Paul McCartney, one of the five performers named for this year's Kennedy Center honors, has canceled his appearance and will be named on the list for 2003. He sent the Kennedy Center a message of regr

Paul McCartney, one of the five performers named for this year's Kennedy Center honors, has canceled his appearance and will be named on the list for 2003. He sent the Kennedy Center a message of regret and apology.

James A. Johnson, chairman of the center, issued a statement saying that he understood and respected McCartney's sense of priority. He did not say what the personal obligation was that prevented McCartney's coming to Washington for the weekend of Dec. 7 for the presentation of the awards. A representative for McCartney was unavailable for comment.

Traditionally, the president and first lady give a reception at the White House and then go to the gala celebration at the Kennedy Center.

Johnson will consult next week on a replacement for McCartney, the Kennedy Center said. As previously reported, others to be honored are actors Elizabeth Taylor, James Earl Jones, Chita Rivera, and conductor James Levine.


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