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Barbra Streisand Is Honored In France

Thursday, June 28------Legendary singer/actress/director Barbra Streisand performed her first-ever concert in France this week — and was rewarded with a medal of the Legion of Honor. Newly elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy honored the singer in a ceremony in Paris this evening at the Elysee Palace, the first time the new president had bestowed the honor upon anyone since he took over last month from Jacques Chirac. "You are the America that we love," Sarkozy announced at the ceremony. "Women like you ... do a lot to bring our two peoples together." Onlookers included French crooner Charles Aznavour and actor Alain Delon

Streisand, who is famous for rallying Hollywood to support Democrats, told the conservative French President that he reminded her of former US Presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, "who appreciated art, and recognized the importance of the arts in the world." According to presidential spokesman David Martinon, "France is thrilled to express the affection it has for this exceptional woman, who loves France, and who gave an unforgettable first concert in Paris after a career spanning 47 years."  Streisand's Paris concert took place at Bercy on Tuesday, and was attended by approximately 10,000 fans, including first lady Cecilia Sarkozy. The legendary singer is making her first European concert tour and will be in Berlin, Stockholm, Manchester, Dublin and London in the next three weeks.

Streisand, who first shot to fame in the Broadway and film versions of  FUNNY GIRL, is the US music industry's #1 best-selling female recording artist. She is second in the all-time charts, ahead of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, exceeded only by Elvis PresleyStreisand remains the only artist to receive an Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, and Peabody Awards, as well as the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award.

The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century and is France's elite national merit society. Although foreigners cannot be officially inducted into the Legion, they are routinely made honorary recipients of the medal. Recent honorees include comedian Jerry Lewis, Italian fashion designer Valentino and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist Norman Mailer.

Sandy Mandelberger, Awards Watch Editor 

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