Michael Clarke Duncan

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Michael Clarke Duncan
Duncan at the Warner Bros. Lot in Burbank, California, in January 2009.
Born (1957-12-10)December 10, 1957
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died September 3, 2012(2012-09-03) (aged 54)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1995–2012
Height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Partner(s) Omarosa
(2010–2012; his death)

Michael Clarke Duncan (December 10, 1957 – September 3, 2012) was an American actor, best known for his breakout role as John Coffey in The Green Mile (1999), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and various similar honors. He also appeared in motion pictures such as Armageddon (1998), The Whole Nine Yards (2000), The Scorpion King (2002), Daredevil (2003) and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006). His voice can be heard in films such as Brother Bear (2003), Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Green Lantern (2011).

Early life

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.[1][2] He always wanted to act, but had to drop out of the Communications program at Alcorn State University to support his family when his mother became ill. Duncan's large frame—6 feet 5 inches (196 cm)[3] and 315 pounds (142 kg)—helped him in his jobs digging ditches for the People's Gas Company and being a bouncer at several Chicago clubs.[4] Duncan also played basketball at Kankakee Community College and for one season at Alcorn State.[5]

In 1979, he participated in the Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox, where he was among the first 100 people to run onto the field and he slid into third base. During the ensuing riot his silver belt buckle was stolen[6] while he was stealing a baseball bat from the dugout.[7]


Duncan took other security jobs while in Los Angeles while trying to get some acting work in commercials. During this time, he worked as a bodyguard for celebrities like Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, and The Notorious B.I.G., all the while doing bit parts in television and films. When rapper Notorious B.I.G. was killed in 1997, Duncan quit the personal-protection business.[3]

After having begun his career with several bit parts playing bouncers in films such as Bulworth and A Night at the Roxbury, Duncan first came to prominence when he was cast as Bear in the blockbuster Michael Bay action film Armageddon (1998). During the production of the film, Duncan struck up a friendship with castmate Bruce Willis and it was Willis' influence that helped him to get his breakout role as gentle giant John Coffey in the Frank Darabont film The Green Mile (1999). Starring alongside Tom Hanks, Duncan's acclaimed performance netted him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.[8][9]

Following his iconic dramatic turn as Coffey, Duncan was then cast in a string of films that helped to establish him as a star adept at both action and comedy: The Whole Nine Yards (2000), Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002) (where he starred alongside his friend, The Rock), and Daredevil (2003) (reuniting him with Armageddon co-star Ben Affleck) as Wilson Fisk, aka The Kingpin from Marvel Comics.

When Duncan was cast as the Kingpin in 2002,[10] he faced the dual challenge of portraying a typically white character[11][12] and having to gain 40 pounds to fit the character's large physique. In July 2006, Duncan showed interest in returning for the role of the Kingpin, but stated that he would not be willing to regain the weight that he had lost.[13] In 2009, he stopped eating meat and later appeared in a PETA ad campaign, touting the health benefits and his increased strength from a vegetarian diet.[14][15]

In 2005, Duncan appeared in two prominent action films, The Island (his second Michael Bay Film) and Sin City (again alongside Bruce Willis) where he played Manute, a powerful mobster. Critic Roger Ebert singled out Duncan for praise for his role in The Island, writing that "[Duncan] has only three or four scenes, but they're of central importance, and he brings true horror to them."[16] Duncan appeared in a supporting role in the 2006 comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby as Lucius Washington and, in 2009, Duncan played Balrog in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and starred as the titular Cleon "Slammin'" Salmon in Broken Lizard's farce The Slammin' Salmon.

Famous for his deep, resonant voice, Duncan also did speaking-only roles for films such as Brother Bear (2003) and its sequel, Brother Bear 2, Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Green Lantern (2011) playing the voice of Kilowog from DC Comics alongside Ryan Reynolds.

His other voice acting roles include' TV series such as Loonatics Unleased and Operation: Z.E.R.O., Quiznos commercials, and a number of video games such as Demon Stone, SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs, The Suffering: Ties That Bind, Saints Row, Soldier of Fortune, and God of War II, where he provided the voice of the Titan Atlas. He additionally reprised his role as the Kingpin in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series.

