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Stars Shine At Kennedy Center

At the star-studded 22nd annual Kennedy Center Honors gala Sunday night, Sean Connery and Stevie Wonder were among five lifetime achievers. They were joined by comedian-pianist Victor Borge, dancer Judith Jamison and actor Jason Robards.

Reflecting on his career, Wonder told CBS Early Show co-anchor Jane Clayson Monday "I think I was never inhibited by anything. I think that being blind Â… was something that happened that was unfortunate that became a blessing."

Wonder, who made headlines last week with news he wants to try an experimental eye surgery that might allow him to see, if only for a few minutes at a time, told Clayson there are many things he would love to see, should he get the chance:

"I want to see my children, my family, my loved ones, and my friends," Wonder said. "And I would like to see the earth."


AP
Sean Connery with Hillary and Bill Clinton at the gala.

At a White House reception before the show, the president made Connery, a Scot, an honorary U.S. citizen, joking that "after all, we couldn't have won the Cold War without you."

Connery is best known for his role during three decades as James Bond in films based on Ian Fleming's novels. At 69, he is still a classic action hero.

Asked why the notoriously kitschy 007 films have such staying-power, Connery told The Early Show:

"There was a bit of humor, fun and sex and nothing that you couldn't handle, right?"

Connery also showed the Kennedy Center audience some of his other talents, taking a few Scottish dance steps at his seat when a local bagpipe band played in his honor.

Comedian Bill Cosby, an honoree last year, didn't fare so well when he told the audience he planned to dance, as he tried to last year on a dare from Shirley Temple Black.

After being jeered in jest by the audience, Cosby yielded to Jamison's troupe to perform her signature dance, Cry.

The company's biggest star for 15 years, Jamison has led the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater since its founder died in 1989.

Robards, 77, has performed in stage dramas from Shakespeare to Harold Pinter. He won back-to-back Academy Awards for his roles in All the President's Men and Julia.

The Danish-born Borge, who turns 91 next month, made his debut as a 10-year-old soloist with the Copenhagen Philharmonic. Today, he is best known for his less-than-straight performances, falling off piano benches or swatting at flies, as he combined stand-up comedy with classical music.

But it was the tribute to Stevie Wonder, who at 4 was the youngest award recipient, that brought the most talent to the stage, including musicians Herbie Hancock and Smokey Robinson.

Robinson praised Wonder's leadership in fighting against famine and apartheid in South Africa, and dozens of entertainers sang a collection of his songs.

Per tradition, the show's five honorees sat in a posh balcony with the Clintons and took in the proceedings.

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