Michael Clarke Duncan dies at 54

Ben Arnold
Yahoo UK Movies News4 September 2012

Oscar-nominated actor Michael Clarke Duncan has died.

The 'Green Mile' star had been hospitalised after suffering a heart attack in July, but never fully recovered and died on Monday morning in hospital in Los Angeles.

His manager Dan Spilo said that his passing was 'a tragic loss for anyone who knew this wonderful man, for the business as a whole and for the planet'.

[Related story: Michael Duncan Clarke hospitalised after cardiac arrest]

“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. He had a heart as big as the world,” he added.

Duncan was most famous for his role as the death row inmate John Coffey in the film adaptation of Stephen King's book 'The Green Mile', a part which earned him an Oscar nomination.



'Green Mile' director Frank Darabont said: “Michael was the gentlest of souls - an exemplar of decency, integrity and kindness. The sadness I feel is inexpressible.”

Tom Hanks, who starred alongside him, added: “I am terribly saddened at the loss of Big Mike. He was the treasure we all discovered on the set of The Green Mile. He was magic. He was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned.”

Duncan, thanks to his six-foot, five-inch stature, had variously worked as a bouncer in his hometown of Chicago and even for a time as a male stripper. He also worked as a bodyguard for the likes of Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and LL Cool J.

But he quit to pursue acting in 1997 following the death of Notorious B.I.G., whom he had also worked for.

His first major role was as Bear in 'Armageddon' with Bruce Willis in 1998. His career took off from there, landing parts in 'Sin City', 'Planet of the Apes', 'The Scorpion King', 'Kung Fu Panda' and 'Green Lantern'.

He is survived by his fiancée Omarosa Manigault, who was with him at hospital shortly before he died.

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