Do I Hear ‘Letter Writing Campaign?’
Waiting to be noticed
Commander Coconut
2:42 PM EDT, April 29, 2010

Here’s the address if you want to nominate an artist or an artiste for the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors: Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Kennedy Center Honors; 2700 F St. N.W.; Washington, D.C. 20566.

This address bidness is yet another offshoot of the Florida Film Festival. Standing in line to see Solitary Man, I ran into Barry Sandler, a professor at the University of Central Florida’s film school and also the writer of such movies as Making Love and All-American Murder.

Barry introduced me to his friend Tom Scahill, who, it turns out, had just sent me an e-mail about the K.C. Honors. Tom wrote to the address above to nominate Shirley MacLaine, Bette Midler, the Smothers Brothers and the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David – all worthy nominees, if you ask me.

You know, they say that Doris Day has been asked to accept the honor but has turned it down. I don’t get it. People love you, Doris; do it for them. Afraid to fly? Get a chauffeur and get your own self to D.C.

Other non-honorees so far: Carol Channing, Meryl Streep, Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Woody Allen, Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Jerry Herman and William Shatner (just kidding!).

I’m still angry with them for not honoring Rosemary Clooney while she was alive. They must have something against singers: Mel Torme, Eddy Arnold, Merle Haggard, Joan Baez, Ethel Merman and Patti Page never won. Torme, Merman and Arnold are dead; the others are waiting – not for death, for the honor.

Suggestion: Give one posthumous award each year.

The first group, in 1978, was Marian Anderson, Fred Astaire, George Balanchine, Richard Rodgers, Arthur Rubenstein. (You have to attend the show, which explains why dead folks aren’t considered, and, thus, Rodgers won but not Oscar Hammerstein II, who died in 1960.)

Postscript: The American Film Institute Life Achievement Award also is prestigious. It goes back to 1973 when the winner was director John Ford. This year’s recipient, to be honored in June, is director Mike Nichols, a Kennedy Center winner in 2003.

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