Michael Clarke Duncan was a big man, (6’ 5”, 315 pounds) and may have normally been found on the football field. But the Chicago native was forbidden from playing by his mother, so he moved to the stage. After graduating from community college Duncan found himself digging ditches for the local gas company, it was then that he decided to move to Hollywood.
Duncan’s imposing physique and talent earned him a role in the blockbuster asteroid film, Armageddon (1998). The following year, his co-start, Bruce Willis, called Frank Darabont who was directing the film version of Stephen King’s novel, The Green Mile. Willis recommended Duncan for the role of John Coffey the gentle giant who brought magic to Tom Hanks’ death row. For his performance, Duncan was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
Duncan would be featured in various films and TV series (including Sin City, Talladega Nights, Family Guy, and Chuck). His final two films, In the Hive and The Challenger are not yet released.
In July 2012, Duncan suffered a heart attack. He was unable to recover and died on September 3, 2012. He was only 54.
Sources: Chicago Tribune and IMDB.com
(Image is copyright of PETA and courtesy of ecorazzi.com)
He deserved all the praise he got for “The Green Mile.” It’s sad he died so young.