor | 12 Angry Men

Henry Jaynes Fonda was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, to Elma Herberta (Jaynes) and William Brace Fonda, who worked in advertising and printing. His recent ancestry included Dutch, English, and Scottish.

Fonda started his acting debut with the Omaha Community Playhouse, a local amateur theater ...

Born 1905 Honored 1979 (age 74) Died 1982 (age 77)

9. Martha Graham

Writer | Lamentation

American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham was a revolutionary artist of modern dance in the early 20th century. Born in Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in May 1894, her family moved to California when she was 10. She was inspired at that early age to become a dancer when she ...

Born 1894 Honored 1979 (age 85) Died 1991 (age 96)

10. Tennessee Williams

Writer | A Streetcar Named Desire

Tennessee Williams met long-term partner Frank Merlo in the summer of 1948 (Merlo died of lung cancer in the fall of 1963). Though separated briefly in 1961 and again in 1962, the two were partners for 15 years. Merlo acted as his personal manager/secretary.

Williams spent much of his most prolific ...

Born 1911 Honored 1979 (age 68) Died 1983 (age 71)

11. Leonard Bernstein

Soundtrack | New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts

Renowned composer ("West Side Story", "Candide", "On The Town"), conductor, arranger, pianist, educator, author, TV/radio host, educated at the Boston Latin School and Harvard University (BA) with Walter Piston. Edward Burlingame Hill and A. Tillman Merritt. He studied piano with Helen Coates, ...

Born 1918 Honored 1980 (age 62) Died 1990 (age 72)

12. James Cagney

Actor | Angels with Dirty Faces

One of Hollywood's preeminent male stars of all time, James Cagney was also an accomplished dancer and easily played light comedy. James Francis Cagney was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, to Carolyn (Nelson) and James Francis Cagney, Sr., who was a bartender and amateur ...

Born 1899 Honored 1980 (age 81) Died 1986 (age 86)

13. Agnes de Mille

Oklahoma!

Agnes de Mille was born on September 18, 1905 in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as Agnes George de Mille. She is known for her work on Oklahoma! (1955), The Ragamuffin (1916) and Carousel (1956). She was married to Walter Foy Prude. She died on October 7, 1993 in Greenwich Village,...

Born 1905 Honored 1980 (age 75) Died 1993 (age 88)

14. Lynn Fontanne

Actress | The Magnificent Yankee

Lynn Fontanne was a British actress of French and Irish descent. She spend most of her acting career in the United States, and she is considered among the great leading ladies of American theatre. She formed an acting duo with her husband Alfred Lunt (1892-1977). Fontanne had few film roles, but ...

Born 1887 Honored 1980 (age 93) Died 1983 (age 95)

15. Leontyne Price

Soundtrack | Romeo + Juliet

Leontyne Price was born on February 10, 1927 in Laurel, Mississippi, USA as Mary Leontyne Price. She is an actress, known for Romeo + Juliet (1996), Great Performances at the Met (1977) and NBC Television Opera Theatre (1949). She was previously married to William Warfield.

Born 1927 Honored 1980 (age 53) Still Alive (age 89)

16. Count Basie

Soundtrack | Pearl Harbor

The famed composer ("One O'Clock Jump", "Two O'Clock Jump", "Jumpin' at the Woodside"), pianist, songwriter and bandleader began as an accompanist to vaudeville acts. He joined the Bennie Moten orchestra in Kansas City, later organizing his own orchestra and performing on radio. In 1936 he came to ...

Born 1904 Honored 1981 (age 77) Died 1984 (age 79)

17. Cary Grant

Actor | Charade

Once told by an interviewer, "Everybody would like to be Cary Grant", Grant is said to have replied, "So would I."

Cary Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach on January 18, 1904 in Horfield, Bristol, England, to Elsie Maria (Kingdon) and Elias James Leach, who worked in a factory. His early years...

Born 1904 Honored 1981 (age 77) Died 1986 (age 82)

18. Helen Hayes

Actress | Airport

Known as "The First lady of the American Theater", Helen Hayes had a legendary career on stage and in films and television that spanned over eighty years. Hayes was born in Washington, D.C., to Catherine Estelle "Essie" Hayes, an actress who worked in touring companies, and Francis van Arnum Brown,...

