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Zeppelin, Hoffman, Letterman highlight Kennedy Center honorees

It’s hard to imagine actor Dustin Hoffman, funny guy David Letterman, bluesman Buddy Guy, ballerina Natalia Makarova, and British rockers Led Zeppelin having much in common, but that’s what makes the Kennedy Center Honors so special. That’s the 2012 list of honorees who will receive the honor in the 35th annual celebration of the arts.

Zeppelin will be honored as a band, but keyboardist/bassist John Paul Jones, guitarist Jimmy Page, and lead singer Robert Plant are each to receive Kennedy Center Honors.

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“Buddy Guy is a titan of the blues and has been a tremendous influence on virtually everyone who has picked up an electric guitar in the last half century,” Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement. “Dustin Hoffman’s unyielding commitment to the wide variety of roles he plays has made him one of the most versatile and iconoclastic actors of this or any other generation; David Letterman is one of the most influential personalities in the history of television, entertaining an entire generation of late-night viewers with his unconventional wit and charm; Natalia Makarova’s profound artistry has ignited the stages of the world’s greatest ballet companies and continues to pass the torch to the next generation of dancers; and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant transformed the sound of rock and roll with their lyricism and innovative song structures, infusing blues into the sound of rock and roll and laying the foundation for countless rock bands.”

The celebration will take place Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington. It will be recorded and broadcast as a two-hour primetime special on CBS on Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 9 p.m.

If the highlights from last year’s show are any indication, you’ll want to set the DVR now.

Doug Most can be reached at dmost@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Globedougmost
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