They were among 17 who will be presented with the medal Nov. 24 by President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, DC. The award is the USA’s highest civilian honor, presented to people "who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
Obama released a statement saying, "I look forward to presenting these 17 distinguished Americans with our nation’s highest civilian honor. From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans."
The other winners were a mix of entertainers in other media, athletes and public servants: Yogi Berra, Bonnie Carroll, Shirley Chisholm, Emilio Estefan, Billy Frank, Jr., Lee Hamilton, Katherine G. Johnson, Willy Mays, Barbara Mikulski, Itzhak Perlman, William Ruckelshaus, Steven Spielberg, James Taylor and Minoru Yasui.