UPDATE: Inside Prince's Private, Star-Studded Memorial -- Exclusive Pics
By Zach Seemayer
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EXCLUSIVE: Inside Prince's Private, Star-Studded Memorial Service
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A private memorial service was held for Prince on Wednesday and some of those closest to the late music icon turned out to pay their respects and honor the singer's memory.
The solemn event was organized by Prince's ex-wives, Manuela Testolini and Mayte Garcia, and held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles. The location of the memorial was a closely-guarded secret in the days leading up to the event.
A number of celebrities attended Wednesday's emotional gathering, including musician Nile Rodgers, model Dita Von Teese, and Prince's ex, English singer Anna Fantastic, who were spotted by photographers as they arrived at the event.
Filmmaker Spike Lee also came out to celebrate Prince's life and legacy.
The Oscar-nominated director took to Instagram before the event to share a look at the purple ensemble he'd be wearing to the memorial in Prince's honor. "Purple Beret And Purple Kobe's For Prince Memorial Tonight In El LAY," Lee wrote in the caption.
According to the program from the two-and-a-half hour event, obtained by ET, the service began with a rendition of Prince's single "Sometimes it Snows in April," performed by musician Greg Phillinganes. Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science President Cheryl Boone Isaacs then make the opening remarks.
Additional "reflections" and tributes were made by Rodgers and Lee, as well as talk show host Tavis Smiley and the President of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Neil Portnow. They were "very nice," an eyewitness told ET of the speeches, adding that Issacs said she "hated to gather for this, but glad" to see so many people there.
Additional big-name guests included Gwen Stefani, Larry King, jazz musician Esperanza Spalding, record producer Bobby Z, Rev. Michael Beckwith, singer Jill Jones along with R&B singer Mavis Staples, who "gave the most moving tribute of the night," the eyewitness adds. She sweetly told the group he "made her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world."
Two separate invite lists were written, one created by Testolini and the other by Prince's former manager Kiran Sharma. The closest family member to attend the event was the singer's step-brother, Omarr Baker. Prince's childhood friend and early bandmate Andre Cymone also appeared at the service.
The special evening was closed out with several clips of Prince's performances as well as his Oscar acceptance speech, ET learned. Also shown as the memorial concluded were the "Purple Rain" tributes performed around the world following his passing, from stars like Bruce Springsteen and Jennifer Hudson.
Last Friday, Prince's family released a statement addressing speculation regarding Wednesday's ceremony and future memorial plans:
"Contrary to previous and current reports, there has been no memorial, funeral or tribute service for Prince that was organized or authorized by the family or Paisley Park representatives. Together, the family is planning an official memorial service and public event to take place in the near future. Prince and his music influenced so many people that we feel inspired to celebrate his life and legacy in just the right way. We appreciate the public’s patience and have been comforted by your outpouring of love, support and condolences. We look forward to sharing with the world this celebration of, and farewell to, our Prince. Details will be coming soon."
Prince died on April 21 at the age of 57. The legendary musician was found unresponsive in an elevator when officials responded to a emergency call at his Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen, Minnesota.