President Barack Obama has named 21 people who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
This is America’s highest civilian honour and the people who have received this are considered to have made extraordinary contributions to security or human interests of the US, world peace or similar. Amongst the 21 recipients are Lorne Michaels and Ellen Degeneres. These two are probably best known for making people laugh and putting a smile on our faces.
I don’t think we need to introduce you to Ellen but the bio by the White House for her reads: “Ellen DeGeneres is an award-winning comedian who has hosted her popular daytime talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003 with her trademarked humour, humility and optimism. In 2003 Ellen lent her voice to a forgetful but unforgettable little fish named Dory in Finding Nemo. She reprised her role again in 2016 with the hugely successful Finding Dory. Ellen also hosted the Academy Awards twice, in 2007 and 2014. In 1997, after coming out herself, DeGeneres made TV history when her character on Ellen revealed she was a lesbian. In her work and in her life, she has been a passionate advocate for equality and fairness.”
Have a listen to Barack Obama’s very moving speech about Ellen.
Lorne Michaels is a Canadian-American television producer, writer, comedian and actor. We probably know him best for creating and producing Saturday Night Live. This TV comedy genius has also produced shows The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers and 30 Rock. With an array of shows like that under your belt we can bet there isn’t much people that hasn’t laughed watching his work.
The recipients were presented the awards at the White House on November 22nd. Others that received the award on night include Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Bill Gates and Bruce Springsteen.