Nashville, Tenn. (February 13, 2012) – This afternoon in Washington D.C., country music icon Mel Tillis was awarded the National Medal of Art by President Barack Obama.
Tillis, along with actor Al Pacino, artist Will Barnett, author Rita Dove, curator, collector and arts patron Emily Rauth Pulitzer, sculptor Martin Puryear, pianist André Watts (not in attendance) and the United Service Organization were presented with medals as the 2011 recipients.
From the East Room of the White House, President Obama, alongside First Lady Michelle Obama, presented the Country Music Hall of Famer with the prestigious medal. Tillis proudly accepted grinning ear-to-ear.
“I've had a blessed career, and that has been acknowledged in many ways over the years,” says Tillis. “I was pleasantly surprised when I got the call because I didn't know there were anymore awards left to win. I'm very thankful and what an honor!"
The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government. The National Medal of Arts is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups 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. Past recipients include B.B. King, James Earl Jones, Maya Angelou, George Jones, Hallmark Cards, Minnie Pearl, Robert Shaw, Johnny Cash, Frank Capra, Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood, AT&T and National Public Radio.
Along with Marty Robbins, Mel Tillis has been chosen to receive the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award honoring individuals who are pioneers in the country music genre.
Nashville, Tennessee - The Country Music Association announced today that influential radio and television personality Ralph Emery, multi-award-winning entertainer Vince Gill and legendary singer/songwriter Mel Tillis will become the newest members of the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame. Emery will be inducted in the “Non-Performer” category, which is awarded every third year in a rotation with the “Career Achieved National Prominence Prior to World War II” and “Recording and/or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980” categories. Gill will be the third artist inducted in the “Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present” category, which was created in 2005. Tillis will be inducted in the “Career Achieved National Prominence Between World War II and 1975” category. “Induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the highest musical honor a Country Music artist and industry veteran can attain,” said Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Operating Officer. “All three of these extraordinary men are highly deserving of this honor. “Ralph Emery brought more than just Country Music into our homes via radio and television. His entertaining and thought-provoking interviews have always provided a unique glimpse into the personal side of our favorite performers. “As a singer, songwriter and performer, Mel set a high standard for all entertainers. His presence in movies and TV alongside the top actors of that time gave Country Music a higher profile in the ‘70s and made Mel a pop culture icon. “Vince is the ultimate triple threat: a singer with the voice of an angel, a songwriter who conveys the joys and heartbreaks of life with every word he writes, and a consummate musician, who is equally at home playing guitar with Chet Atkins or Eric Clapton. As the longtime host of the CMA Awards, Vince also represented Country Music with dignity and humor for 12 years.” Emery, Gill and Tillis will be officially inducted in October during the traditional, invitation-only Medallion Ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum. “It is with great pride that CMA will induct these three outstanding artists and personalities into the Country Music Hall of Fame, where they will join a small yet monumental group of entertainers and industry veterans whose influence on Country Music is enormous,” said Genovese.
Nashville, Tennessee - Country music legend and Nashville Songrwriters Hall of Fame member Mel Tillis was inducted into the world-famous Grand Ole Opry this evening. "Tonight we are honored to welcome one of country music's finest entertainers into the Opry's family of new stars, superstars, and legends," said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. "Mel's remarkable talents as a singer, songwriter, actor, and comedian are a perfect compliment to the Opry's promise to present authentic, high quality country music experience. Welcome to the family, Mel."
Nashville, Tennessee - NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Country music legend and Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame member Mel Tillis was invited to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Tillis' formal induction will take place on Saturday, June 9.
After taking the Opry stage to perform two songs, Tillis was appraoched by Opry member Bill Anderson who asked, "How would you like to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry? We'd love to have you." A very moved Tillis replied, "This is another part of a dream yet to be fulfilled. The Opry's always been on my mind. God bless the Grand Ole Opry."
After Tillis walked off stage Anderson remarked, "When I was asked to invite Mel, I said, "I whisper and Mel stutters. No one is going to know what was said.!'"
"All of us with the Opry are excited to welcome Mel Tillis as our newest Opry member on June 9," said Pete Fisher, Opry vice-president and general manager. "Mel is known around the world for his unique and high-quality brand of entertainment. Whether as a singer, actor, or songwriter, he represents what the Opry's all about, and we look forward to welcoming him in to our family of new stars, superstars, and legends."
November 10, 2004 - Nashville, Tennessee - The Reunion of Professional Entertainers (R.O.P.E.) awarded Mel Tillis with the 2004 ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR Award.
The organization consists of entertainment industry veterans with approximately 600 members.
July 17, 2002 - Branson Missouri: Country great Mel Tillis announced the sell of his theater at a Branson press conference July 10, 2002. The Theater, along with 13 acres of additional land will make a heavenly transformation to a church, thanks to Hobby Lobby, Inc. in the next coming months, but not entirely until Mel completes 135 more shows through New Year's Eve at that location. Daughter Pam Tillis will join him at Christmas for a Tillis Family Christmas. "I'm not worried about the theater now, its in God's Hand's and you can't get any better than that."
An extremely happy Mel Tillis will pursue other interests like "fishing, working on an album with his family, and with his band" and divide time between his homes in Branson, Nashville, and Florida. David Green, owner of Hobby Lobby, Inc. was the benevolent purchaser and will in turn lease the property to the Tri-Lakes Cathedral group. Tillis first arrived in Branson on a permanent basis in 1990 and leased what is now the Yakov Theater for two years, built the Will Rogers Theater in 1992 with partner Melvin Hall, and then eventually built Branson's finest theater, his present location, in 1994. Mel has performed over 4,000 shows in Branson for millions of visitor and has been one of Branson's most successful shows.