WASHINGTON — Political and entertainment luminaries gathered here over the weekend for the 32nd annual Kennedy Center Honors, a two-day celebration that brings together some of the most influential figures in Washington and Hollywood.
The recipients of the award this year were Robert De Niro, Mel Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, the mezzo-soprano and soprano Grace Bumbry and the jazz musician Dave Brubeck.
The performance will be broadcast on CBS on Dec. 29.
In previously taped remarks broadcast at the performance, President Barack Obama thanked the honorees for "the joy and the beauty" they brought to people's lives.
"In times of war and sacrifice, the arts — and these artists — remind us to sing and to laugh and to live."
A 19-time Grammy winner firmly rooted in the Jersey Shore, Springsteen has made top-selling albums including 1975's "Born to Run" — which, in addition to the title track, also included "Thunder Road" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" — and 1984's "Born in the U.S.A."
De Niro, 66, who was born in New York, won Oscars for his portrayal of Vito Corleone in the 1974 film "The Godfather: Part II" and 1980's "Raging Bull," in which he played the boxer Jake LaMotta under the direction of his longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese, a 2007 Kennedy Center Honor recipient. The two also worked together on, among other movies, "Goodfellas," "Mean Streets" and "Taxi Driver."
Brooks, who was born in Brooklyn, is among an elite group of performers who have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards. "The Producers," a 1968 film that was retooled as a musical and brought to Broadway more than three decades later, captured 12 Tony Awards and won Brooks an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. At the State Department dinner, Brooks said becoming an honoree at age 83 was "better late than never."
Brubeck is perhaps best known for the "Time Out," the 1959 album he made with the Dave Brubeck Quartet that included the single "Take Five." According to event organizers, Brubeck, who turned 89 on Sunday, is believed to be the first honoree to celebrate a birthday on the day of the gala performance.
Bumbry, 72, made her debut at the Paris Opera in 1960, playing Amneris in "Aida." She performed in honor of Marian Anderson at the first Kennedy Center Honors in 1978.