Skip to content
Charles' awards and achievements
May 1996: Honorary doctorate degree in performing arts from Occidental College.
October 1995: Governor's Performing Arts Award.
June 1995: Horatio Alger Award.
1994: 12th Grammy Award, in the "best R&B vocal by a male performer" category, for "A Song For You."
May 12, 1994: Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind.
March 1994: Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Black Achievement Awards television show.
October 1993: National Medal of Arts.
January 1993: Invited to perform in the preinaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial honoring President Clinton. Produced by Quincy Jones, the concert aired as a special on HBO.
February 1992: Honored by the County Board of Supervisors as the 1992 Black History Month honoree.
February 1992: Inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame (joining Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and John D. MacDonald, among others). Ray Charles, born in Georgia, was raised in Florida, where he attended the St. Augustine's School for the Deaf and Blind and began his career as a professional musician.
1991: Fox Television Network airs "50 Years of Music Making: A Tribute to Ray Charles," featuring Michael Bolton, Willie Nelson and Stevie Wonder, among others, and hosted by Hammer. The special was taped by Willenborg Productions and co-executive produced by Gregory Willenborg and Ray Charles, Jr.
1991: Documentary, "Ray Charles: The Genius of Soul," was produced for the American Masters series on public television.
April 1990: Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of South Florida in Tampa.
1989: Charles "Ellie My Love is the No. 1 single in Japan, recorded for exclusive release there. He received the Japanese equivalent of a Gold Record.
I1988 : Nominated for an Emmy by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his performance on the TV special honoring Irving Berlin's 100th birthday.
April 1987: Forms the (Ray Charles) Robinson Foundation for Hearing Disorders, with a personal endowment of $1 million.
December 1986: Received the Kennedy Center Honors, celebrated with a televised gala at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The Honors are presented annually to individuals who through a lifetime of accomplishment, have enriched American life by their achievement in the performing arts.
1988: Appeared for the first time with the New York City Ballet, which choreographed dances to some of his classics. Joining Charles in playing for the engagement were members of his original band, Hank Crawford, Leroy Cooper and David "Fat Head" Newman.
November 1986: Honored by the French government when he was made a Commander of Fine Arts and Letters, the second time Charles has been selected for a distinguished honor by the Republic of France.
January 1986: Made one of the original inductees into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1986: Participated in the historic "We Are the World" recording to benefit USA for Africa.
1984: Hired by the Committee to Re-Elect the President to perform at the Republican National Convention.
1983: Honored by the NAACP's Image Awards as a recipient of its Hall of Fame Award. He also received an award that year at the NAACP's televised ceremonies for Best R&B Male Vocalist.
Dec. 16, 1981: Received a star on Hollywood Boulevard's "Walk of Fame."
1963: Starred in his first feature film "Ballad in Blue." In 1980 he was a featured star of the film "The Blues Brothers". In 1988 he appeared in the feature "Limit Up" where he played the part of God.
1979: Ray Charles was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the first performer to be so honored.
1979: His rendition of "Georgia on My Mind" was approved as the official Song of the State of Georgia.
1978: Autobiography, "Brother Ray," written with David Ritz, was published by Dial Press. It was a national best-seller as well as a book club selection.
1976: Named "Man of the Year" by the Beverly Hills Lodge of the B'nai B'rith. He was inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame and his "I Got a Woman" was nominated for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.
1975: The National Association for Sickle Cell Disease's first "Man of Distinction" Award .
In the 1970s, Ray Charles received many major awards, among them: The Golden Plate Award was presented to him in 1975 by the American Academy of Achievement for his outstanding contributions. He was subsequently named to the Academy's board of directors.
1968: Inducted into the Playboy Magazine Hall of Fame.
Source: Ray Charles Online Web site