Beach Boys singer Brian Wilson and pianist Leon Fleisher were also among the celebrities to be presented with the honor–the highest accolade for an American performer or artist–by President George W. Bush at the White House this weekend.
Ross, 63, was praised for spreading “romance and joy throughout the world” with her voice; Wilson was hailed for his “era-defining transformation of the sound of music”; and Fleisher was celebrated for a career that is a “moving testament to the life-affirming power of art.”
The Departed filmmaker Scorsese was honored for being a “fearless artist” and a “visionary,” while funnyman Martin was branded a “renaissance comic whose talents wipe out the boundaries between artistic disciplines.”
The presentations will be followed by a gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening.
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