Born 1900 Honored 1981 (age 81) Died 1993 (age 92)

19. Jerome Robbins

Writer | West Side Story

Jerome Robbins was born on October 11, 1918 in New York City, New York, USA as Jerome Rabinowitz. He is known for his work on West Side Story (1961), Fiddler on the Roof (1971) and Producers' Showcase (1954). He died on July 29, 1998 in New York City.

Born 1918 Honored 1981 (age 63) Died 1998 (age 79)

20. Rudolf Serkin

Soundtrack | Slaughterhouse-Five

Rudolf Serkin was born on March 28, 1903 in Eger, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary. He was married to Irene Busch. He died on May 8, 1991 in Guilford, Vermont, USA.

Born 1903 Honored 1981 (age 78) Died 1991 (age 88)

21. George Abbott

Writer | Damn Yankees

Legendary Broadway writer/producer/director George Abbott was born in 1887 in Forestville, New York. His father was mayor of Salamanca, New York, for two terms. In 1898 his family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Abbott attended Kearney Military Academy. The family returned to New York, where Abbott...

Born 1887 Honored 1982 (age 95) Died 1995 (age 107)

22. Lillian Gish

Actress | The Night of the Hunter

Lillian Diana Gish was born on October 14, 1893, in Springfield, Ohio. Her father, James Lee Gish, was an alcoholic who caroused around, was rarely at home and left the family to more or less fend for themselves. To help make ends meet, Lillian, her sister Dorothy Gish and their mother, Mary Gish ...

Born 1893 Honored 1982 (age 89) Died 1993 (age 99)

23. Benny Goodman

Soundtrack | Allied

The King of Swing! Famed clarinetist, composer ("Stompin' at the Savoy") and conductor, educated at the Lewis Institute in Chicago and a student of Schillinger and Schoepp. He was a clarinetist with the orchestras of Bix Beiderbecke, Jules Herbuveaux, Arnold Johnson and Ben Pollack, and also played...

Born 1909 Honored 1982 (age 73) Died 1986 (age 77)

24. Gene Kelly

Soundtrack | Singin' in the Rain

Eugene Curran Kelly was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the third son of Harriet Catherine (Curran) and James Patrick Joseph Kelly, a phonograph salesman. His father was of Irish descent and his mother was of Irish and German ancestry.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the largest and most powerful studio in...

Born 1912 Honored 1982 (age 70) Died 1996 (age 83)

25. Eugene Ormandy

Soundtrack | True Lies

Eugene Ormandy conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra for 44 years, one of the longest tenures of a maestro and one orchestra. The Philadelphia under Ormandy's direction wad extremely popular, winning two Grammy Awards and being awarded three gold records for sales exceeding 500,000 units.

The maestro...

Born 1899 Honored 1982 (age 83) Died 1985 (age 86)

26. Katherine Dunham

Actress | Star Spangled Rhythm

Dancer, choreographer, composer and songwriter, educated at the University of Chicago. She made world tours as a dancer, choreographer, and director of her own dance company. She directed the Katherine Dunham School of Dance in New York, and was artist-in-residence at Southern Illinois University. ...

Born 1909 Honored 1983 (age 74) Died 2006 (age 96)

27. Elia Kazan

Director | On the Waterfront

Known for his creative stage direction, Elia Kazan was born Elias Kazantzoglou on September 7, 1909 in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire (now Istanbul, Turkey). Noted for drawing out the best dramatic performances from his actors, he directed 21 actors to Oscar nominations, resulting in nine wins. He ...

Born 1909 Honored 1983 (age 74) Died 2003 (age 94)

28. Frank Sinatra

Actor | From Here to Eternity

Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Italian immigrants Natalina Della (Garaventa), from Northern Italy, and Saverio Antonino Martino Sinatra, a Sicilian boxer, fireman, and bar owner. Growing up on the gritty streets of Hoboken made Sinatra determined to work hard to get ahead. ...

Born 1915 Honored 1983 (age 68) Died 1998 (age 82)

29. James Stewart

Actor | Anatomy of a Murder

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth Ruth (Johnson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. He was of Scottish, Ulster-Scots, and some English, descent. Stewart was educated at a local prep school, Mercersburg Academy, where he ...

Born 1908 Honored 1983 (age 75) Died 1997 (age 89)

30. Virgil Thomson

Composer | Louisiana Story

One of the driving forces, both as critic and musician, of 20th century American music, Thomson studied music at both Harvard University and elsewhere in the Boston area before moving to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger in 1921. After spending a short time in his native land, he returned to ...

