Mel Brooks, Morgan Freeman to get National Medal of Arts

Associated Press
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FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, Mel Brooks addresses the audience during the American Film Institute's 41st Lifetime Achievement Award Gala at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. President Barack Obama plans to honor actors Mel Brooks and Morgan Freeman with the 2015 National Medal of Arts. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will honor actors Mel Brooks and Morgan Freeman with the 2015 National Medal of Arts, the White House said Wednesday.

The artists and other leading creative figures have been invited to receive the medal at a White House ceremony on Sept. 22. First lady Michelle Obama also planned to attend.

The White House said Brooks was being honored for "a lifetime of making the world laugh." The actor, director, writer and musician is one of the few artists to have won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy.

Freeman will be honored for his work as an actor, director and narrator.

"His iconic stage and screen performances have brought to life characters from the whole spectrum of the human experience, moving audiences around the world, and influencing countless young artists," the White House said in a statement.

Other winners this year include composer Philip Glass, actress and singer Audra McDonald, author Sandra Cisneros and painter Jack Whitten. Musician Santiago Jimenez Jr. and playwright Moises Kaufman are also on the list.

The White House also announced that celebrity chef Jose Andres is among the 2015 recipients of the National Humanities Medal. So are jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, public radio host Terry Gross and author James McBride.

Others receiving the National Medal of Arts:

— Record producer and songwriter Berry Gordy

— Dancer and choreographer Ralph Lemon

— The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center

— Playwright and actor Luis Valdez

Others receiving the National Humanities Medal:

— Author Rudolfo Anaya

— Author Louis Menand

— Author Ron Chernow

— Prison University Project, Higher Education Program

— Physician and author Abraham Verghese

— Historian and author Elaine Pagels

— Journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson

— Poet Louise Gluck