Written by Michelle Kretzer
The world is remembering Michael Clarke Duncan as "the most gracious of a man," "one of the finest people I've
ever had the privilege to work with or know," "the most gentle giant,"
and a "treasure."
The Oscar-nominated actor had a history
of serious heart trouble, more complicated than diet alone could cure, which
finally claimed his life on Labor Day. But he had a "heart" like no other—"Big Mike"
cared about even the smallest of animals. We’re sure it was a sight to see him
cuddling his beloved
chinchilla, Chucky. When Chucky passed away, PETA sent Michael a condolence card, and he later told
us that he kept that card in memory of his friend and out of love for the
In the video he shot for PETA, he
explained why he went vegetarian, and he described all his animal companions with his trademark warm smile:
Remembering the day she spent with
Michael at the video shoot, PETA's Michelle Cho said, "He was one of the
happiest and most genuine and heartwarming people I've ever had the pleasure of
working with. I'm so grateful that he used his deep, soulful voice and that
contagious smile to encourage people to care about animals."
Perhaps Frank Darabont, Michael's director in The Green Mile, summed up everyone's
sentiments best: "Michael was the gentlest of souls—an exemplar of
decency, integrity, and kindness. The sadness I feel is inexpressible."
Rest in peace, friend.
Michael Clarke Duncan truly was as great of a person in the real world as he was seen to be whenever on TV or the big screen. I had the pleasure of meeting him on many occasions and each time we got in touch, he was always a blast to talk to. Such a fun, easy going person, with a big laugh, and a great sense of warmth around him. It's ironic and highly comforting, knowing that for a man as physically big as he was and for being equally as big of a star in Hollywood, he was never in a rush or felt too big to speak with me.
I really appreciated his friendship and even for him being supportive of writing my children's book, "Lisek's Great Adventure", which was about a little dog getting taken in by a young boy and showing the bond the two had together. My book just came out a month ago and I wish Michael could have seen the final product, because of his support in my project, his interest in it, and how much of an animal lover he was.
It's why I'm donating a copy of my book to PETA, in honor of Mr. Duncan, because he cared about his pets so much. Cats, dogs, fish, and at one time his precious chinchilla...he loved them all.
It's so nice to see so many people write positive words about Michael and acknowledge how kind of a man he was. It's hard to offer consolation to his family and loved ones, but I sincerely hope that by them reading so many nice opinions about him, that it eases their sorrow to an extent.
My condolences to those close to him, including Omarosa, who truly loved him up until the very end. Thank you, Michael, for being a friend of mine and for always showing me that you made time for others. Here's to you, big guy. Rest in piece.
Such a fun picture we took back in 2009
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.