Pictures: Tom Hanks and More Pay Final Respect to Michael Clarke Duncan
One day after a public memorial was held at the Hall of Liberty of Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks and Mortuaries in Hollywood Hills, a private event to remember Michael Clarke Duncan was conducted at the same place. Tom Hanks, along with Jay Leno, was among the speakers celebrating the life and legacy of the Gentle Giant.
The actor, who shared screen with Duncan in "The Green Mile", told the story of a young Duncan when he decided to join a gang but immediately backed out after being whacked with a frying pan by his mother. "If it wasn't for that mama and the frying pan with a pork chop, we would not be here today celebrating the life of Michael Clarke Duncan," he said.
Leno remembered Duncan as someone with "such a pure heart and pure kindness." "And to see it taken so early, there are no sadder words than what might have been," the TV host added. Other mourners included Vivica A. Fox, Holly Robinson Peete, Loretta Devine, David Boreanaz, Geoff Stults and "Bones" creator Hart Hanson.
Frank Darabont, the director of "The Green Mile", paid his final respect to Duncan as well. Calling the late actor "a fierce warrior" and "the gentlest of souls," the helmer gushed, "No one had a more positive spirit than Michael Clarke Duncan." He also read a letter from Stephen King, the author of "The Green Mile". "No one has ever done a character I wrote more justice," the writer wrote.
Stevie Wonder appeared via a video playing a solemn tune on a piano and crooning the opening verses of his 1977 song "As". Angie Stone, Kelly Price, Kenny Lattimore and Abraham McDonald bid goodbye by singing with a gospel choir. Rev. Dr. H. Beecher Hicks delivered the eulogy. "Don't fret, he's in heaven," he told Duncan's fiancee, Rev. Omarosa O. Manigault.
Duncan passed away at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Monday, September 3. He "never fully recovered" from the heart attack he suffered on July 13. The Coroner Office confirmed he died of natural causes. His death certificate mentioned that he died from respiratory failure. He was 54.
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