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Michelle Yeoh Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Sat 04 May 2024 | 09:15 AM
Michelle Yeoh
Michelle Yeoh
Yara Sameh

President Joe Biden bestowed Friday the highest civilian honour in the US at the White House.

Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh is among this year’s 19 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented annually, is the nation’s highest civilian honor, bestowed on individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.

Other recipients of the honor this year are: billionaire Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City; talk-show host and journalist Phil Donahue; former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; former U.S. Vice President Al Gore; Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.); Elizabeth Dole, former U.S. senator, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Labor, and president of the American Red Cross; civil rights pioneer Medgar Evers (posthumous); civil rights activist and lawyer Clarence B. Jones; John Kerry, former Secretary of State and senator; former U.S. senator Frank Lautenberg (posthumous); Olympic gold medal swimming champion Katie Ledecky; educator and activist Opal Lee; Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space and the second female director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center; astronomer Jane Rigby; Teresa Romero, president of the United Farm Workers and the first Latina to become president of a national union in the U.S.; Judy Shepard, co-founder of the Matthew Shephard Foundation, an organization created in honor of her son who was murdered in one of the nation’s most notorious hate crimes; and Jim Thorpe (posthumous), the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal.

Yeoh made history in with her starring turn in 2022’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” becoming the first Asian woman to receive the Oscar for best actress. 

She began her career starring in martial-arts action movies, notably “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” and has starred in numerous other films including the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” and Kenneth Branagh’s “A Haunting in Venice.” 

Yeoh also stars in the first Star Trek TV movie, “Section 31,” which recently wrapped filming. In 2023, she received the Kering Women in Motion Award at the Cannes Film Festival.