Obama honours Springsteen and Deniro

Five performing artists including the singer known as 'The Boss' and the Academy-winning actor received lifetime achievement awards in a glittery black tie event held at the Kennedy Centre in Washington on Sunday. This year's recipients of the Kennedy Centre Honours, were Bruce Springsteen, Robert De Niro, comedian Mel Brooks, opera singer Grace Bumbry and jazz legend Dave Brubeck, reported Los Angeles Times online.

Sunday's elaborately staged show traditionally attended by the President and first lady, was the 32nd of its kind and the first for Barack Obama.

"On a day like this remember, I'm the president, but he's the Boss," Obama said in a reception before the show where he and his wife, Michelle, in a purple strapless gown, watched the winners from a balcony bedecked with the presidential seal. "Bob has earned the respect he enjoys around the world in the thousands of little bitty details," Meryl Streep said in one of several gushing tributes to the 'Raging Bull' actor.

Obama also recalled in the East Room reception that one of the few times he spent with the father who abandoned him growing up included a Brubeck jazz concert in Hawaii in 1971. "The world he opened up to a 10-year-old boy was spectacular," Obama said.

Bumbry, not unlike the president in attendance in her honour, was recognized for smashing racial barriers, in her case, as an African American soprano and mezzo-soprano with astonishing range. She debuted at the Paris Opera House and performed at the White House at Jacqueline Kennedy's request before she was 25.

The winners are selected by the centre's trustees and by past honorees for their contribution to American culture in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television.

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