MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) – The MSU Riley Center was packed Saturday night with people honoring some of the best and brightest that Mississippi has to offer.
"This evening was truly magical," Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience director Mark Tullos says. "With all 18 inductees, their friends, the artists and their families and especially all the supporters throughout the state and the city of Meridian, gathered together in just one room was magical."
Tonight's ceremony welcomed the 18 inductees you voted into the MAEEX's Hall of Fame. Some of those Mississippi celebrities even made the trip to Meridian, like John Grisham and Meridian's own Sela Ward.
"I marvel at the state of Mississippi because we have the most extraordinary artists and gifted writers and painters and actors and celebrities of all sorts that have influenced the world," Ward tells Newscenter 11.
Family members of some of those inductees traveled from far and wide to show their respects – like Richard Wright's grandson who made the trip from Portugal. Jim Henson's daughter flew in from New York to see her father's unique art form celebrated in this ceremony.
"Extraordinary musicians, opera singer, writers. I think having a puppeteer included among the art forms is really great for puppetry," Cheryl Henson says.
All of them say it's incredible to see their family honored with such prestigious men and women.
"Unbelievable," Walter Anderson's son John Anderson says. "To hear my father grouped together with Elvis Presley and William Faulkner and Eudora Welty, it's a dream."
And seeing it happen right here in the state that gave them roots to grow, makes it all the more special.
"Teachers, ministers, the community, I can hear the words now: 'You can do that,'" Leontyne Price's brother George B. Price says. "Pick a field. You've got folks in every bit of the human experience that are successful from Mississippi."
Mississippians inducted into the Hall of Fame include:
James Earl Jones
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