George Lucas will be honored by President Obama next week as he receives one of the 2012 National Medal of Arts awards in the East Room of the White House.
The Star Wars creator is one of 12 recipients of the award this year, which also includes playwright Tony Kushner and composer Allen Toussaint. Lucas is being honored for his contributions to American cinema, according to a news release from The White House.
"By combining the art of storytelling with boundless imagination and cutting-edge techniques, Mr. Lucas has transported us to new worlds and created some of the most beloved and iconic films of all time," the release said.
The awards are part of the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established by the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent federal agency. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.
Lucas sold his Lucasfilm studio -- home of the entire Star Wars franchise -- to the Walt Disney Co. last year for about the same amount of money that the NEA has put out every year. The expansion of his first student film, "THX 1138," became an instant hit. He moved forward with "American Graffiti" in 1973 that starred Richard Dreyfuss and future director Ron Howard.
Of course, it was "Star Wars" that would shoot him into international fame in 1977. He was nominated for four Oscars in his career, first for "American Graffiti" as a director and writer, and later for "Star Wars" for directing and writing. The film itself would win seven Oscars, including Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Effects-Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Music-Original Score and Best Sound.
Lucas is reportedly working on a fifth Indiana Jones film, once again starring Harrison Ford.
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