Celine Dion says Angelil protected her, pushed her to do 'Titanic' hit

LAS VEGAS -- Celine Dion's husband protected her from the gritty business details of her career as he struck the deals that defined her superstar status, including saying yes to her mega hit from "Titanic" when she wanted to say no.

See Full Article

The singer spoke publicly Wednesday night for the first time since Rene Angelil died, paying tribute at a memorial at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. She said her late husband and manager kept her grounded and always looked out for her.

"I was never part of any of the meetings that he had where he had to say yes or no. He protected me from Day 1," Dion said in a nearly 20-minute speech.

Angelil was credited with the business decisions that made Dion one of the world's most popular voices, from agreeing to do the "Titanic" song "My Heart Will Go On" when critics doubted the movie, to the singer's glitzy Las Vegas Strip residency.

He died Jan. 14 after a long battle with throat cancer in the suburban Las Vegas home he shared with Dion and their three children. He was 73.

At his Jan. 22 funeral at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, their son, Rene-Charles, gave the eulogy to a crowd of nearly 700 people before Angelil was buried at the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery in a private graveside ceremony. The family on the previous day spent nearly seven hours greeting fans and mourners at a public visitation at the same Canadian church.

Dion, wearing a shoulder-baring black dress and her hair in a soft bun, didn't sing during the Las Vegas memorial, but her famous discography was on display throughout the night. An instrumental version of her 1990s hit "Because You Loved Me" played as one of the interludes between speeches at the event that ran for more than two hours. Longtime friend and collaborator David Foster sang "The Color of My Love," a nod to the couple's song at their wedding 21 years ago, which left Dion in tears.

Mother and son sat on stage along with Angelil's other children from previous marriages and his brother, as memories were shared from guests ranging from Dion's longtime agent and friends in the music business to Caesars executives and a Las Vegas charity for people with disabilities.

They all described a man who was kind, generous and completely devoted to his wife and her talent. Angelil loved his family, gambling and dining and entertaining.

Born in Montreal to a Canadian mother and Syrian father, Angelil was a former-singer-turned-manager who discovered a 12-year-old Dion and mortgaged his house to finance her first album.

He guided her career most of her life, most critically as she learned a new language to sing in English to become a widespread international success. By the late 1990s and 2000s, her soaring voice had become dominant on the radio.

And to underscore his influence, longtime associate and friend Paul Farberman said at the memorial that the "Titanic" deal was far from certain when Dion was first approached to sing the theme song. She rolled her eyes when she first heard it played on the piano, and there were questions about the negative press the movie had gotten on reports that it was over-budget and had on-set fighting.

"It didn't look like this was going to be a big success story," Farberman said of the movie. "And I'll never forget how Rene literally stood up from the table and he said, 'I'm a gambler, and I'm going to bet on this one.' And of course, the rest is history."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Jessica Chastain and Miss Sloane director John Madden lobby for the anti-hero

    Entertainment CBC News
    Miss Sloane isn't just taking on Washington politics — she's taking on gender politics too. The political thriller stars Jessica Chastain as Elizabeth Sloane, a ruthless and sought-after lobbyist who will do whatever it takes to win. Source
  • 'Deadpool' tops 2016 movie mistakes list

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Ryan Reynolds’ comic book action film Deadpool has topped the list for the most movie mistakes of 2016. The box office blockbuster is littered with 23 continuity errors and oversights, 10 more than second-placed Captain America: Civil War, according to the end-of-year countdown on website moviemistakes.com. Source
  • Will Smith worried for kids after spotting lion in yard

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Will Smith is battling lion problems after spotting a big cat prowling around his yard. The movie star caught the creature on surveillance video and showed the footage during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday, telling the host, “You see one of those jokers in Kenya. Source
  • Garth Drabinsky back in town [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    He’s back. After 17 months in prison for fraud and forgery, beleaguered theatre impresario Garth Drabinsky is bouncing back with a bold new production likely headed for Broadway. At a press conference Thursday at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre, Drabinsky, 67, introduced his new musical, Sousatzka; it’s based on Bernice Rubens’ novel about a piano prodigy, his strong-willed mother and his eccentric teacher, Madame Sousatzka. Source
  • Trump a producer on 'New Celebrity Apprentice,' Schwarzenegger will host

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Donald Trump is gone from the boardroom of NBC's reboot of "Celebrity Apprentice" but he's kept a business connection to the reality show. President-elect Trump has an executive producer credit on "The New Celebrity Apprentice," said Clare Anne Darragh, a spokesman for "Apprentice" creator Mark Burnett. Source
  • Actor Judge Reinhold arrested at Dallas airport checkpoint

    Entertainment CTV News
    DALLAS -- Actor Judge Reinhold has been arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after a confrontation with security agents at Dallas Love Field. A Dallas Police Department statement says the 59-year-old actor was arrested Thursday afternoon after Transportation Security Administration employees reported that he refused to submit to a screening at a checkpoint. Source
  • A guide to Star Wars' future [Photos] [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    When Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened in 2015, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy helped kickstart a series of films that will run until 2019 and include Episode VIII and IX, as well as several standalone titles set inside the Star Wars universe. Source
  • Jenna Dewan Tatum: 'Channing Tatum and I have great sex'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Jenna Dewan Tatum fears she’ll never be able to replace husband Channing Tatum in the bedroom, because their chemistry as dancers make them perfect lovers. She first met the actor in 2005 on the set of their movie Step Up, but wasn’t interested in dating him at first because she felt he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship. Source
  • Martin Scorsese: 'I almost died from drug abuse 50 years ago'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Filmmaker Martin Scorsese has opened up about the near-death experience that drove him to become a success, revealing drug abuse and chronic asthma put him in hospital for 10 days 50 years ago. Now 74, the Oscar winner reveals he completely turned his life around after the 1978 health scare, following months of hard living. Source
  • Candace Cameron Bure exiting TV’s ’The View’

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — There’s another departure on television’s “The View,” with Candace Cameron Bure saying she can no longer handle the bicoastal life made necessary by her acting career. Bure stars in the “Fuller House” remake on Netflix and frequently appears in movies for the Hallmark Channel. Source