Actor Michael Clarke Duncan died today, 3 September 2012, at the age of 54. The cause was a heart attack.
Michael Clarke Duncan was born on 10 December 1957 in Chicago. He was only 5 years old when his father left his family. He was raised by his mother and his older sister. His mother had wanted to be an actress and so she encouraged him to take up acting. He went to Kankakee Community College in Kankakee, Illinois and Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi, but did not graduate as he had to go back to Chicago to help support his family. He worked as a ditch digger for the the Peoples Gas Company and a bouncer at various nighclubs. Eventually he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career, where he initially worked as a bodyguard for such stars as Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.
Michael Clarke Duncan made his debut in an episode of Renegade. Over the next few years he guest starred on such shows as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Married with Children, The Jamie Foxx Show, and The Wayan Bros. He appeared in the films Friday (1995), Back in Business (1997), and Caught Up (1998), The Players Club (1998), and Bulworth (1998).
It was with the film Armageddon (1998) that Mr. Duncan graduated from bit parts to more substantial roles. He appeared in the films A Night at the Roxbury (1998) and Breakfast of Champions (1999) before his breakout role as John Coffey in The Green Mile (1999). He appeared the following year in the remake of The Whole Nine Yards (2000). In the Naughts he appeared in such films as See Spot Run (2001), Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002), Daredevil (2003), Pursued (2004), D.E.B.S. (2004), Sin City (2005), One Way (2006), The Last Mimzy (2007), Slipstream (2007), The Slammin' Salmon (2009), and Redemption Road (2010). He did voice work on such animated films as Kung Fu Panda (2010) and such animated TV series as Spider-Man, Static Shock, Teen Titans, and Loonatics Unleashed. On television he guest starred on such shows as King of the Hill, George Lopez, C.S.I. NY, and Two and a Half Men.
In the Teens Michael Clarke Duncan was a regular on the series The Finder. He guest starred on the series Bones. He appeared in the films Green Lantern (2011), From the Rough (2012), and The Loud: Around the Time (2012). His final three films are to be released later this year and next year: In the Hive (2012), The Challenger (2012), and Criminal Empire for Dummy's (2013).
Michael Clarke Duncan was an extremely talented actor with a large range he could play. He gave an extraordinary performance as gentle giant John Coffey in The Green Mile and yet he could also play the Nubian warrior king Balthazar in The Scorpion King just as convincingly. Even when a film wasn't that good, such as the case with Daredevil, he still gave an impressive performance. It is very sad to know that we will see only a few more great performances from Mr. Duncan.