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Scoop: Obama to award medals to Sally Field, Stephen King, Alice Waters

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Sally Field is one of several artists who will receive the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

Actress Sally Field and author Stephen King are among luminaries set to receive a National Medal of Arts or a National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama.

Obama will bestow the honors on 18 people and three institutions during a White House ceremony on Thursday.

Field, of Los Angeles, is receiving an arts medal for showing dignity, empathy and fearlessness in performances that have touched audiences worldwide, as well as for showing those same qualities in her off-screen advocacy for women, LGBT rights and public health.

King, of Bangor, Maine, is also receiving an arts medal for combining storytelling with analysis of human nature, and for thrilling readers through decades of work.

Alice Waters, chef-owner of the organic restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, is receiving a National Humanities Medal for her work as a champion of a holistic approach to eating and health.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities were created by Congress in 1965 to provide grants to support artistic excellence and creativity, and to advance the
understanding and appreciation of history, literature, philosophy and language.

Both independent agencies are celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year.

Superheroes dethroned

After a lackluster 2014 summer, Hollywood has bounced back with one of its best seasons ever. But the most surprising part of the turnaround is that superheroes aren’t the ones who saved the day.

Instead, Hollywood’s summer was led by a banner season from Universal Pictures, the lone major studio with nary a cape in its cupboard. With a record-setting $5.3 billion-plus in revenue so far this year, Universal has powered Hollywood to a near record summer with a diverse string of hits including the season’s top film “Jurassic World” ($1.6 billion worldwide), the top animated hit, “Minions,” and one of the most successful sequels, “Pitch Perfect 2.”

After the summer limps to a close over Labor Day weekend, the North American box office will have tallied about $4.4 billion in ticket receipts, according to box office data firm Rentrak. That’s second only to the record $4.75 billion summer of 2013 and an improvement of about 7.5 percent from last summer’s downturn.

Happy birthday

Former Oakland Raider Ricky Lumpkin is 27. … Actress Evan Rachel Wood is 28. … Actor Devon Sawa (”Slackers,” “Final Destination”) is 37. … Actor Corbin Bernsen is 61. … Singer Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders is 64.

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

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