Born 1896 Honored 1983 (age 87) Died 1989 (age 92)

31. Lena Horne

Soundtrack | Cabin in the Sky

Lena Calhoun Horne was born June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York. In her biography she stated that, on the day she was born, her father was in the midst of a card game trying to get money to pay the hospital costs. Her parents divorced while she was still a toddler. Her mother left later in order ...

Born 1917 Honored 1984 (age 67) Died 2010 (age 92)

32. Danny Kaye

Soundtrack | The Danny Kaye Show

Danny Kaye left school at the age of 13 to work in the so-called Borscht Belt of Jewish resorts in the Catskill Mountains. It was there he learned the basics of show biz. From there he went through a series of jobs in and out of the business. In 1939, he made his Broadway debut in "Straw Hat Revue,...

Born 1911 Honored 1984 (age 73) Died 1987 (age 76)

33. Gian Carlo Menotti

Writer | The Medium

Gian Carlo Menotti was born on July 7, 1911 in Cadegliano-Viconago, Lombardy, Italy. He was a writer and composer, known for The Medium (1951), Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) and Amahl and the Night Visitors (1954). He was married to Samuel Barber. He died on February 1, 2007 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Born 1911 Honored 1984 (age 73) Died 2007 (age 95)

34. Arthur Miller

Writer | The Crucible

Arthur Asher Miller was born on October 17, 1915, in New York City, one of three children born to Augusta (nee Barnett) and Isidore Miller. His family was of Austrian Jewish descent. His father manufactured women's coats, but his business was devastated by the Depression, seeding his son's ...

Born 1915 Honored 1984 (age 69) Died 2005 (age 89)

35. Isaac Stern

Soundtrack | The Talented Mr. Ripley

Isaac Stern was born on July 21, 1920 in Kremenets/Krzemieniec, Ukrainian People's Republic. He was married to Linda Reynolds, Vera Lindenblit and Nora Kaye. He died on September 22, 2001 in New York City, New York, USA.

Born 1920 Honored 1984 (age 64) Died 2001 (age 81)

36. Merce Cunningham

Director | Deli Commedia

Merce Cunningham was born on April 16, 1919 in Centralia, Washington, USA as Mercier Philip Cunningham. He was a director and writer, known for Deli Commedia (1984), Merce Cunningham (1998) and Assemblage (1968). He was married to John Cage. He died on July 26, 2009 in New York City, New York, USA.

Born 1919 Honored 1985 (age 66) Died 2009 (age 90)

37. Irene Dunne

Actress | The Awful Truth

Irene Marie Dunne was born on December 20, 1898, in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Joseph Dunne, who inspected steamships, and Adelaide Henry, a musician who prompted Irene in the arts. Her first production was in Louisville when she appeared in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the age...

Born 1898 Honored 1985 (age 87) Died 1990 (age 91)

38. Bob Hope

Actor | The Ghost Breakers

Comedian Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, London, England, the fifth of seven sons of Avis (Townes), light opera singer, and William Henry Hope, a stonemason from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. His maternal grandmother was Welsh. Hope moved to Bristol before emigrating with his parents...

Born 1903 Honored 1985 (age 82) Died 2003 (age 100)

39. Alan Jay Lerner

Writer | An American in Paris

Playwright/lyricist Alan Jay Lerner was born into a wealthy New York City retailing family. His professional association with Frederick Loewe started in 1942 when they teamed up to write "Life of the Party". Their first Broadway success was the 1947 musical fantasy "Brigadoon." Lerner adapted work ...

Born 1918 Honored 1985 (age 67) Died 1986 (age 67)

40. Frederick Loewe

Soundtrack | The Little Prince

Frederick Loewe was born on June 10, 1901 in Berlin, Germany as Fritz Loewe. He was married to Ernestine Zwerline. He died on February 14, 1988 in Palm Springs, California, USA.

Born 1901 Honored 1985 (age 84) Died 1988 (age 86)

41. Beverly Sills

Actress | Live from Lincoln Center

This vibrant, fine-humored coloratura was able to accomplish what most others of her ilk could or would not do -- she humanized opera and made it approachable to the masses. There were no diva-like traits in this star and the public absolutely adored her for it. Dubbed "America's Queen of Opera" in...

Born 1929 Honored 1985 (age 56) Died 2007 (age 78)

42. Lucille Ball

Actress | I Love Lucy

The woman who will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their ...

