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TUTU TAKES D.C. BY SURPRISE
DROPS IN UNEXPECTEDLY AT GALA TO PAY TRIBUTE TO BELAFONTE

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DROPS IN UNEXPECTEDLY AT GALA TO PAY TRIBUTE TO BELAFONTE

Not much raises eyebrows in the nation's capital, but South African Bishop Desmond Tutu raised several thousand pairs of eyebrows, wild cheers and a standing ovation at Kennedy Center when he made a surprise visit to pay tribute to singer-actor Harry Belafonte.

Belafonte, actresses Claudette Colbert and Mary Martin, ballerina Alexandra Danilova and composer William Schumann were the 1989 recipients of the 12th annual Kennedy Center Honors, awarded for outstanding lifetime achievements in the performing arts and impact on American culture.Past recipients include comedian George Burns, actress Myrna Loy, opera stars Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price, actors Jimmy Stewart and James Cagney, and composers Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland.

The finale of the weekendlong celebration, including an afternoon White House reception with first lady Barbara Bush, was the Honors Gala performance at Kennedy Center, featuring speeches and entertainment related to each artist's career.

Belafonte, cited not only for his performing career but also for his work on behalf of UNICEF, the USA for Africa relief project and other causes, appeared as shocked as the rest of the audience - including Mrs. Bush - when master of ceremonies Walter Cronkite introduced Tutu.

"My friends, such as they are, would be happy to know I came 10,000 miles to make a speech of only two to three minutes," said Tutu. "It is a privilege to be part of this tribute to a truly great person."

Remarking that Belafonte, 62, has worked "with constant zeal to end apartheid," Tutu added that should that day arrive, Belafonte would be "one of our most honored guests at the celebration."

Following Tutu's remarks, students from Eastern High School in Washington and Watkins Mill Elementary School of Gaithersburg, Md., sang an emotional rendition of "We Are The World," the song Belafonte and a number of pop singers released in 1985 to benefit African famine relief.

The gala was marked with several notable tributes to the honorees, including a humorous touch by Martin's son, actor Larry Hagman, best known for his role as the evil J.R. Ewing on the TV series "Dallas."

"I taught her everything she knows," said Hagman. "Actually, she's very proud to have J.R. for a son and I'm very proud to have Peter Pan for a mother," referring to Martin's award-winning role.