(Washington, DC) -- President Obama honored more than 20 Americans with Medals of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award.
In a White House ceremony, Obama called the recipients extraordinary people who have inspired and strengthened the U.S. He noted that actor Robert DeNiro has brought to life some of the most memorable roles in movie history.
Obama said rocker Bruce Springsteen has spent a career singing about the "simple glories and scattered heartbreak of everyday life in America."
The President joked that actor Tom Hanks is an "everyman" who got to fall in love with Meg Ryan three times.
He said the voice of play-by-play announcer Vin Scully is forever linked with the game of baseball.
Obama also honored basketball legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan.
Meantime, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda received medals for their extensive charitable work. Other recipients included entertainer Ellen DeGeneres and singer Diana Ross.