President Clinton on Monday presented actress Angela Lansbury, Latin percussionist Tito Puente, author and talk show host Studs Terkel and more than a dozen others with national medals of arts and humanities.
"We are, always have been, and always will be a nation of creators and innovators. We are, always have been, and always will be a nation supporting our artists and scholars. It is our heritage. It must be a great gift we give to the future," Clinton said.
Rock musician Don Henley and 90-year-old philanthropist Paul Mellon were also among the honorees.
Some other arts medal winners were: New York city sculptor Louise Bourgeois; jazz singer Betty Carter; New York arts patron Agnes Gund; Charlotte, Vt., landscape architect Daniel Urban Kiley; classical pianist James Levine, who is the Metropolitan Opera's artistic director, and dancer Edward Villella, artistic director for the Miami City Ballet.