Duncan was 54 when he died September 3, having never fully recovered from a heart attack suffered in July.
According to People Magazine, fellow actors and Hollywood stars such as Ving Rhames, Vivica Fox, Jay Leno and Tom Hanks attended the funeral to pay tribute to Duncan, who was described by many as a “gentle giant.”
“Just to see such a pure heart and pure kindness, and to see it taken so early,” Leno said, his voice cracking. “There are no sadder words than what might have been.”
Hanks, who co-starred with Michael in The Green Mile, lightened the mood during the occasion by sharing a story Duncan told him about his attempts to join as a gang as a youth.
Assuming the deep, distinctive voice of the 6-foot-5-inch, 300-pound Duncan, Hanks acted as if he were explaining to his fellow gang members that his mom wouldn’t let him be in a gang.
Apparently, Duncan’s mother wasn’t thrilled about the idea at the time, as she let her son know by whacking him in the head with a frying pan she was using to cook pork chops.
“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,” Hanks said.
Former reality TV star Omarosa Manigault, who was Duncan’s fiancee, also attended the funeral and shared a light-hearted story of the pick-up line Duncan used when meeting her at a grocery store.
” ‘Aren’t you that mean girl from The Apprentice?’ ” she said. “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.”
According to HuffPo, Rev. Dr. H. Beecher Hicks delivered the eulogy at the funeral, closing by saying to Manigault: “Don’t fret, he’s in heaven.”
You can watch Tom Hanks’ touching tribute to his friend and co-star Michael Clarke Duncan in the video below: