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Wonder youngest ever towin Keniiedy Honors
WASHINGTON - Stevie Wonder,
the 49-year-old songwriter and musi-
cian who has been a spokesman for
social justice, Tuesday became the
youngest person ever selected for the
Kennedy Center Honors.
This year's salutes are also going to"
the comic pianist Victor Borge, the
prototypical suave spy Sean Connery,
the elegant dancer Judith Jamison and
the Paywright's actor Jason Robards.
The selections always provoke
debate. This year some will raise eye-
brows at the choice of Connery, a
staunch Scot who has never lived in
America. Last year some critics
sniffed at the inclusion of Shirley
Temple Black because her show busi-
ness career had ended 50 years earli-
er, but there nostalgia won out over
Wonder has sold almost as many
records as the Beatles or Elvis
Presley. He's been a fixture on the
American music scene since 1963
when, as Little Stevie Wonder, his
"Fingertips Pt. 2" became a hit.
Playing the harmonica, drums and
piano, Wonder was a staple of the-
Motown sound of the 1960s and '70s,
pouring out "For Once in My Life,"
"Signed, Sealed, -Delivered" and "My
In the 1970s, after a bitter break
with Motown Records and then a rec-
onciliation, Wonder took control of
his career and fashioned almost
unparalleled musical innovation and
In a short period, he produced
seven classic albums with songs that
were topical anthems, from "Living
for the City" to "Higher Ground," as
well as dance hits "Superstition" and
"You Are the Sunshine of My Life."
Wonder said Tuesday that the
Kennedy Center honor ranks with his
first Grammy (for "Superstition"); his
1984 Oscar. for Best Song ("I Just
Called to Say I Love You," from "The
Woman in Red" and successfully lob-
bying to make Martin Luther King Jr.
Day a national holiday.
"This is a statement from the coun-
try in which I was born, and looking
back on my life, and even though I'm
just turning 49, I never imagined all
this," he said. "I prayed for many
things in my life. As a little boy, I
prayed for things that would help my
mother, my brothers and sister, all my
loved ones. That isn't to say I didn't
pray that God would help me. It is
almost as if everything I prayed for
has happened and even more."
Connery, 69, had a. modest stage
and screen career until 1962, when he
was cast to play Ian Fleming's roman-
tic daredevil agent James Bond.
Connery made -the franchise one of
the most successful in movie history,
starting with "Dr. No" and continuing
through "Never Say Never Again" in
1983. At times, the more mature
. . . . . . . . . . . .
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