Born 1911 Honored 1986 (age 75) Died 1989 (age 77)

43. Ray Charles

Soundtrack | Ray

A tragic fate may have given this visionary a heightened sensitivity, perception, awareness, even expansion to his obvious musical gifts that he may have never touched upon had he not suffered from his physical affliction. Whatever it was, Ray Charles revolutionized American music and was ...

Born 1930 Honored 1986 (age 56) Died 2004 (age 73)

44. Hume Cronyn

Actor | Cocoon

Hume Cronyn was a Canadian actor with a lengthy career. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in "The Seventh Cross" (1944).

Cronyn was born to a prominent family. His father was politician Hume Blake Cronyn (1864-1933), Member of Parliament for London, ...

Born 1911 Honored 1986 (age 75) Died 2003 (age 91)

45. Jessica Tandy

Actress | Driving Miss Daisy

A beloved, twinkly blue-eyed doyenne of stage and screen, actress Jessica Tandy's career spanned nearly six and a half decades. In that span of time, she enjoyed an amazing film renaissance at age 80, something unheard of in a town that worships youth and nubile beauty. She was born Jessie Alice ...

Born 1909 Honored 1986 (age 77) Died 1994 (age 85)

46. Yehudi Menuhin

Soundtrack | L'ultimo bacio

Yehudi Menuhin was born on April 22, 1916 in New York City, New York, USA. He was married to Diana Menuhin and Nola Nicholas. He died on March 12, 1999 in Berlin, Germany.

Born 1916 Honored 1986 (age 70) Died 1999 (age 82)

47. Antony Tudor

In a Monastery Garden

Antony Tudor was born on April 4, 1908 in London, England as William Cook. He is known for his work on In a Monastery Garden (1932), The Tempest/II (1939) and Folio (1955). He died on April 19, 1987 in New York City, New York, USA.

Born 1908 Honored 1986 (age 78) Died 1987 (age 79)

48. Perry Como

Soundtrack | The Perry Como Show

In a singing (and sometimes acting) career that spanned over six decades, the name Perry Como has come to mean that warm, smooth, easy-listening, general-audience, slow-flame romance that characterized popular music in the 1940s, '50s and '60s. It has also come to represent an overall good feeling....

Born 1912 Honored 1987 (age 75) Died 2001 (age 88)

49. Bette Davis

Actress | All About Eve

Ruth Elizabeth Davis was born April 5, 1908, in Lowell, Massachusetts, to Ruth Augusta (Favor) and Harlow Morrell Davis, a patent attorney. Her parents divorced when she was 10. She and her sister were raised by their mother. Her early interest was dance. To Bette, dancers led a glamorous life, but...

Born 1908 Honored 1987 (age 79) Died 1989 (age 81)

50. Sammy Davis Jr.

Actor | The Cannonball Run

Sammy Davis Jr. was often billed as the "greatest living entertainer in the world".

He was born in Harlem, Manhattan, the son of dancer Elvera Davis (née Sanchez) and vaudeville star Sammy Davis Sr.. His father was African-American and his mother was of Cuban and African-American ancestry. Davis Jr....

Born 1925 Honored 1987 (age 62) Died 1990 (age 64)

51. Nathan Milstein

Actor | Nash Airflyte Theatre

Nathan Milstein was born on December 31, 1904 in Odessa, Kherson Governorate, Russian Empire as Nathan Milstein Mironowitsch. He was an actor, known for Nash Airflyte Theatre (1950), Music for You (1951) and Music on 2 (1965). He was married to Teresa Kaufman. He died on December 21, 1992 in London...

Born 1904 Honored 1987 (age 83) Died 1992 (age 88)

52. Alwin Nikolais

Composer | Zelt

Alwin Nikolais was born on November 25, 1910 in Southington, Connecticut, USA. He is known for his work on Zelt (1969), The Company (2003) and Totem (1963). He died on May 8, 1993 in New York City, New York, USA.

Born 1910 Honored 1987 (age 77) Died 1993 (age 82)

53. Alvin Ailey

The Turning Point

Ailey was born in the rural town of Rogers, Texas, USA. His childhood memories and experiences often informed his choreography; the most notable of his works was "Blues Suite", "Cry" (choreographed for Judith Jamison), and "Revelations", a ballet based on Ailey's observations and experiences in ...

