The Star Wars creator was presented with the ceremonial rainbow ribbon for his contribution to U.S. culture following a State Department Dinner in Washington, D.C. on Saturday (05Dec15).

George and his fellow honourees, actresses Rita Moreno and Cicely Tyson, songwriter Carole King and conductor Seiji Ozawa, were then celebrated by a host of stars at a tribute concert on Sunday (06Dec15).

Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher sent in a video message to the moviemaker, which was projected as a hologram from a model of the film's robot character R2-D2 in a nod to a scene in the original 1977 sci-fi blockbuster.

She said, "I wanted to be there to help celebrate your Kennedy Center honour in person, but hey, since you invented video voicemail, I don't have to be... Thank you for giving me one of my biggest roles... and most famous hairstyles."

Steven Spielberg appeared in person to compare George to well-known inventors, saying, "He's a pathfinder and a pioneer like (Thomas) Edison and (Alexander Graham) Bell and (Nikola) Tesla and (Steve) Jobs... George Lucas' Star Wars absolutely changed films forever," while Martin Scorsese called him "a hero to young people all over the world."

Cicely Tyson was honoured in speeches by Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and Tyler Perry, and Rita Moreno was praised by her onscreen granddaughter, Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez, and Rosie Perez, who gave a musical performance. She sang Fever with Animal from The Muppets on drums in tribute to Moreno's Emmy Award-winning appearance on The Muppets Show in 1976.

The cast of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical sang the songwriter's hits with the help of special guests Janelle Monae, James Taylor and Aretha Franklin, who performed a rendition of (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman.

The Eagles were unable to appear at the gala to accept their honours this year (15) as bandmate Glenn Frey faces health issues. They were still remembered at the tribute concert by country star Miranda Lambert, who covered their track Desperado.

The event is televised in the U.S. on 29 December (15).