Former President Bill Clinton, talk show icon Oprah Winfrey and Benjamin Bradlee, the former executive editor of the Washington Post who oversaw the Watergate coverage that helped end the presidency of Richard Nixon, will be awarded the country’s highest civilian honor by President Obama later this year.
Obama will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 honorees in all, including the late astronaut Sally Ride, women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, baseball star Ernie Banks, former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith and country singer Loretta Lynn. More than 500 people who have made “especially meritorious contributions” to national security, world peace or cultural developments have received the medal in the 50 years since President John F. Kennedy established the awards.
“Good God, how fabulous,” Bradlee said in a phone interview from the vacation home he owns with his wife, Post writer Sally Quinn. “What more can a man get? I feel terribly honored.”
Wynn donates $25M for eye research
Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, right, will donate $25 million to the University of Iowa to accelerate the search for cures to rare eye diseases including the one that hampers his own vision, the school announced Thursday. The donation will support the Institute for Vision Research, will be renamed in honor of the billionaire chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd. The institute is a leader in genetic testing for eye disease. Wynn, 71, has retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that affects one in 4,000 people and causes night blindness and weakness in peripheral vision.
New at the abbey: After losing two beloved main characters – first Lady Sybil and then Matthew – audiences may be wondering what further tragedy lies in store on Season 4 of “Downton Abbey.” But Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary, reassures fans that as far as she knows, no other major characters will be leaving the show, which is set to return to PBS on Jan. 5.
Two and a half plus one: The search for Angus T. Jones’ replacement on CBS’ “Two and a Half Men” is likely over. Amber Tamblyn has been cast as Jenny Harper, the illegitimate lesbian daughter of the late Charlie Harper (formerly played by Charlie Sheen) on the half-hour sitcom.