Born 1931 Honored 1988 (age 57) Died 1989 (age 58)

54. George Burns

Actor | Oh, God!

George Burns was born on January 20, 1896 in New York City, New York, USA as Nathan Birnbaum. He was an actor and producer, known for Oh, God! (1977), Going in Style (1979) and The Sunshine Boys (1975). He was married to Gracie Allen and Hannah Siegel. He died on March 9, 1996 in Beverly Hills, Los...

Born 1896 Honored 1988 (age 92) Died 1996 (age 100)

55. Myrna Loy

Actress | The Thin Man

Myrna Loy was born Myrna Adele Williams on August 2, 1905 in Helena, Montana, to Adelle Mae (Johnson) and David Franklin Williams. Her paternal grandparents were Welsh, and her mother was of Scottish and Swedish descent. Myrna was raised in Helena and nearby Radersburg. Her father, a rancher, was ...

Born 1905 Honored 1988 (age 83) Died 1993 (age 88)

56. Alexander Schneider

Soundtrack | Slaughterhouse-Five

Alexander Schneider was born on October 21, 1908 in Vilna, Russian Empire as Abram Chaim Leizer Sascha Schneider. He was married to Geraldine Page and Gerda Benfey. He died on February 2, 1993 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA.

Born 1908 Honored 1988 (age 80) Died 1993 (age 84)

57. Roger L. Stevens

West Side Story

Roger L. Stevens was born on March 11, 1910. He is known for his work on West Side Story (1961), Deathtrap (1982) and Boom! (1968). He died on February 3, 1998.

Born 1910 Honored 1988 (age 78) Died 1998 (age 88)

58. Harry Belafonte

Actor | Bobby

Harold George Belafonte was born on March 1, 1927 in New York City. He was educated at the New York Dramatic Workshop. He grew up in Jamaica, British West Indies, and did folk-singing in nightclubs and theaters, and on television and records. His debut was at the Village Vanguard in New York. Also,...

Born 1927 Honored 1989 (age 62) Still Alive (age 89)

59. Claudette Colbert

Actress | It Happened One Night

One of the brightest film stars to grace the screen was born Emilie Claudette Chauchoin on September 13, 1903, in Saint Mandé, France where her father owned a bakery at 57, rue de la République (now Avenue Général de Gaulle). The family moved to the United States when she was three. As Claudette ...

Born 1903 Honored 1989 (age 86) Died 1996 (age 92)

60. Alexandra Danilova

Live from Lincoln Center

Alexandra Danilova was born on November 20, 1903 in Peterhoff, Russia. She is known for her work on Live from Lincoln Center (1976), The Turning Point (1977) and Spanish Fiesta (1942). She was married to Kazimir Kokich and Giuseppe Massera. She died on July 13, 1997 in New York City, New York, USA.

Born 1903 Honored 1989 (age 86) Died 1997 (age 93)

61. Mary Martin

Actress | Producers' Showcase

Originally a dance instructor, she came to Broadway during the Depression to begin her career as a professional actress. A daughter of Texas, she originally began work as a dance instructor until a local evangelical-adherent burned down her studio citing her work as being too sinful for human ...

Born 1913 Honored 1989 (age 76) Died 1990 (age 76)

62. William Schuman

Composer | Omnibus

William Schuman was born on August 4, 1910 in New York City, New York, USA as William Howard Schuman. He was a composer, known for Omnibus (1952), Night Journey (1960) and Eye on New York (1956). He died on February 15, 1992 in Manhattan, New York.

Born 1910 Honored 1989 (age 79) Died 1992 (age 81)

63. Dizzy Gillespie

Soundtrack | The Talented Mr. Ripley

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie, along with Charlie Parker, ushered in the era of Be-Bop in the American jazz tradition. He was born in Cheraw, South Carolina, and was the youngest of nine children. He began playing piano at the age of four and received a music scholarship to the Laurinburg Institute ...

Born 1917 Honored 1990 (age 73) Died 1993 (age 75)

64. Katharine Hepburn

Actress | The Lion in Winter

Born May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut, she was the daughter of a doctor and a suffragette, both of whom always encouraged her to speak her mind, develop it fully, and exercise her body to its full potential. An athletic tomboy as a child, she was also very close to her brother, Tom, and was ...

