Posted: 3:47 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, 2013
On Friday afternoon, an emotional Angie Harmon paid tribute to her Rizzoli & Isles co-star, Lee Thompson Young, who took his own life five days ago, RumorFix is reporting exclusively.
Harmon, dressed in black, was one of the 150 or so people who celebrated Lee’s 29 years of life on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood.
An eyewitness tells us, the actress was visibly distraught when she took to the podium alongside fellow Rizzoli & Isles cast mate Jordan Bridges who she let do most of the talking because she said she was still having a hard time putting together words.
But through her tears, our eyewitness says, “Angie spoke from the heart and thanked his mother, Velma, over and over for all of the wonderful qualities Lee possessed.” She then said she just remembered how they were all at work Monday when they got the shocking word of Lee’s tragic suicide and a make-up artist had a spiritual card with a comforting message on it, as if it was a sign from Lee.
The service began with spiritual celebrations, scriptures and chants from Ifa, a West-African based religion that Young began practicing more than one year ago. And, many members of his church were in attendance wearing white instead of the traditional black.
Lee’s longtime manager, Jonathan Baruch, told the story of how as a 13-year-old from South Carolina, Lee convinced his mother to move to New York with him so he could pursue an acting career. A year later he landed the title lead role in Disney’s The Famous Jett Jackson. He said that Lee was the embodiment of achieving any goals he set.
Jett Jackson director Shawn Levy recalled how after seeing hundreds of young hopefuls, he knew Young had the part the minute he walked in to the audition. He said there was a light behind his eyes that shown so brightly, and that the character of Jett Jackson was one of a 13-year-old on his way to becoming famous, and that was exactly who he saw in Lee.
After three successful years on the Disney show, Lee followed his desire to further his education and went to the University of Southern California film school, graduating with honors (and got into the school with a very impressive 1350 on his S.A.T. his manager proudly noted). His college friends — many of them in attendance — told stories about Lee was and how he was the most humble and generous friend.
Our eyewitness says, Rizzoli & Isles show runner Janet Tamaro brought her original casting notes and said that after Lee’s audition she wrote down “STW” which in production terms means “send to wardrobe”… in other words, he landed the part. She also wrote down on Lee’s casting notes “bright, gentle light.”
One common thread among the speakers was how highly everyone around him thought of Lee. They described a very intelligent, friendly, caring, professional, loving gentle man. And all of them still seemed in shock that the person they knew would choose to take his own life.