September 11th, 2012
04:10 PM ET

Hollywood celebrates life of Clarke Duncan

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."


Filed under: Celebrities

soundoff (24 Responses)
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    September 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Meh

    RIP bro

    September 14, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
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    September 13, 2012 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. peridot2

    Although I never met him, he seemed to be a wonderful person. On his television interview appearances he was sweet and kind and charming. The world has lost a good person. RIP, Michael Clark Duncan. You were a fine man and a great actor. We'll miss your sweet spirit and beautiful smile.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TERRY

    RIP JOHN COFFEY

    September 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Leonette

    great guy

    September 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Leon Peris

    He was a good actor.

    September 12, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. Leon Peris

    I will misss him!

    September 12, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. he was great

    never cheated either.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      You were a family member? You lived with him? Did you know him? Ever even meet him? How do you know anything about him except what you've read online and seen on TV?

      September 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. nice guy...

    -

    September 12, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  14. .•|•.

    "He had a heart attack in July that he never fully recovered from". So, for a couple months, his loved 1's had to watch him slowly fade away? How very sad. :(

    September 12, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. alejando

    He will be missed. amazing person!

    September 12, 2012 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  16. Barnyard0929

    Hope this man rests in peace

    September 12, 2012 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
  17. 123456

    God for me this is so much worse than Micheal Jackson whiteney Housten and Amy Whinehouse combined. Micheal Clarke Duncan was so pure and such a good man, you can see it when he acts.. hes so genuine. R.I.P Micheal.

    September 11, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  18. yenrab

    i think michael calmed his little down and they fell in love..its sad.

    September 11, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  19. the get together like a bunch of rats...

    this was a great man and i loved him as an actor

    September 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  20. ed and the pigetts

    a true man

    September 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Wilma

    loved by all. i am stil shocked he passed away

    September 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Donald in CA

    The good die young, RIP Michael.

    September 11, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Barney

    He is an American Icon. Great person. Funny as heck. Great actor. He will be missed.

    September 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |

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