WASHINGTON, United States of America – Canadians Frank Gehry and Lorne Michaels are among the newest recipients of America’s highest civilian honour: the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that Toronto natives Gehry and Michaels are on the star-studded list of 21 new honourees.
Gehry is a world-renowned architect whose best-known buildings include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Dancing House in Prague, and the Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain. He was also behind the redesign of the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.
Michaels is a 13-time Emmy winner best known for creating and producing the legendary sketch comedy series “Saturday Night Live.” He has also produced “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” and the acclaimed sitcom “30 Rock.”
Other recipients include retired NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, two-time Oscar winner Robert DeNiro, rock legend Bruce Springsteen, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, and music icon Diana Ross.
The awards will be presented at the White House on Nov. 22.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honour — it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better,” Obama said in a statement.
“From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”