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MusiCares Honors James Taylor

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James Taylor

James Taylor will be honored as the 2006 MusiCares Person of the Year for a career that spans nearly four decades and for his efforts to promote children's health and the environment. Taylor will be honored February 6 at the group's annual dinner, held by The Recording Academy in the week leading up to the Grammys, it was announced recently.

"MusiCares and The Recording Academy take great pride in honoring James Taylor as an extraordinary human being, musician and humanitarian who has made a global impact on music and culture," Neil Portnow, president of the MusiCares Foundation and the academy, said in a statement.

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James Taylor

Taylor, 57, has earned 40 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards for songs ranging from 1970s' "Sweet Baby James" to the 2002 Grammy-nominated "October Road." He has served as a board member of the Natural Resources Defense Council and supported research on issues such as juvenile diabetes.

The MusiCares Foundation was founded by the Academy in 1989 to help musicians in need. This year, the Academy and MusiCares have pledged $1 million for musicians and others in the music industry affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

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Judi Dench Receives Companion of Honor

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II invests Oscar-winning actress

Dame Judi Dench with the Insignia of a Companion of

Honour at Buckingham Palace.

Judi Dench, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in 1998's "Shakespeare in Love," is now a Companion of Honor. She received the honor from Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony Wednesday, October 26 at Buckingham Palace. The honor recognizes service of national importance and is limited to a select group of 65 people at any one time. The 70-year-old actress was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1988.

Dench played 007's boss, Barbara 'M' Mawdsley in several James Bond movies and was Queen Victoria in "Mrs. Brown." Her other screen credits also include roles in "Chocolat," "Iris," "Tea With Mussolini," "The Shipping News" and "Pride & Prejudice." Dench has also done some time on the small screen. American audiences may know her from her portrayal of Jean Pargetter-Hardcastle in BBC's "As Time Goes By" on PBS.

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