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THIS IS AMERICA - Kennedy Center Honors

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VOICE TWO:

At thirteen, Itzhak Perlman came to the United States. He soon appeared on television. He attended the Juilliard School in New York and won a major performance prize in nineteen-sixty-four. His international fame had begun. Itzhak Perlman has received both a Medal of Liberty and a National Medal of Arts in the United States.

Here he performs Brahms' "Violin Sonata Number Three in D Minor."

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Now on to classic comedy, with another Kennedy Center honoree.

Many people consider Carol Burnett one of the funniest entertainers alive. Over the years, she has performed in clubs, films, theater and television. Her work has included singing, dancing and playing serious parts. But she is best known for her comedy. "The Carol Burnett Show" appeared for eleven seasons on television.

Carol Burnett grew up in Hollywood. At the University of California at Los Angeles, she appeared in theatrical productions -- and found her life's work. She left college to become an actress in New York.

VOICE TWO:

In nineteen-fifty-nine, Carol Burnett became a star of the Broadway theater in the musical production, "Once Upon a Mattress." That same year, she began to appear on "The Gary Moore Show" on television.

Carol Burnett won her first Emmy in nineteen-sixty-two for her work on that show. Five years later she launched her own television program. "The Carol Burnett Show" lasted until the late nineteen-seventies. Since then, she has appeared in many other television shows and on Broadway.

Listen now as Carol Burnett sings about a theater worker who wants to become a movie star.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

The final Kennedy Center honoree this year is Mike Nichols. He has performed, written, directed and produced during his many years in show business. His work on Broadway has earned him seven Tony awards. And he has won an Academy Award for his work in film.

As a child, Mike Nichols and his family fled to America from Germany. His family was Jewish, and Adolf Hitler was coming to power.

Later Mike Nichols attended the University of Chicago. He helped form a comedy group at a theater in Chicago called The Second City. Members of this group became famous for making people laugh.

Soon Mike Nichols left Chicago with another member of the group, Elaine May. They began to perform comedy together in New York. By nineteen-fifty-seven, Mike Nichols and Elaine May were becoming very popular on radio and television. They opened their own Broadway show in nineteen-sixty. But a year later they stopped performing together.

VOICE TWO:

Mike Nichols went on to receive Tony awards for his work on plays including "The Odd Couple" and "The Real Thing." His major films include "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," "The Graduate" and "Catch Twenty-Two."

More recently, he directed the film "The Bird Cage." Elaine May wrote the screenplay. Some movie critics said it was one of the funniest films of the nineteen-nineties.

VOICE ONE:

Mike Nichols, Carol Burnett, Itzhak Perlman, Loretta Lynn and James Brown are this year's winners of the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington.

(MUSIC)

Our program was written by Jerilyn Watson and produced by Caty Weaver. I'm Steve Ember.

VOICE TWO:

And I'm Faith Lapidus. Join us again next week for another report about life in the United States on the VOA Special English program THIS IS AMERICA.

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