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Billy Joel, Carlos Santana receive Kennedy Center Honors

Billy Joel, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, opera star Martina Arroyo and actress Shirley MacLaine were awarded Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday for influencing American culture through the arts.

Joel, 64, said the honor stands apart from his six Grammys. “This is different. It’s our nation’s capital,” he told the Associated Press. “This is coming more from my country than just people who come to see me. It’s a little overwhelming.”

Santana, 66, a Mexican immigrant who began learning English from American television, has said his career is about bridging cultures and fusing sounds to create something new.

Hancock, 73, got his start at the piano at age 7 while growing up in Chicago. He joined the Miles Davis Quintet in 1963 and later set out to create his own sounds, fusing jazz, funk, pop, gospel, soul and the blues. He has won an Oscar and 14 Grammy Awards so far.

Arroyo, 66, found opera while imitating the singers outside an opera workshop while growing up in Harlem. She was soon singing with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. She went on to star in the great opera houses of London, Paris and Vienna.

MacLaine, 79, began her film career in 1955’s “The Trouble with Harry,” directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and she won the Oscar for best actress for “Terms of Endearment” in 1983.

Boyle relieved by Asperger’s diagnosis

Singer Susan Boyle says she has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, and feels relief at finally having the right label for her condition.

“Now I have a clearer understanding of what’s wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself,” she said in an interview published Sunday.

The church volunteer from a small Scottish town became a global sensation when she sang the “Les Miserables” number “I Dreamed a Dream” on TV contest “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2009. Boyle, 52, has sold more than 14 million records.

The birthday bunch

Actor Kirk Douglas is 97. Actor Dick Van Patten is 85. Actor-writer Buck Henry is 83. Actress Dame Judi Dench is 79. Actor Beau Bridges is 72. Musician Dan Hicks is 72. Actor Michael Dorn is 61. Actor John Malkovich is 60. Singer Donny Osmond is 56. Actor Joe Lando is 52. Actress Felicity Huffman is 51. Musician Jakob Dylan is 44.


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