September 11th, 2012
04:10 PM ET
Michael Clarke Duncan's jovial spirit and huge smile spread far and wide throughout Hollywood, and that was evidenced at his memorial service on Monday.
Jay Leno, Tom Hanks, Holly Robinson Peete and director Frank Darabont were among those who gathered to honor Clarke Duncan's memory.
"We did plan a celebration, so it's not supposed to be a sad occasion," the late actor's fiancee, Omarosa Manigault, told HLN's Nischelle Turner as she held back tears. "We have people singing, and he would've wanted to have lots of music, and it's going to be a good time, it's not going to be a sad time."
The speakers, from Leno to Hanks to "Bones" and "The Finder" creator Hart Hanson, tried to remember that in their reflections on Clarke Duncan's life.
The actor, known for roles in movies - "Armageddon"; "The Green Mile" - as well as TV, including Hanson's "The Finder," died at 54 on September 3. He'd had a heart attack on July 13 and never fully recovered, a family spokesperson told CNN.
According to People magazine, Hanson recalled Clarke Duncan's fans angling for hugs instead of autographs, while Darabont spoke of the late actor's "positive spirit" and read a letter from Stephen King, according to E!.
A heartbroken Omarosa, who planned to marry Clarke Duncan next year and one day start a family, shared the way Clarke Duncan swept her off her feet.
He ran a pick-up line past her at the grocery store, inquiring, "'Aren't you that mean girl from The Apprentice?'" she recalled. "And then he worked every single day of our relationship to change that perception of me. The man you knew as an actor was my best friend."
To watch "such a pure heart and pure kindness [be] taken so early," Leno said, "there are no sadder words than 'what might have been.'"
Speaking with HLN, Omarosa thanked everyone "for the outpouring of love and support, and how everyone's come out to show how much they appreciated him."
The reality star added that what sticks out in her memory won't be "Michael the actor or entertainer. He was the love of my life. He is the love of my life. And I'm going to miss him so much."
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