Born 1907 Honored 1990 (age 83) Died 2003 (age 96)

65. Risë Stevens

Soundtrack | Journey Back to Oz

One of the great voices of the Metropolitan Opera, New York-born mezzo-soprano Rise (pronounced REE-za) Stevens made her debut with the company in 1939 as Octavian in Richard Strauss's "Der Rosenkavalier" in a tour performance in Philadelphia. Her other notable roles in 21 years with the company ...

Born 1913 Honored 1990 (age 77) Died 2013 (age 99)

66. Jule Styne

Soundtrack | Funny Girl

Jule Styne was born on December 31, 1905 in London, England as Julius Kerwin Stein. He was married to Margaret Ann Bissett Brown and Ethel Rubenstein. He died on September 20, 1994 in New York City, New York, USA.

Born 1905 Honored 1990 (age 85) Died 1994 (age 88)

67. Billy Wilder

Writer | The Apartment

Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city's largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929 and wrote scripts for many ...

Born 1906 Honored 1990 (age 84) Died 2002 (age 95)

68. Roy Acuff

Soundtrack | Night Train to Memphis

Roy Acuff was born on September 15, 1903 in Maynardville, Tennessee, USA as Roy Claxton Acuff. He was married to Mildred Louise Douglas. He died on November 23, 1992 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Born 1903 Honored 1991 (age 88) Died 1992 (age 89)

69. Betty Comden

Soundtrack | On the Town

Songwriter ("New York, New York", "Lonely Town", "The Party's Over", "Just in Time"), author and actress. educated at New York University with a Bachelor of Science degree. While a student, she acted with the Washington Square Players. She was a member of the Revuers, a night club act which also ...

Born 1917* Honored 1991 (age 74) Died 2006 (age 89)

*Yes, I know IMDb says she was born in 1915, but more than 5 reliable sources say she was born in 1917.

70. Adolph Green

Soundtrack | On the Town

Songwriter ("New York, New York", "The Party's Over", "Just in Time", "Make Someone Happy"), author and actor, educated at City College of New York. While he was a student, he acted with the Washington Square Players and had a part in the road company of "Having a Wonderful Time". A member of The ...

Born 1914 Honored 1991 (age 77) Died 2002 (age 87)

71. Fayard Nicholas

Actor | My Son Is Guilty

Fayard Nicholas was one-half of The Nicholas Brothers, a famous African-American tap dancing team who appeared in several movies and became one of the famous and most beloved dance team of all time. Both brothers appeared in films such as An All-Colored Vaudeville Show (1935), The Pirate (1948) and ...

Born 1914 Honored 1991 (age 77) Died 2006 (age 91)

72. Harold Nicholas

Soundtrack | Kid Millions

Harold Nicholas, the younger half of the world famous Nicholas Brothers dance team, is known as one of the world's greatest dancers. He and his brother Fayard Nicholas were established superstars at Twentieth Century Fox with their astounding dance numbers in the studios musicals features. Harold ...

Born 1921 Honored 1991 (age 70) Died 2000 (age 79)

73. Gregory Peck

Actor | To Kill a Mockingbird

Eldred Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916 in La Jolla, California, to Bernice Mary (Ayres) and Gregory Pearl Peck, a chemist and druggist in San Diego. He had Irish (from his paternal grandmother), English, and some German, ancestry. His parents divorced when he was five years old. An only ...

Born 1916 Honored 1991 (age 75) Died 2003 (age 87)

74. Robert Shaw

Soundtrack | The American President

Robert Shaw was born on April 30, 1916 in Red Bluff, California, USA. He died on January 25, 1999 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Born 1916 Honored 1991 (age 75) Died 1999 (age 82)

75. Lionel Hampton

Soundtrack | Allied

Lionel Hampton is an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, and bandleader. Hampton worked with jazz musicians from Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, and Buddy Rich to Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Quincy Jones. In 1992, he was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and was ...

Born 1908 Honored 1992 (age 84) Died 2002 (age 94)

76. Paul Newman

Actor | The Hustler

Screen legend, superstar, and the man with the most famous blue eyes in movie history, Paul Leonard Newman was born on January 26, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio, the second son of Arthur Sigmund Newman (died 1950) and Theresa Fetsko (died 1982). His elder brother was , Arthur S. Newman Jr., named for ...

