Pop music icon Whitney Houston
was laid to rest yesterday in a private ceremony in Westfield, N.J., buried next to her father. Numerous family and friends attended a memorial on Saturday held at the New Hope Baptist Church, where Whitney first performed as a soloist in the choir during her teenage years. Among the hundreds there were many famous faces, including actor Kevin Costner
who co-starred with the pop singer in their 1992 film The Bodyguard
, directed by Mick Jackson. He made a moving speech about the iconic performer, painting a picture of an uncertain, but hopeful, adolescent and a talented actress.
Costner emphasized the duo's mutual connection to their family churches, stating the importance of their religious communities in their lives. He called Houston one of the great singers of this century and shared several personal stories — particularly one about their time together on the big screen. The star revealed that the studio was nervous about casting Houston for the part of a music superstar being stalked who falls in love with her bodyguard. Apparently Houston's ethnicity and lack of acting experience made them nervous, but Costner shares that while he knew casting the songstress would be somewhat risky, he felt strongly that she was perfect regardless. He also shares a few lighthearted moments that elicited chuckles from the audience and tells everyone why Whitney's famous "I Will Always Love You" almost didn't make the cut in the movie.
It's a moving speech that clearly shows the two stars bonded during filming and had many intimate discussions about their lives and passions. Roger Ebert positively described their performances in his review
of the film: "This is Houston's screen debut, and she is at home in the role; she photographs wonderfully, and has a warm smile, and yet is able to suggest selfish and egotistical dimensions in the character. Costner hugs her with his eyes open, scanning the room for surprise attacks."
Watch the 20-minute clip below, along with a trailer for The Bodyguard.