I had the opportunity to meet Michael not to long after he did the Green Mile (1999). He worked out at the same gym I did and felt perfectly comfortable being there even over the popularity and high ratings the film was getting. My son was in high school at the time and I had dragged him to the gym that day to work-out with me so I could teach him how to work-out with free weights. Michael walked by like a towering giant. He was such a massively huge person you could not help but recognize a big black man like that walking next to you. Living in Los Angeles, you aren’t really star struck to see celebrities, because they live in the city and can be seen out and about in regular places that vacationing tourist would not normally be. So it wasn’t his celebrity that was impressive, it was his quiet and humble presence in such a huge frame.
My son, who is now a classically trained actor himself here in Hollywood, was in high school at the time and embarking on pursuing his own dreams to become an actor, so he walked up and struck up a long conversation with Mike, who was squatting every 45 lb plate in the gym on one bar that was bowing like a toothpick, like it was a feather.
Mike shared his personal story about being a ditch digger and holding tight to his dream with every shovel of dirt. He laughed about his journey and said to my son and I, “You have to get dirty sometimes to follow your dreams”. We both learned something bigger than his size that day.
Michael was a man with the same gentle heart that he portrayed in the film, “The Green Mile”. I was blessed that day by his bigger than L.I.F.E. presence, which far exceeded even his massive frame because of his heart to stop and share some inspiration with my son to encourage him to follow his dreams of being an actor no matter what he had to do to get there.
I want to say thank you Mike and congratulate you on walking the last mile as you make your transition.
My condolences to the family and to Rev. Omarosa as we all celebrate Michael’s L.I.F.E.
Spirit is never ever born, and can never ever die, merely changes forms as IT transitions into a new experience of L.I.F.E. eternal.
Rev. Dr. Diva
Biography for Michael Clarke Duncan
reprint from IMDB
Date of Birth – 10 December 1957, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Date of Death – 3 September 2012, Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth Name -Michael Clarke Duncan
Nickname – Hollywood -Big Mike
Height – 6′ 5″ (1.96 m)
Raised by his single mother on Chicago’s South Side, Michael Clarke Duncan grew up resisting drugs and alcohol, instead concentrating on school. He wanted to play football in high school, but his mother would not let him, fearing he would get hurt. He then turned to acting, dreaming of becoming a famous actor. After graduating from high school and attending community college, he worked digging ditches at Peoples Gas Company in Chicago. When he quit his job and headed to Hollywood, he landed small roles while working as a bodyguard. Michael’s role in the movie Armageddon (1998) led to his breakthrough performance in The Green Mile (1999), when his Armageddon co-star Bruce Willis called director Frank Darabont, suggesting Michael for the part of convict John Coffey. He landed the role, receiving critical acclaim for his performance.
Deep commanding voice
Towering height and muscular frame
Supposedly gives five dollars to anyone who recognizes him on the street and knows what his full name is.
Considered becoming a police officer with the LAPD, which was revealed during an interview on “LIVE! with Kelly” (1988).
Attended Alcorn State University in Mississippi, but dropped out to support his family when his mother became ill. Has an older sister, Judith. Worked as a security guard for a theatre troupe.
Played basketball at Kankakee Community College. After college, spent several years digging ditches for the gas company in Chicago.
Did bodyguard work for Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, and The Notorious B.I.G.; he let a friend take over for him the night Notorious B.I.G. got shot, which prompted him to quit that line of work.
For his role as the criminal mastermind behemoth Kingpin in Daredevil (2003), Clarke put on 40 lbs. to his already largely built physique.
He tried out for the Chicago Bears in the mid 1980s. He wanted to try out at for one of the linebacker postions, but the coaches chose to see how he would be perform at Tightend.
Narrates the 2005 Major League Baseball World Series Film, featuring the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox.
Ran onto the field and slid into third base during the Disco Demolition Night fiasco at Comiskey Park on July 12, 1979.
His Daredevil character, Wilson Fisk/Kingpin, first appeared as an enemy of Spiderman until Frank Miller made him a major enemy of Daredevil. Duncan has played him opposite both characters, in the animated series “Spider-Man” (2003) and in Daredevil (2003).
Has five cats.
Has one chinchilla, “Chucky”.
Is a blue belt in Brazilian JuJutsu.
Moonlighting as a bouncer and guard at various clubs on Chicago’s South Side, he met one of the producers of the touring stage show, “Beauty Shop, Part 2” and was hired as the producer’s personal security. Although he often asked for the opportunity to act in the play, the producer never gave him the chance.
Was hospitalized on July 13, 2012 in Los Angeles after suffering cardiac arrest. His girlfriend, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, applied CPR and resuscitated him.
My sister [Judith] used to say I had a frail chest and she’d beat me up all the time.
Actor Michael Clarke Duncan dead at 54
By HILLEL ITALIE and STEVE LOEPER | Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Clarke Duncan, the hulking, prolific character actor whose dozens of films included an Oscar-nominated performance as a death row inmate in “The Green Mile” and such other box office hits as “Armageddon,” ”Planet of the Apes” and “Kung Fu Panda,” is dead at age 54.
Duncan died Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for a heart attack, said his fiancée, reality TV personality Rev. Omarosa Manigault, in a statement released by publicist Joy Fehily.
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.”
In the spring of 2012, Duncan had appeared in a video for PETA, the animal rights organization, in which he spoke of how much better he felt since becoming a vegetarian three years earlier.
“I cleared out my refrigerator, about $5,000 worth of meat,” he said. “I’m a lot healthier than I was when I was eating meat.”
Duncan had a handful of minor roles before “The Green Mile” brought him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. The 1999 film, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, starred Tom Hanks as a corrections officer at a penitentiary in the 1930s. Duncan played John Coffey, a convicted murderer with a surprisingly gentle demeanor and extraordinary healing powers.
Duncan’s performance caught on with critics and moviegoers and he quickly became a favorite in Hollywood, appearing in several films a year. He owed some of his good fortune to Bruce Willis, who recommended Duncan for “The Green Mile” after the two appeared together in “Armageddon.” Duncan would work with Willis again in “Breakfast of Champions,” ”The Whole Nine Yards” and “Sin City.”
His industrial-sized build was suited for everything from superhero films (“Daredevil”) to comedy (“Talledega Nights,” ”School for Scoundrels”). His gravelly baritone alone was good enough for several animated movies, including, “Kung Fu Panda,” ”Delgo” and “Brother Bear.” Among Duncan’s television credits: “The Apprentice,” ”The Finder,” ”Two and a Half Men” and “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.”
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.
Early film and television credits, when he was usually cast as a bodyguard or bouncer, included “Bulworth,” ”A Night at the Roxbury” and “The Players Club.”