(Mar. 4) -- Pulitzer Prize-winning author Norman Mailer received France's most prestigious award, the Legion of Honor, at a Friday evening ceremony.
H.E. Jean-David Levitte, the French ambassador to the United States, presented the medal to Mailer on behalf of President Jacques Chirac at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
"Norman Mailer is an American hero with a fierce love of freedom and an intellectual who has taken a stand in all the great struggles of his time," Levitte said in a statement.
Mailer lived in Paris after World War II and studied at the Sorbonne before publishing "The Naked and the Dead," the 1948 war story that earned him instant fame. He was previously awarded the insignia of Commander of the French Order of Arts and Letters in 1983.
Mailer, 83, won the Pulitzer Prize for "The Armies of the Night" in 1969 and again in 1980 for "The Executioner's Song."
Other Americans to receive the medal of the Legion of Honor include I.M. Pei and Colin Powell. Fewer than 500 people living today have received the award, which was created by Napoleon in 1802