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Streep and Diamond claim accolades

Meryl Streep may have her next film assignment and Neil Diamond thanked the namesake of his famous tune Sweet Caroline as they joined other luminaries from Broadway, jazz and classical music to receive the Kennedy Centre Honours.

Broadway singer Barbara Cook, famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma and jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins were among several to receive the top award for those who have influenced American culture through the arts.

Caroline Kennedy, who hosts the show as part of a living memorial to her assassinated father, John F Kennedy, acknowledged her personal connection to one award winner. Diamond's Sweet Caroline was named after her.

"I'm going to have to thank her for that," Diamond said before the show.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama praised the actors and musicians at the White House.

"They have different talents, and they've travelled different paths," Mr Obama said.

"And yet they belong here together because each of tonight's honourees has felt the need to express themselves and share that expression with the world."

He said everyone has that desire for self-expression in common. "That's why we dance, even if, as Michelle says, I look silly doing it," he said to laughter.

Smokey Robinson sang Sweet Caroline with help from Ms Kennedy.

Streep, 62, has won two Oscars in a career spanning Shakespeare to Abba with the movie Mamma Mia!

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