George Lucas, Carole King among Kennedy Center honorees

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George Lucas talks with CNN in Los Angeles, California, in October.

“Star Wars” creator George Lucas will be among the recipients of the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, the cultural institution announced Wednesday.

Joining Lucas are the best-selling band the Eagles, singer-songwriter Carole King, actress and singer Rita Moreno, conductor Seiji Ozawa, and actress Cicely Tyson.

“When I look at this year’s outstanding slate of honorees, I am struck by a powerful common theme — artists as history-makers, artists who defy both convention and category,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter in a statement. “Their individual paths to excellence are inspirational and their contributions to the fabric of American culture are equally permanent and timeless.”

Lucas, of course, is the producer and director who created the “Star Wars” universe. He directed the first film in the now six-film saga, 1977’s “Star Wars,” which became the highest-grossing movie in history at the time.

He later directed three other “Star Wars” films and his Lucasfilm company, which was sold to Disney in 2012, became a Hollywood powerhouse. A seventh “Star Wars” film, “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens,” is due out in December.

King is best known for her 1971 album “Tapestry,” one of the best-selling records in history. In the 1960s she often composed with then-husband Gerry Goffin such hits as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Loco-Motion” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”

The Eagles created the 1976 album “Hotel California” and topped the charts with such songs as “Best of My Love,” “New Kid in Town” and “Heartache Tonight.”

Moreno won an Oscar for her performance in 1961’s “West Side Story.” She is one of just a handful of artists who are part of the EGOT club — winners of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

Ozawa was conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 29 years. The orchestra’s performing arts hall at Tanglewood, its summer home, is named for him.

Tyson, whose numerous awards include Emmys and a Tony, is known for her performances in 1972’s “Sounder,” the 1974 TV movie “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and the 2013 Broadway production of “The Trip to Bountiful.”

This year’s Kennedy Center Honors, one of the highlights of Washington’s social calendar, will offer a chance for an average American citizen to take part. The Honors are launching a contest on social media making use of the hashtag #SendMeToHonors. More details are forthcoming, the Center said.

The 38th annual awards will be held December 6 and broadcast on CBS on December 29.

By Todd Leopold

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