Born 1925 Honored 1992 (age 67) Died 2008 (age 83)

77. Joanne Woodward

Actress | Rachel, Rachel

Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward was born on February 27, 1930, in Thomasville, Georgia, to Wade Woodward and Elinor Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward in a modest household. Her one older brother, Wade Jr., who was the favorite of her father, eventually became an architect. Elinor Woodward was a ...

Born 1930 Honored 1992 (age 62) Still Alive (age 86)

78. Ginger Rogers

Actress | The Major and the Minor

Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence, Missouri on July 16, 1911. Her mother, known as Lelee, went to Independence to have Ginger away from her husband. She had a baby earlier in their marriage and he allowed the doctor to use forceps and the baby died. She was kidnapped ...

Born 1911 Honored 1992 (age 81) Died 1995 (age 83)

79. Mstislav Rostropovich

Soundtrack | Mr. Nobody

Mstislav Rostropovich was a Russian cellist, pianist, conductor, pedagogue and political figure whose international performances and public appearances symbolized the struggle of intellectuals against the rigid Soviet Communism.

He was born Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich on March 27, 1927, in ...

Born 1927 Honored 1992 (age 65) Died 2007 (age 80)

80. Paul Taylor

Great Performances: Dance in America

Paul Taylor was born on July 29, 1930 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA as Paul Belville Taylor Jr. He is known for his work on Great Performances: Dance in America (1976), The Wrecker's Ball: Three Dances by Paul Taylor (1996) and American Ballet Theatre in San Francisco (1985). He died on August ...

Born 1930 Honored 1992 (age 62) Still Alive (age 85)

81. Johnny Carson

Soundtrack | The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson, the legendary "King of Late Night TV" who dominated the medium's nether hours for three decades, was born in Corning, Iowa, but moved with his family to nearby Norfolk, Nebraska when he was eight years old. It was in Norfolk, where he lived until he was inducted into the US Navy in ...

Born 1925 Honored 1993 (age 68) Died 2005 (age 79)

82. Arthur Mitchell

Producer | Dance Theatre of Harlem: Fall River Legend

Arthur Mitchell was born on March 27, 1934 in New York City, New York, USA as Arthur Adams Mitchell Jr. He is known for his work on Dance Theatre of Harlem: Fall River Legend (1989), Playhouse 90 (1956) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (1967). He died on September 19, 2018 in Manhattan, New York City.

Born 1934 Honored 1993 (age 59) Still Alive (age 82)

83. Georg Solti

Soundtrack | Birth

Sir Georg Solti was a renowned orchestra and opera conductor, best known as the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, who set a since-surpassed record by winning 31 Grammy Awards. He was born György Stern in Budapest, Hungary (his Germanic last named was changed under the country's ...

Born 1912 Honored 1993 (age 81) Died 1997 (age 84)

84. Stephen Sondheim

Soundtrack | Dick Tracy

Stephen Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for his work in musical theater.

One of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theater, Sondheim has been praised as having reinvented the American musical with shows that tackle unexpected themes that range far beyond the ...

Born 1930 Honored 1993 (age 63) Still Alive (age 86)

85. Marion Williams

Soundtrack | Fried Green Tomatoes

Marion Williams was born on August 29, 1927 in Miami, Florida, USA. She died on July 2, 1994 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Born 1927 Honored 1993 (age 66) Died 1994 (age 66)

86. Kirk Douglas

Actor | Spartacus

Cleft-chinned, steely-eyed and virile star of international cinema who rose from being "the ragman's son" (the name of his best-selling 1988 autobiography) to become a bona fide superstar, Kirk Douglas, also known as Issur Danielovitch Demsky, was born on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. ...

Born 1916 Honored 1994 (age 78) Still Alive (age 99)

87. Aretha Franklin

Actress | The Blues Brothers

Grammy-winning Queen of Soul and the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Barbara Vernice (Siggers) and C. L. Franklin, a Baptist minister, who preached at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit for over thirty ...

Born 1942 Honored 1994 (age 52) Still Alive (age 74)

88. Morton Gould

Composer | Holocaust

Composer ("American Salute", "Pavanne"), conductor, pianist and arranger, educated at New York University and a music student of Abby Whiteside and Vincent Jones. At six, he had his first composition published ("Just Six"), and thereafter concertized until age 17. He was a staff arranger for Radio ...

