Farewell, Michael Clarke Duncan

Published 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 organization.

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.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind