CBS, which is to air the prize presentation Dec. 29, announced the honorees Wednesday.
"In a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, the 2009 honorees will be saluted by great performers from Hollywood and the arts capitals of the world," the network said in a news release. "Seated with President and Mrs. Obama, the honorees will accept the thanks of their peers and fans through performances and heartfelt tributes."
"This year, the Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals whose unique and abundant artistry has contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world," added Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman. "With his hilarious movies and musicals, Mel Brooks has created comedic gems that will keep us laughing for years to come. Dave Brubeck's genius has dazzled us for six decades and has helped to define an American art form. Grace Bumbry helped to break the color barrier on her way to one of the most illustrious operatic careers in the 20th century. One of America's greatest cinematic actors, Robert De Niro has demonstrated a legendary commitment to his characters and has co-founded one of the world's major film festivals. With his gritty and honest songs that speak to the everyman, Bruce Springsteen has always had his finger on the pulse of America."