Born 1913 Honored 1994 (age 81) Died 1996 (age 82)

89. Harold Prince

West Side Story

Harold Prince was born on January 30, 1928 in New York City, New York, USA as Harold Smith Prince. He is known for his work on West Side Story (1961), The Phantom of the Opera (2004) and Cabaret (1972). He was married to Judith Arlene Chaplin. He died on July 31, 2019 in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Born 1928 Honored 1994 (age 66) Still Alive (age 88)

90. Pete Seeger

Soundtrack | Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Sixteen-year-old Pete Seeger enrolled at the Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut and then decided to become a hermit. His life since then has been one social cause after another, buoyed by an almost indefatigable career as a self-described "sing-along leader."

During the 1930s he attended Harvard, ...

Born 1919 Honored 1994 (age 75) Died 2014 (age 94)

91. Jacques d'Amboise

Actor | Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Jacques D'Amboise was trained in the School of American Ballet before joining the New York City Ballet in 1950. He soon went on to become a principal dancer. For over 3 decades, he danced with NYCB. During that time, he also choreographed several ballets. In 1976, D'Amboise founded the National ...

Born 1934 Honored 1995 (age 61) Still Alive (age 81)

92. Marilyn Horne

Soundtrack | Strange Days

Marilyn Horne was born on January 16, 1934 in Bradford, Pennsylvania, USA. She is an actress, known for Strange Days (1995), Carmen Jones (1954) and Orlando furioso (1990). She was previously married to Nicola Zaccaria and Henry Lewis.

Born 1934 Honored 1995 (age 61) Still Alive (age 82)

93. B.B. King

Actor | Blues Brothers 2000

B.B. King was born on September 16, 1925 as Riley B. King. He was married to Sue Carol Hall and Martha Lee Denton. He died on May 14, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Born 1925 Honored 1995 (age 70) Died 2015 (age 89)

94. Sidney Poitier

Actor | In the Heat of the Night

A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas (although born, two months prematurely, in Miami during a visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of farmers Evelyn (nee Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, who also drove a cab. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to...

Born 1927 Honored 1995 (age 68) Still Alive (age 89)

95. Neil Simon

Writer | The Odd Couple

Neil Simon was born on July 4, 1927 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Marvin Neil Simon. He was a writer and producer, known for The Odd Couple (1968), Murder by Death (1976) and The Goodbye Girl (1977). He was married to Elaine Joyce, Diane Lander, Marsha Mason and Joan Baim. He died ...

Born 1927 Honored 1995 (age 68) Still Alive (age 88)

96. Edward Albee

Writer | A Delicate Balance

Edward Albee was born on March 12, 1928 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Edward Franklin Albee III. He was a writer, known for A Delicate Balance (1973), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2017) and The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1991). He died on September 16, 2016 in Montauk, New York, USA.

Born 1928 Honored 1996 (age 68) Still Alive (age 88)

97. Benny Carter

Soundtrack | Raging Bull

Saxophonist, songwriter ("Because of You", "Hot Toddy", "Cow Cow Boogie"), conductor, arranger and composer, educated at Wilberforce University in theology. He was a saxophonist in Horace Henderson's Wilberforce Collegians, then played in the orchestras of Fletcher Henderson and Chick Webb. He went...

Born 1907 Honored 1996 (age 89) Died 2003 (age 95)

98. Johnny Cash

Soundtrack | The Johnny Cash Show

Johnny Cash was born February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, to Carrie Cash (Rivers) and Raymond Cash. He made his first single, "Hey Porter", for Sun Records in 1955. In 1958 he moved to Columbia Records. He had long periods of drug abuse during the 1960s, but later that decade he successfully ...

Born 1932 Honored 1996 (age 64) Died 2003 (age 71)

99. Jack Lemmon

Actor | The Apartment

Jack Lemmon was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Mildred Lankford Noel and John Uhler Lemmon, Jr., the president of a doughnut company. His ancestry included Irish (from his paternal grandmother) and English. Jack attended Ward Elementary near his Newton, MA home. At age 9 he was sent to Rivers ...

Born 1925 Honored 1996 (age 71) Died 2001 (age 76)

100. Maria Tallchief

Actress | Million Dollar Mermaid

Maria Tallchief was born on January 24, 1925 in Fairfax, Oklahoma, USA as Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief. She was an actress, known for Million Dollar Mermaid (1952), Camera Three (1955) and The Colgate Comedy Hour (1950). She was married to Henry D. Paschen Jr., Elmourza Natirboff and George Balanchine...

Born 1925 Honored 1996 (age 71) Died 2013 (age 88)



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