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Michael Clarke Duncan: Tom Hanks' Moving Speech At "Big Mike's" Memorial Service

Tom Hanks' speech at Michael Clarke Duncan's memorial service in 2012.
December 11, 2019 - 13:27 / Clemens Fanger

When Michael Clarke Duncan passed away so suddenly in 2012 at the age of just 54, his fans as well as his colleagues were shocked. His memorial service in Burbank, California was attended by Tom Hanks, Jay Leno, Loretta Devine and so many more...

It was a mix between a sad affair and a celebration of an amazing artist's life when A-listers like Jay Leno, Frank Darabont, Tom Hanks and many more came together for the memorial service of the late actor Michael Clarke Duncan in September of 2012.

The actor passed away after he had suffered a heart attack in July 2012. Even though he received prompt medical treatment, the fifty-four-year-old never managed to fully recover. He died just two months later on September 3 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

Michael Clarke Duncan and his partner Omarosa Manigault at the 2011 premiere of The Green Hornet.

Michael Clarke Duncan: Praise from Stevie Wonder and Stephen King

The legendary Stevie Wonder was among those paying his respects to the late actor - he appeared with a video message and called Michael Clarke Duncan a "gentle giant".

Duncan's performance in The Green Mile alongside Tom Hanks in 1999 had made the actor truly famous. Frank Darabont, who directed the movie, read a letter from Stephen King who wrote the novel the movie is based on: "No one has ever done a character I wrote more justice," King wrote about Duncan.

Michael Clarke Duncan and Tom Hanks starred together in the 1999 movie The Green Mile.

Tom Hanks' great speech for "Big Mike"

Tom Hanks then gave an amazing speech about his late co-star, in which he recounted a story about how a young Duncan wanted to join a gang on the South Side of Chicago, but his mother wouldn't let him. A fact that the embarrassed "Big Mike" then had to explain to the members of the gang.

"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. But see for yourself below.

Duncan's talent and his presence on screen are still missed today. May he rest in peace!