This week, President Obama named Ellen DeGeneres as one of the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom recognises people who have made “especially meritorious contributions” to the US, the White House said, and is seen as the highest honour a civilian can receive in the US.

In a statement, he said the medal was a “tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better”.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor – it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better. From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”

Obama will honour the 20 other people at a ceremony.

Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Diana Ross and Robert Redford are among the other honourees from the entertainment world.

Bill and Melinda Gates and Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels will also be recognised.

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