Actor Michael Clarke Duncan, best known for his role in the 1999 movie “The Green Mile,” passed away at the age of 54 on Monday. Duncan passed away at a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a heart attack in July and never recovered. Duncan began working in Hollywood as a bodyguard for celebrities in the middle of the 1990s. His first major acting appearance was in the film “Armageddon” in 1998. He was then cast as John Coffey in “The Green Mile.”
Duncan also made appearances in the movies, “The Whole Nine Yards” (2000), “Planet of the Apes” (2001), “The Scorpion King” (2002), “Daredevil” (2003) and “The Island” (2005). Duncan provided his deep voice for “Brother Bear” in 2004 and “Kung Fu Panda” in 2008.
Duncan was born on December 10, 1957 on the South Side of Chicago in North Kenwood. He attended Kankakee Community college to play basketball and then went to Alcorn State University prior to dropping out to return home. When he returned home to help his mother he acquired a job as a ditch digger for a gas company.
When Duncan started work as a security guard he protected Will Smith, Martin Lawrence and others. During this time he acquired small parts in television and film. One of Duncan’s closest friends was Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams. Williams said of Duncan that he “was the nicest, kindest guy anyone could ever know. He was a great fan of the Chicago White Sox and often called me to offer advice. His friendship will be missed.”