George Lucas to receive National Medal of Arts

George Lucas George Lucas was praised for creating some of the most 'iconic films of all time'

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Star Wars director George Lucas is to be honoured with the National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony next week.

The 69-year-old is among 12 recipients being recognised for their cultural contributions to the US.

The White House praised the director for "combining the art of storytelling with boundless imagination and cutting-edge techniques".

President Barack Obama will award the medals next Wednesday.

"Mr Lucas has transported us to new worlds and created some of the most beloved and iconic films of all time," the White House added.

Herb Alpert, the co-founder of A&M Records and the Tijuana Brass is among the other recipients.

Honoured for his contribution to music and the fine arts, the Grammy-winner is best-known for his 1979 instrumental hit Rise and worked with the likes of The Carpenters, Sergio Mendes and Janet Jackson.

Playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner, best known for 1993 Al Pacino film Angels in America will also be honoured, as will screenwriter Elaine May, who was Oscar nominated for the films Primary Colors and Heaven Can Wait.

"With groundbreaking wit and a keen understanding of how humour can illuminate our lives, May has evoked untold joy, challenged expectations, and elevated spirits across our nation," her citation said.

Others to receive awards include Lin Arison, co-founder of the National Young Arts Foundation and the New World Symphony; Joan Myers Brown, the founder of the Philadelphia Dance Company; opera singer Renee Fleming; author Ernest Gaines; artist Ellsworth Kelly; landscape architect Laurie Olin and composer Allen Toussaint.

The Washington Performing Arts Society will also be honoured for "bringing world-class performances to our Nation's capital".

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