President Barack Obama honored singer Linda Ronstadt, Jeffrey Katzenberg, head of Dreamworks Animation and Dina Rehm, public radio host, along with 22 others with the National Medal of Arts and National Medal of Humanities in an East Room ceremony. The award was created by Congress in 1984 and symbolizes the highest achievement of the leading artists and patrons in their fields. In 1997, the Humanities Medal was established to honor those who have contributed to the areas of philosophy, literature and history.
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Jefferey Katzenberg reinvigorated Disney animation in the 1990s with titles such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, and his own company, Dreamworks, has produced the high-grossing favorites How To Train Your Dragon, Madagascar and many others.
Katzenberg is one of Obama’s most dedicated fundraisers and donors. He donated several million dollars directly to Obama’s campaign, and to Obama’s “Priorities USA Action” SuperPAC.
The two men are on very friendly terms.
Linda Ronstadt, who has won 11 Grammy Awards an Emmy and many other honors, is a singer who defies category, has worked with musicians as divergent as Frank Zappa and Johnny Cash, and is known for her versatility in style and range.
On Diane Rehm’s eponymous show on National Public Radio, she has interviewed many U.S. Presidents and other high profile figures in politics, the arts and other fields.
Among the other recipients include the Brooklyn Academy of Music, writer Maxine Hong Kingston, literary critic M.H. Abrams and composer John Kander.