On Monday evening in what would have been pre-theater rush on any other day, I made my way through 42nd Street traffic to the American Airlines Theatre. Melinda and I had 6 o’clock tickets to celebrate Lynn Redgrave’s life.

I met Lynn and her daughter Annabel in 2004 when I was the marketing department of one at the art book publisher for their Journal: A Mother and Daughter’s Recovery From Breast Cancer. I was new to New York and barely 25. I’d only met a few famous people in passing and certainly had never handled one—let alone a Golden Globe winner and Broadway star.

Despite my inexperience Journal was bound to be a success. Lynn was a pro and Annabel alarmingly talented. What was unexpected was how much Lynn would inspire me to become the woman and artist I wanted to be.

“Amy,” Lynn said one evening after the book signing I learned that a greenroom wasn’t actually green. “Very few people will really want to do what you do. Figure out what you want, truly deeply want, and pursue it flat out. You’ll notice that most won’t work as hard as you will, so there won’t be so much competition after all.”

Lynn spoke from her acting perspective. Many may have believed they wanted to be a star but few (even if they possessed the talent) actually endured the constant workweeks, live humiliations, and public invasions of privacy that the profession required. She worked through cancer treatments—always adamant that she wasn’t too sick to work—she worked so she didn’t feel sick thanks to “Doctor Theatre.” She never missed a performance.

Maybe it was her voice training or her English accent but her advice punctured through my self-doubt and New York naivety, and I believed her. Lynn always did have a way of making an audience feel as if she were talking directly and solely to them, alone. I continued to hear her words long after I left the publisher and started to write…revise…write…submit…revise…and eventually publish.

Last May I learned from a Yahoo! headline that Lynn had passed away from cancer: “Actress, Lynn Redgrave, Dead at 67.” I cried at my desk. I remembered typing out the subtitle of their book “A Mother and Daughter’s Recovery from Breast Cancer” at least a zillion times, all the while convinced that she had recovered once and for all. I donated to her memory at The Actor’s Fund. I went to see plays on Broadway—especially the funny ones—in remembrance of her.

Assembling at the American Airlines Theatre for a memorial celebration a year later was fitting. Behind the speaking podiums and larger than life screen rotating photographs of the many Lynns people knew and loved, the stage was set for the current production of The Importance of Being Earnest. I saw Lynn in Earnest at BAM and then here in The Constant Wife. She had invited me for a drink afterwards, making me feel like the most important person in attendance.

Brian Stokes Mitchell opened the evening. Lynn’s sister, Vanessa, spoke. Jim Dale the Georgy Girl songwriter crooned the tune to her memory. Related actors read scenes from Lynn’s own plays Shakespeare for My Father, Nightingale, Rachel and Juliet, and The Mandrake Root. We saw a film montage accompanied by her real-life colleagues Liam Neeson, James Earl Jones, and Robert Osborne. Favorite songs were sung, including Maude Maggart’s “I’ll See Your Again.” Her children spoke. A recording of Lynn accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Image Network closed the evening.

The tribute that touched me the most was from her Dr. Clifford Hudis from Sloan Kettering. He encouraged us not to see a lost battle but instead all the victories of characters performed, art created, and family moments shared since her diagnosis. He concluded by succinctly summing up how I feel saying something to the effect of how humbled, thrilled, and honored he was to play a small role in such a big life.

In the end, there was a standing ovation. Melinda and I clapped in celebration of Lynn and her life, her achievement, her light that had touched all of us and continued to even now on Monday, when Broadway was dark and their stars were supposed to be enjoying their one day off.