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Michael Clarke Duncan Has Died
Much-loved actor was 54

04 September 2012  |  Written by James White  

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Michael Clarke Duncan with Tom Hanks in The Green Mile

The world has a very big hole in it today, as actor Michael Clarke Duncan has died at the age of 54.

A man with towering stature, a bigger personality and charm to match, Clarke was beloved by his fans and collaborators alike. Though he always wanted to act, he put his ambitions on hold for years to care for his family. He took early work digging ditches and working as a bouncer before finally leaving for Los Angeles in his 20s to pursue his dream.

Once there, he looked for acting gigs in adverts and also worked as a bodyguard for the likes of Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and LL Cool J. But the death of rapper Notorious B.I.G. led him to quit the protection life and concentrate full time on his acting career.

He landed bit parts here and there before his big break in Michael Bay’s Armageddon in 1998. It was on the set of that film that he forged a close friendship with Bruce Willis, who recommended him for other movies and eventually he got a real chance to demonstrate what he could do in The Green Mile as John Coffey, a role that earned him an Oscar nomination and a reputation for someone who could deliver unexpected, soulful performances.


Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin in Daredevil

He’d go from there to the likes of Daredevil (where he proved to be a commanding, effective Kingpin), Sin City (as the tough Manute, who seemed likely to be returning for the sequel) and Talladega Nights, where he showed off his straight man comedy chops alongside Will Ferrell and John C Reilly.

Though he’d appeared in guest parts on TV shows in the past, he recently tried his hand at a series regular role in comedy drama The Finder.

Duncan was rushed to hospital in July after suffering a heart attack, and never recovered from the complications. “He was the only actor I ever knew that more often than not when fans came up to him, of any age or race or gender, they wouldn't ask for an autograph, they'd want a hug,” said his long-time manager Dan Spilo in a statement confirming news of his death. “He had a heart as big as the world."

Indeed he did. Goodbye, Big Mike.


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Your Comments

RE: Big Bear hugs
Sad news this morning. He was a likeable actor, always seemed really nice in interviews and was generally over the moon when he was Oscar nominated. I remember him talking about how he loves it when people come asking for an autograph. Just came across as a really decent fella. I was looking forward to see him return in the Sin City sequel.   R.I.P. More

Posted by Beetlejuice! at 11:24 on 04 September 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Big Bear hugs
This is terrible news. His presence tended to elevate the quality of even the worst films that he appeared in, and his performance in The Green Mile remains one of my favourites of all time. More

Posted by AxlReznor at 10:35 on 04 September 2012 | Report This Post

RE: :(
What a shock.... More

Posted by Discodez at 09:49 on 04 September 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Shocked
Sad news RIP. More

Posted by NCC1701A at 08:17 on 04 September 2012 | Report This Post

RE: So Long Bear
He was in The Island, so there is a high possibility you're correct!... spooky. More

Posted by londondillon at 05:02 on 04 September 2012 | Report This Post

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