LOS ANGELES – Kevin Smith woke up overwhelmed on Wednesday morning. The filmmaker was somewhat nervous about hosting the evening’s tribute to the late Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee.
“I’m honored to send the old man off in this way, and all I have to do is not cry as profusely as I know I’m going to,” he told The Times shortly before the ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.
“He was into the glitz and glamour, so he would’ve loved this,” continued Smith. “It wasn’t about fame for the guy, but mainstream acceptance for what he did, because for years, decades, he didn’t think what he was making was good enough. This is what he’s waited for his whole life, and mercifully, he got it.”
Smith did have to hold back his tears when he recalled how he first met Lee by pitching his idol a role in the 1995 film “Mallrats,” and how he still couldn’t believe that they became true friends for the 25 years to follow.
“There was never a moment when I was disappointed by the humanity of Stan Lee,” Smith told fans while standing near Lee’s signature in concrete at the Hollywood landmark. “By inventing Spider-Man, the Avengers, so on and so forth, he helped us all build our morality, he helped us tell right from wrong while entertaining us.”
Throughout the 3-hour tribute – which included reels of Lee’s crowd-pleasing cameos in each of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies – Clark Gregg, Felicia Day, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Davidson, RZA and more shared their favorite memories of Lee, complete with their best impressions of his distinct voice.