Photo Coverage: 2009 Kennedy Center Honors: The Men

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Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro and Bruce Springsteen were the honorees for this year's Kennedy Center Honors and eminent artist friends and peers of this year's five honorees converged in Washington, D.C. last night (Dec. 6) to present entertaining and heartfelt tributes at THE 32ND ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, an entertainment special to be broadcast Tuesday, Dec. 29 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, with Caroline Kennedy as host for the seventh consecutive year. This marks the 32nd anniversary of this acclaimed special, which has been broadcast on CBS each year since its debut in 1978. George Stevens, Jr. is head writer and producer for the 32nd consecutive year. Michael Stevens is co-producer and co-writer. Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro and Bruce Springsteen were all present at the black-tie gala held in their honor.

This annual event recognizes recipients for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures and television. Keeping with tradition, the roster of performers and presenters remains secret prior to the gala, and a short biographical film is featured during each honoree's tribute.

Performers and presenters included Roger Bart, Gary Beach, Jack Black, Matthew Broderick, Harry Connick, Jr., Cory English, Simon Estes, Melissa Etheridge, Aretha Franklin, Angela Gheorghiu, Herbie Hancock, Ben Harper, Shuler Hensley, Harvey Keitel, Ron Kovic, Jane Krakowski, Richard Kind, Frank Langella, John Mellencamp, Matthew Morrison, Jennifer Nettles, Edward Norton, Carl Reiner, Stephen A. Schwarzman, Martin Scorsese, Martin Short, Jon Stewart, Ben Stiller, Sting, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep and Eddie Vedder.

President and Mrs. Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were seated with the honorees in the Presidential Box of the Opera House at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, after having just attended the traditionAl White House reception for the honorees.

Photos by Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

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Walter McBride As a 14 year old youth, Walter was transfixed by his first Broadway Show, the original production of 'GREASE'. His Journey to celebrity photojournalism began that fateful night. Meeting, photographing and getting to know the cast inspired him to spend his professional life doing what he loved. Walter moved to Manhattan and for a leading role as a Photographer & Photo Researcher. Currently headlining in New Jersey with his partner Richard and family members Dali (Jack Russell) & Gala (Schnoodle). Recently he made his Broadway debut sharing the stage with Hugh Jackman in 'Hugh Jackman on Broadway' as well as receiving the Actors' Equity Association Gypsy Spirit Award. Walter McBride Photography is syndicated worldwide by Corbis/AP.