Michael Clarke Duncan Dies Following Heart Complications
Michael Clarke Duncan — best known for his Oscar-nominated role as a death row inmate who possessed magical healing powers in the 1999 film “The Green Mile” — died on Monday at the age of 54, according to his fiancee Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth.
Duncan had been in a Los Angeles hospital since July 13 following a heart attack and died on Monday morning after close to two months of treatment.
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The muscular, 6-foot-4 (1.96 meter) 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.”
Duncan was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his role as gentle giant prisoner John Coffey in “The Green Mile,” also starring Tom Hanks. Duncan won the role, in part, due to a recommendation by Bruce Willis, who he worked with on 1998’s “Armageddon.” Duncan went on to appear with Willis in three more films — “Breakfast of Champions,” “The Whole Nine Yards” and “Sin City.”
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.
Duncan’s career spanned three decades and included roles in other television and film titles.