George Clooney, Gladys Knight, and U2 among Kennedy Center honorees

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George Clooney, Gladys Knight, and U2 are to be feted at the upcoming Kennedy Center Honors.

Leaders at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts have selected the Hollywood actor/filmmaker, the legendary singer, and members of the Irish rock band - Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr - for their 45th class of honorees.

"Growing up in a small town in Kentucky I could never have imagined that someday I'd be the one sitting in the balcony at the Kennedy Center Honors," said Clooney. "To be mentioned in the same breath with the rest of these incredible artists is an honour. This is a genuinely exciting surprise for the whole Clooney family."

Meanwhile, Knight noted that she is "humbled beyond words" to be included in the group.

"You could never have told me as a young girl starting my career that I would be honoured on a stage such as this, with artists and humanitarians such as these - it just wouldn't have seemed possible. It would have been the dream of all dreams," she exclaimed. "I have been blessed with so much in my life and this certainly stands with those achievements at the top of that list. To be honoured as a Kennedy Center Honoree is among the highlights of my career."

Other stars to be honoured for their lifetime artistic achievements include contemporary Christian and pop singer-songwriter Amy Grant and Cuban-born American composer, conductor, and educator Tania León.

The Kennedy Center Honors are set to take place on 4 December.