Image

12:52 PM / Wednesday September 22, 2021

9 Sep 2012

Actor Michael Clarke Duncan dead at 54

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
September 9, 2012 Category: Stateside Posted by:

By Steve Loeper

Associated Press

 

LOS ANGELES — Michael Clarke Duncan, the hulking, prolific character actor whose dozens of films included an Oscar-nominated performance as a death row inmate in “The Green Mile” and such other box office hits as “Armageddon,” ”Planet of the Apes” and “Kung Fu Panda,” is dead at age 54.

 

Clarke died Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for a heart attack, said his fiancée, Reverend Omarosa Manigault, in a statement released by publicist Joy Fehily.

 

The muscular, 6-foot-4 Duncan, a former bodyguard who turned to acting in his 30s, “suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered,” the statement said. “Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time. Celebrations of his life, both private and public, will be announced at a later date.”

 

In the spring of 2012, Clarke had appeared in a video for PETA, the animal rights organization, in which he spoke of how much better he felt since becoming a vegetarian three years earlier.

 

“I cleared out my refrigerator, about $5,000 worth of meat,” he said. “I’m a lot healthier than I was when I was eating meat.”

 

Duncan had a handful of minor roles before “The Green Mile” brought him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. The 1999 film, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, starred Tom Hanks as a corrections officer at a penitentiary in the 1930s. Duncan played John Coffey, a convicted murderer with a surprisingly gentle demeanor and extraordinary healing powers.

 

Duncan’s performance caught on with critics and moviegoers and he quickly became a favorite in Hollywood, appearing in several films a year. He owed some of his good fortune to Bruce Willis, who recommended Duncan for “The Green Mile” after the two appeared together in “Armageddon.” Clarke would work with Willis again in “Breakfast of Champions,” ”The Whole Nine Yards” and “Sin City.”

 

His industrial-sized build was suited for everything from superhero films (“Daredevil”) to comedy (“Talledega Nights,” ”School for Scoundrels”). His gravelly baritone alone was good enough for several animated movies, including, “Kung Fu Panda,” ”Delgo” and “Brother Bear.” Among Clarke’s television credits: “The Apprentice,” ”The Finder,” ”Two and a Half Men” and “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.”

 

Image

Born in Chicago in 1957, Duncan was raised by a single mother whose resistance to his playing football led to his deciding he wanted to become an actor. But when his mother became ill, he dropped out of college, Alcorn State University, and worked as a ditch digger and bouncer to support her. By his mid-20s, he was in Los Angeles, where he looked for acting parts and became a bodyguard for Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and other stars. The murder of rapper Notorious B.I.G., for whom Duncan had been hired to protect before switching assignments, led him to quit his job and pursue acting full-time.

 

Early film and television credits, when he was usually cast as a bodyguard or bouncer, included “Bulworth,” ”A Night at the Roxbury” and “The Players Club.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Oasis

Pastor Robert P. Shine Sr. observes 50th anniversary of preaching and the 35th anniversary of Berachah Baptist Church

September 20, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Pastor Robert P. Shine, Sr., of Berachah Baptist Church West Oak...

Week In Review

Lawsuit: Farm hired white immigrants over Black US laborers

September 20, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Richard Strong, 50, left, his brother Gregory Strong, 48, center and...

Stateside

GOP lawmakers vote for subpoena seeking voter information

September 20, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: State Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia speaks during a Senate Intergovernmental Operations...

Politics

Evans, Williams introduce $1 billion Environmental Justice Tax Credit

September 20, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (Photo/house.gov) and U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams (Photo/house.gov)...

Seniors

September is Pain Awareness Month: Upgrade your morning routine to ease arthritis joint pain

September 20, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT The sun rises, you flutter your eyes open and take a deep...

Sports

The Spoilers

September 21, 2021

Tweet Share Pin Email While the Baltimore Orioles have managed to lose 102 games this year, their...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff