All Eyes on Obamas as They Celebrate Al Pacino and the Eagles at Their Final Kennedy Center Honors

Michelle dazzled in a green, off-shoulder dress designed by Gucci while her husband looked dapper in a tradition black suit and bow tie

The stars were out in full force as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attended their final Kennedy Center Honors while in the White House.

The 39th annual gala, hosted by Stephen Colbert for the third straight year, honored five legends of the arts — actor-director Al Pacino, singer-songwriter James Taylor, singer Mavis Staples, pianist Martha Argerich and rock band the Eagles. Tons of other celebrities were in attendance, too, but all eyes were on the Obamas as their time in the White House comes to an end.

Before the gala began, President Obama welcomed the honorees at a reception at the White House and said being part of the gala was “one of the perks of the job.”

“The arts have always been part of life at the White House because the arts are always central to American life,” he said. “That’s why over the past eight years Michelle and I have invited some of the best writers, musicians, actors and dancers to share their gifts with the American people and to help tell the story of who we are.”

The President spoke about each of the honorees, telling a story of how Pacino was so committed to a role that he physically “got sick” on stage and called Taylor “among the most prolific and admired musicians of our time.”

The Eagles were chosen to be honored last year, but the band opted to delay participation because of founding member Glenn Frey’s poor health. Frey died in January, and Frey’s widow, Cindy Frey, attended this year’s ceremony alongside his bandmates. According to the Los Angeles Times, Bob Seger, the Kings of Leon, Vince Gill and Colombian musician Juanes performed some of the Eagles’ biggest hits on Sunday.

Manuel Balce Ceneta
Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images
Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images
Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images

Michelle dazzled in a green, off-shoulder dress designed by Gucci, according to a White House staffer. Her husband looked dapper in a traditional black suit and bow tie. Throughout the three-hour ceremony, the duo bobbed their heads during several memorable musical performances, with President Obama snapping his fingers to the beat. The First Lady was often seen speaking to Staples, who was seated next to her.

The honorees were set apart by their rainbow-colored garlands, which they wore proudly throughout the evening.

Sean Penn, Garth Brooks, Aretha Franklin, David Letterman, Diana Ross, Kevin Spacey and Ringo Starr were among the all-star guests celebrating the honorees.

The 39th edition of the Kennedy Center Honors is set to air Tuesday, Dec. 27 (9 p.m. ET/PT) on CBS.

Related Articles