PARIS - Bestselling US author Danielle Steel has been awarded France's highest honor, the government's official newsletter revealed Wednesday, one of hundreds of personalities to be given the Legion d'honneur on New Year's Day.
Steel joins other foreigners such as singers Bono and Bob Dylan or writer Philip Roth awarded the "Ordre National de la Legion d'honneur" in recognition of service to France or work that is deemed to uphold its ideals.
France traditionally announces the awards on January 1 every year, as well as every Easter and July 14th, the country's national day.
Foreigners do not formally become members of the order -- founded by Napoleon in 1802 -- but are decorated with the legion's insignia.
Steel -- who was made a "Chevalier" (Knight) of the order, the lowest of five rankings -- has sold 600 million copies of her books, in 70 countries and in 43 languages.
In 2002, she had already been decorated as an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, France's top cultural honour.
Those who have already become members of the Legion d'honneur can be elevated to higher ranks.
Among those promoted Wednesday was 93-year-old French actress Michele Morgan, a leading lady for decades who was compared to a young Greta Garbo in the early days of her career and once starred in a film with Humphrey Bogart. — Agence France-Presse