Movie star Danny Glover turned funeral officiant on Saturday (18Jan14) as he led the tributes to late poet and playwright Amiri Baraka at a memorial service in New Jersey. The 79 year old passed away on 9 January (14), and friends, family and fans gathered at Newark Symphony Hall over the weekend to bid farewell to the writer, who served as New Jersey's Poet Laureate in 2002. Glover, who officiated the ceremony with producer/director Woodie King, Jr., recalled meeting Baraka for the first time in 1967 during a visit to San Francisco State University in California, where the Lethal Weapon star was a student. He credited the author with encouraging him to pursue his passion for acting, and said of Baraka's influence: "It formed the framework of how I've tried to approach the idea of my work as a citizen artist." Baraka, who was born Everett LeRoi Jones, was best known for his book Blues People: Negro Music in White America, which was published in 1963. He also wrote a number of notable plays, including The Black Mass and The Toilet and Dutchman, which won an Obie Award for Best American Play in 1964.