Remembering an icon. Kevin Costner paid tribute to late The Bodyguard costar Whitney Houston while honoring Clive Davis ahead of the 2023 Grammy Awards.
The Yellowstone actor, 68, gave a heartfelt toast to the music exec, 90, during Davis’ annual Pre-Grammy Gala at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 4. At the end of his speech, Costner thanked Davis for being an influence in Houston’s life. (The six-time Grammy winner died at age 48 on February 11, 2012.)
“I want to say something that I’ve never said to you before,” the Dances With Wolves actor said, per Variety. “Maybe this isn’t the room for it but I don’t want to miss the moment. And this is from the heart. Neither one of us in the end could protect your beloved Whitney, but your fingerprints on her life are clean, my friend.”
Costner continued: “You were a miracle in her life. Thank you for being her bodyguard, Clive. And for every person in this room you have stood behind and stood for. Everyone in this business has a mom, but not everyone gets a Clive. You need to come out here. This is your stage.”
The California native also praised Davis for being the one who “single-handedly drove the song that helped turn” the 1992 film into a hit.
“‘I Will Always Love You’ was number one in the world before the movie even came out. And thanks to the musical guidance of David Foster and the voice that came out of that little body that night in the studio, we have a performance of a lifetime,” Costner told the attendees. “We’re all chasing dreams here, rarely crossing paths. But sometimes we do, through fate or destiny. When we met Clive, it altered our lives for the better and, in some cases, forever. … The only thing better than being one of [Clive’s] artists is maybe being his friend.”
In the romantic drama, Costner starred as Frank Farmer, a former United States Secret Service agent turned bodyguard. He’s hired to protect famous singer and actress Rachel Marron (Houston) from an unknown stalker. Toward the end of the movie — after the pair have bid their final farewells to one another — Houston’s character performs her classic hit “I Will Always Love You.”
Since Houston’s death, her former costar has been candid about the legacy she left behind. The Hidden Figures actor was among many of Houston’s friends and loved ones who spoke in her honor at her 2012 funeral service in New Jersey.
“Whitney returns home today to the place where it all began, and I urge us all, inside and outside, across the nation and around the world to dry our tears, suspend our sorrow — and perhaps our anger — just long enough, just long enough to remember the sweet miracle of Whitney,” he told mourners at the time, adding that the “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” artist “set the bar so high” for her contemporaries. “Off you go, Whitney, off you go. Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father, and when you sing before him, don’t worry … you’ll be good enough.”
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