Movie veteran Robert Redford nearly shunned the Kennedy Center honour he was awarded last month (DEC05), as he feared it would affiliate him with US President George W Bush.

Redford, who received the nod for his contribution to American culture, had to sit next to the US leader at during the New York ceremony, but he was keen not to be seen as a Bush supporter.

He says, "It's obviously a big honour, that cannot be denied. My initial confusion was whether it was in any way tied to government.

"Once I realised it was an honour above politics, I breathed easier."