America honours its heroes of culture
ACTOR Dustin Hoffman and rock band Led Zeppelin have been awarded America's highest cultural honour.
Along with TV host David Letterman, Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy and ballerina Natalia Makarova, the stars have received the the Kennedy Centre Honours at a glittering Washington ceremony.
The awards are presented to people who have influenced American culture through the arts.
Meryl Streep introduced the honourees on Saturday during a dinner at the US State Department and noted that Letterman had surpassed his mentor, Johnny Carson, in sustaining the longest late-night television career for more than 30 years.
Big names from the rock world dressed in black tie for the occasion to honour their heroes in Led Zeppelin as a string ensemble played 'Kashmir' and other tunes at the State Department.
Foo Fighters singer Dave Grohl said he never took any music lessons when he was starting out because "my teachers were Led Zeppelin".
Zeppelin front man Robert Plant said he was flattered and overwhelmed to receive the American culture prize. He said he was glad to see his former band mates, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page, using good table manners.
The trio is scheduled to appear tonight on CBS's 'Late Show with David Letterman'. They are often asked if they'll reunite.
Plant said he plans to continue travelling the world and wants to make new music along the way.
"If anybody wants to write some new songs, I'm game to write songs," said Plant, who collaborated with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss on the 2009 Grammy-winning album 'Raising Sand'.
Glenn Close toasted Hoffman for defining the character actor as leading man and for setting the highest standards for himself.