Michael Clarke Duncan, nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the 1999 film “The Green Mile,” died Monday morning at age 54, according to a representative for his family. Duncan “suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered,” a written statement from Joy Fehily said. Clarke died at a Los Angeles hospital where he had been since having the heart attack more than seven weeks ago.
Duncan was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in a single-parent household with his sister, Judy, and mother, Jean Duncan (a house cleaner), after his father left. Duncan went to college at Alcorn State University in Mississippi with plans to major in communications, but he dropped out and moved home. In his 20s, he worked digging ditches for Peoples Gas during the day and as a bouncer at night. He told CNN in 1999 that his coworkers at the gas company called him “Hollywood” because he’d often talk about becoming a movie star.
In 1990, he decided to measure up his nickname and he moved to Los Angeles. He worked as a bodyguard then got a part in a commercial as a drill sergeant. More roles followed — often ones that depended more on his 315-pound frame than his acting ability. He was a guard in “Back in Business,” a bouncer in “A Night at the Roxbury,” a bouncer for 2 Live Crew in “The Players Club,” and a bouncer at a bar in the Warren Beatty film “Bulworth.”
Known for his roles in The Green Mile, The Whole Nine Yards, Armageddon & Daredevil, his most recent work was on the TV series, The Finder, on the Fox network which was cancelled in May. He was 54 at the time of his death.
RIP Michael Clarke Duncan