Today, family and friends gathered to say goodbye to Michael Clarke Duncan in Burbank, California at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
HLN TV caught up with Omarosa Manigault, Duncan’s fiancée, before the service began and she explained that today is a celebration of her partner’s life. “We have people singing. He would have wanted lots of music. It’s going to be a good time. Not a sad time,” she said tearfully. She went on to share her thoughts of Duncan, “Michael was an incredible human being… incredible spirit during this whole thing. I’m just so proud of him and how hard he fought until the end. Doctors told me he wouldn’t survive one or two days past the heart attack, but he lived for 53 days. I think that’s a testament to his spirit.” Before heading into the funeral, Manigault said she will remember Duncan not as an actor, but the man of her life, the love of her life. “I’m going to miss his voice, his laughter, his hugs and how much he cared about his family.”
The invite-only home going service welcomed many Hollywood faces including Jeff Johnson, who acted as a master of ceremonies. Robert Townsend and Loretta Devine, Duncan’s In the Hive director and co-star, also made a brief presentation. “He would do anything for a laugh or joke,” said Devine. She went on to share that Duncan poured his heart into his latest film before showing a clip to the crowd.
The Los Angeles City Council issued a proclamation during today’s service declaring September 10 Michael Clarke Duncan Day. The news came byway of an oversized certificate, a small nod to Duncan’s 6’5″ frame.
Musical selections came from Kenny Lattimore, who sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and Shanice who sang a snippet of “Smile” and “Don’t Cry for Me.” Legendary singer Stevie Wonder also performed a stripped down version of “I’ll Be Loving You Always” via satellite from his home.
Dr. H. Beecher Hicks delivered the eulogy.
The actor died last Monday after battling to recover from a heart attack he suffered in July. According to a coroner’s report released last week, Duncan died of natural causes. He was 54.