National Aviation Hall of Fame's "Oscar Night of Aviation"
lands comedian Rich Little as Enshrinement Emcee
Golf legend Arnold Palmer, journalist Nick Clooney along with Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Charlie Precourt also slated to present
(Dayton, Ohio - May 21, 2009) The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) is pleased to announce actor and comedian Rich Little will emcee the 48th Annual Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony Saturday, July 18, 2009 at the Dayton Convention Center. A master mimic and acclaimed performer, Rich Little was a longtime friend of one of this year's NAHF inductees, actor and pilot, the late James W. Stewart, one of Little's Hollywood favorites to affectionately lampoon on screen and stage.
Originally from Canada, Little began his career at age 12 when he mimicked the voices of his teachers in answering their questions. He got his start in nightclubs and moved on to television, where he appeared in more than 50 television programs, ranging from variety shows, series and specials. Named "Comedy Star of the Year" by the American Guild of Variety Artists, he has nine comedy albums and three HBO comedy specials to his credit. Little received national acclaim several years ago when he toured the country with a comedy play entitled "The Presidents." In full makeup and costume, he portrayed nine presidents, ranging from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush.
In previous years the ceremony cast of presenters has been as notable as those who were being inducted, and this year's historic event will prove no different. Those selected to present the enshrinee Class of 2009 at the black-tie gala are:
Col. Charles J. Precourt, USAF (Ret) was selected by NASA in 1990 flew his first mission aboard Columbia STS-55 in April 1993. Precourt again flew in space in 1995 as pilot of the Atlantis space shuttle mission STS-71, the first mission to dock with the Russian Space Station, Mir, and exchange a crew member. In 1997, Precourt was crew commander of an international crew on STS-84 and in 1998 with STS-91, Precourt made the final Shuttle-Mir mission. Precourt will present fellow astronaut Col. Eileen Collins, USAF, (Ret) for enshrinement.
Arnold Palmer is most notably known for his golf skills. He is the winner of numerous events on both the PGA tour and Champions Tour, dating back to 1955. Between 1960 and 1963, Palmer had his most prolific years on tour when he won 29 PGA Tour events in four seasons. Palmer acquired his first jet aircraft in 1966. He's owned a Lear Jet, and five different Cessna jets, purchasing the first Citation X from Cessna. On May 19, 1976, he set a world record by circumnavigating the globe in a Lear 36 in less than 58 hours. Arnold Palmer will be presenting his friend and former Cessna Aircraft Company chairman and CEO, Russell W. Meyer, Jr., for enshrinement.
Nick Clooney is a journalist, anchorman, author and activist. A longtime news and TV personality in Kentucky and Ohio, known for his delivering the news in a hard, factual manner, Clooney gained a national profile when he hosted the ABC game show, The Money Maze. He is also recognized for his work as spokesman and writer for the American Movie Classics cable channel. A long time columnist for The Cincinnati Post, Clooney continues to write for the newspaper and covers a wide range of topics including politics, human rights, entertainment, and more. Clooney will present Stewart's enshrinement to Carson Greene, Jr., President of the Jimmy Stewart Museum, who will accept on behalf of the Stewart family.
Neil Armstrong is a former astronaut, test pilot and the first person to set foot on theMoon. His first spaceflight was aboard Gemini 8 in 1966, for which he was the command pilot. On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft together with pilot David Scott. Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission on July 20, 1969. On this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2½ hours exploring while Michael Collins remained in orbit in the Command Module. Armstrong is a 1979 NAHF Enshrinee and recipient the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. Armstrong will present the late Edward Higgins White, II, for enshrinement, with White's son and daughter accepting.
Often referred to as "America's Oscar Night of Aviation," the NAHF enshrinement celebration in July will attract hundreds of industry leaders, government and defense officials, former enshrinees, and aviation enthusiasts worldwide. Among those attending will be numerous NASA astronauts and officials, including many Apollo mission veterans and moonwalkers.
The formal enshrinement ceremony will take place in Dayton - The Birthplace of Aviation – on Saturday, July 18, 2009, where the four will join the 199 legends of flight previously so honored by the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Advance reservations for the NAHF's 48th Annual Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony on July 18, 2009, may be placed by calling 937-256-0944 ext.10. Seats are $150 per person and a portion of each seat purchased is deductible as allowed by law. For more information visit the NAHF website at www.nationalaviation.org or call 937-256-0944 ext.10.
The NAHF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in Dayton in 1962 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964. Its mission is to honor America's outstanding air and space pioneers, which it does through a 17,000 square-foot public Learning Center featuring interactive exhibits, a youth education program, its annual enshrinement ceremony, and other public outreach programs.