Michael Clarke Duncan, considered one of the sweetest actors in Hollywood who could beat you up with just a look, has died. He was 54.
Duncan was a popular face, especially in projects that involved his friend Bruce Willis. He first appeared alongside Willis in the 1998 Michael Bay film “Armageddon,” which broke him out of playing bouncers and thugs in various television shows, and helped him get recognize in his own right. He would later win critical acclaim as John Coffey, the mysterious innocent death row inmate in Frank Darabont’s “The Green Mile” in 1999.
That role would earn Duncan his only Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, losing out that year to Michael Caine in the “Cider House Rules.”
A spokesman told CNN that Duncan suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never recovered. His life was initially saved by his girlfriend, “The Apprentice” star Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, who was able to keep him alive after he suffered his heart attack.
Following “The Green Mile,” Duncan would appear in a number of projects including 2001’s “Planet of the Apes,” “The Scorpion King” in 2002, “Daredevil” in 2003, “Sin City” in 2005, and most recently the short-lived television series “The Finder.”
Duncan had reportedly completed work on the drama “In the Hive” opposite Vivica A. Fox, as well as the action-drama “The Challenger” from writer and director Kent Moran.
Michael Clarke Duncan was born Dec. 10, 1957, in Chicago. He would work a series of odd jobs, including security work, while he tried to get his break as an actor, and even served as the personal body guard for the likes of Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Notorious B.I.G., quitting that type of work when B.I.G. — whose real name is Christopher Wallace — was killed in 1997.
Duncan had no listed survivors.