June 15, 2001 11:23 AM

Whitney Houston presented her cousin, Dionne Warwick, with a special Hitmakers award Thursday night in Manhattan, at the Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony. “I am proud to be her fellow artist but even prouder to be her kin,” Houston, 37, said of Warwick, 60. “She is a songwriter’s dream.” Among the others who were inducted were singer-songwriters Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton as well as songwriters Diane Warren and Paul Williams. “It feels amazing for your peers to induct you, and vote you in,” said Warren, a Grammy winner and Oscar nominee who wrote Faith Hill’s latest hit, “There You’ll Be.” The Associated Press reports that Marc Anthony crooned Joel’s “An Innocent Man” before Joel accepted the Johnny Mercer Award, given to an inductee who has amassed a vast catalog of songs. Gloria Estefan and her producer-husband, Emilio Estefan, received the a lifetime achievement award. “As a songwriter, this award means a lot to me,” she said, “because a lot of people don’t even know we write the songs.”

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