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Mon Dieu! France honors DGA's Jay Roth

January 22, 2009 |  5:14 pm

In the who-would-have-thought-it category, France has bestowed its highest honor on none other than Jay Roth, executive director of the Directors Guild of America.Official_portrait_jay_roth_cs

The French Consulate in Los Angeles announced this morning that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has named Roth a "Chevalier de L'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur," otherwise know as the French Legion of Honor. Hollywood luminaries who have received the honor in the past include Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood and, of course, Jerry Lewis.

Roth, although not a filmmaker, was recognized for his role in helping to create and promote the Franco American Cultural Fund, which was created 13 years ago to foster professional and cultural exchange between French and American filmmakers. Among other things, the fund is responsible for the annual City of Lights, City of Angels French Film Festival, held in April at the DGA Theatres in Los Angeles.

Established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the decoration honors distinguished civil or military achievements. Roth said he was honored to be recognized. "France and the United States share a rich and wonderful cinematic history, and to be recognized for my role in strengthening the ties between our two film communities is truly special," he said in a statement.

Also recognized was producer Mike Medavoy, co-founder of Orion Pictures and former chairman of TriStar Pictures. The onetime talent agent has had a long association with French film icons, including Jeanne Moreau and Francois Truffaut, and French talent, such as Dido Renoir and Juliette Binoche.

-- Richard Verrier