OSCAR-winning movie maker Ron Howard came down quickly after being presented the NATIONAL MEDAL OF ARTS at the White House last week - he had to make his own way home in the rain.

The A Beautiful Mind director was thrilled to be awarded his gong by PRESIDENT George W Bush in Washington DC last week (12NOV03), but he insists the planning of the ceremony could have been better.

He says, "It was a great honour. They gathered all of us like clockwork, along with our guests, in the hotel lobby at a specific time.

"They took us all over on a bus and it's roll call and it's checking IDs and it's all buttoned down, and the President and Laura Bush were extremely gracious, and it was a thrill as he placed the medal over my neck.

"It was all wonderful and then we went to a reception, the President excused himself because he had so much to do and eventually it was time to go and I said, 'OK, where's the bus?'

"They said, 'There's no bus. Here's what you do: you walk out, hang a left, go down about 100 yards past that guard, then go down to that corner and you can get a cab.'

"It was fine for us but some of the people were a little more elderly. They were great at getting us there."

21/11/2003 09:27