French President Nicolas Sarkozy is making American actor and director Clinton Eastwood a commander in the prestigious French Legion of Honor.
The citation for the highly coveted decoration says Eastwood, 79, is being honored for his body of work, his longevity and his ability to delight audiences around the globe, The Associated Press reports.
It is unusual for a foreigner to be elevated to the rank of commander of the French Legion of Honor but Eastwood, who went from playing tough-guy roles like Dirty Harry to directing highly praised films, said he saw France as his second home.
"My wife chastised me, saying if that was true why don't I speak French," he told friends and officials gathered at the Elysee Palace for the ceremony, promising to take lessons.
"As a commander of the arts and letters, I think I will go out on the streets of France today and throw my weight around," said Eastwood, 79, who recently finished making the thriller "Hereafter" in France, Los Angeles Times reports.
Speaking in English, Eastwood thanked Sarkozy and the French people.
"This is a wonderful honor," Eastwood said. "It is just a great pleasure for me. I really love France. I love movies, and I love the appreciation that the French people have for movies," The SunNews informs.