The 32nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors was broadcast on CBS on December 29, 2009, recognizing five recipients for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the arts. Caroline Kennedy hosted the ceremony, which was attended by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. The honorees included funnyman and producer Mel Brooks, jazz musician Dave Brubeck, opera singer Grace Bumbry, actor Robert DeNiro and rock musician Bruce Springsteen. The two hour awards ceremony paid tribute to each recipient individually, with performers that they had worked with paying tribute and performing their material.
Mel Brooks is a writer, director, composer, actor and producer who was born in 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. Brooks is known for his madcap humor. Mel Brooks is known for his irreveraent sense of humor that hold nothing sacred. Brooks produced motion pictures include The Producers, Young Frankenstein, History of the World, Blazing Saddles, Springtime for Hitler, High Anxiety and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Brooks has also produced more serious films under the name Brooksfilms, including The Elephant Man, 84 Charing Cross Road, Frances, The Fly and My Favorite Year.
Dave Brubeck is a pianist and composer born in 1920 in Concord, California. Brubeck helped to ease jazz music into America’s mainstream. The innovated musician has swung from the successful Dave Brubek Quartet worldwide success of the 1950s and 1960s through the jazz opera Cannery Row Suite which he created with his wife Iola Brubeck, and the 2006 Monterrey Jazz Festival.
Grace Bumbry is a singer born in 1937 in St. Louis, Missouri. From humble roots, Bumbry rose to a major opera singer who debuted a the major Opera Houses in Europe. Bumbry is now a teacher and has formed the Grace Bumbry Black Musical Heritage Ensemble, a choir devoted to preserving and performing traditional Negro spirituals and gospel.
Robert De Niro is an actor, director and producer born in 1943 in New York. De Niro is best known for tough guy roles including mobsters, loners, losers and psychopaths. DeNiro has starred in movies including The Godfather, Part II, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear and Casino. DeNiro took a comedic turn in the movies Analyze This, Analyze That, Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers.
Bruce Springsteen is a singer, composer and rock icon born in 1949 in Long Branch, New Jersey. ‘The Boss’ is a legendary rock and roll musician with soulÂ who still sells out concerts as a rocker who relates to the working man. Springsteen’sÂ long list of hits includes Born in the USA, Streets of Philadelphia and Born to Run.