Obama honours Jones and Streep
Published 03/03/2011 | 13:06
Meryl Streep and record producer Quincy Jones were among 20 artists, scholars and writers honoured by US President Barack Obama in a salute to the arts and humanities.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama filled the East Room of the White House with an array of talent from the worlds of letters and music, history, dance and film.
Other well-known names honoured included author Philip Roth and jazz artist Sonny Rollins.
"One of the great joys of being president is getting a chance to pay tribute to the artists and authors, poets and performers who have touched our hearts and opened our minds," Obama said.
Multiple Oscar winner Meryl was unable to attend the ceremony, as was Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird.
The president bestowed 10 National Medal of Arts and 10 National Humanities Medals.
"I speak personally here because there are people here whose books or poetry or works of history shaped me," he said.
Singer-songwriter James Taylor revealed he was "just over the moon, sailing," after receiving his medal.