The comedian and Oscar-winner will be honoured at the White House in Washington, D.C. by U.S. President Barack Obama, who will hand out the medals for the last time before he leaves office in January (17).

In addition to Brooks and Freeman, the other honourees are music mogul Berry Gordy, six-time Tony winner Audra MCDonald, composer Philip Glass, author Sandra Cisneros, musician Santiago Jimenez, Jr., playwright and director Moises Kaufman, dancer and choreographer Ralph Lemon, playwright and actor Luis Valdez, painter Jack Whitten, and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.

The National Medal of Arts are the U.S. government's highest arts award is presented to those who are "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States".

The recipients will be honoured at a ceremony on 22 September (16).