In addition to his film roles, Duncan also guest starred in numerous television shows. Among these, he appeared in an episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and a first-season episode of CSI: NY.[17] In 2008, he appeared as "Mr. Colt" in the second-season premiere of Chuck, "Chuck Versus the First Date"[18] and as a guest star on two episodes of Two and a Half Men. Most notably, in April 2011, Duncan guest starred on an episode of TV series Bones as Leo Knox which, in 2012, led to Duncan receiving his first starring role as the same character in the spinoff series The Finder. The Bones Season 8 episode "The Partners in the Divorce", which aired three weeks after his death, was dedicated to him.

During the week of May 14, 2012, Duncan appeared as a guest on the late night talk show The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson when the show was taping for a week in Scotland. Duncan was one of the show's most frequent guests, appearing a total of 18 times, and, the day after Duncan's death in September, Ferguson began his show with a tribute to him. In January 2013 during The Late Late Show's winter break, reruns of the Scotland episodes were broadcast with a tribute to Duncan at the beginning of each of the five episodes, featuring Duncan on a pink background and the text "In memory of our friend Michael Clarke Duncan."

Personal life

At the time of his death, Duncan was engaged to reality television personality Omarosa Manigault.[19]

In 2013, Manigault appeared in the cast of The All-Star Celebrity Apprentice and played in Duncan's honor for his favorite charity and one he had benefited from himself, the Sue Duncan Children's Center. In episode 2 of the season, Manigault won $40,000 for the charity.[20]


Crypt of Michael Clarke Duncan at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

On July 13, 2012, Duncan was taken to Cedars Sinai Medical Center after suffering a heart attack.[21] Media reports suggested that his girlfriend, Omarosa Manigault, had tried to save his life by performing CPR.[22] Duncan's publicist, Joy Fehily, issued a statement on August 6 that read he was moved from the intensive-care unit but remained hospitalized following his heart attack.[23] On September 3, Duncan died in Los Angeles. Celebrations of Duncan's life were scheduled for a later date.[24]



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Friday Craps Player Uncredited
1997 Back in Business Huge Guard N/A
1998 Caught Up BB N/A
1998 The Players Club Bodyguard Credited as Big Mike Duncan
1998 Bulworth Bouncer Credited as Michael 'Big Mike' Duncan
1998 Armageddon Bear N/A
1998 A Night at the Roxbury Roxbury Bouncer Credited as Michael 'Big Mike' Duncan
1999 The Underground Comedy Movie Gay Virgin N/A
1999 Breakfast of Champions Eli Credited as Michael Duncan
1999 The Green Mile John Coffey Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2000 The Whole Nine Yards Franklin 'Frankie Figs' Figueroa N/A
2001 See Spot Run Murdoch N/A
2001 Cats & Dogs Sam Voice only
2001 Planet of the Apes Attar N/A
2002 The Scorpion King Balthazar N/A
2003 Daredevil Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin N/A
2003 George of the Jungle 2 Mean Lion Voice only
2003 Brother Bear Tug Voice only
2003 Kim Possible: A Stitch in Time Future Wade Voice only
2004 D.E.B.S. Mr. Phipps N/A
2004 George and the Dragon Tarik N/A
2004 Pursued Franklin N/A
2005 Racing Stripes Clydesdale Voice only
2005 Sin City Manute N/A
2005 The Golden Blaze Thomas Tatum/Quake Voice only
2005 Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone Stinktooth Voice only
2005 The Island Starkweather Two Delta/Jamal Starkweather N/A
2005 Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story The Stork Voice only
2005 The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses Big Daddy Voice only
2006 Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Lucius Washington N/A
2006 Brother Bear 2 Tug Voice only
2006 School for Scoundrels Lesher N/A
2006 One Way The General N/A
2006 Air Buddies Wolf Voice only
2007 The Last Mimzy Nathanial Broadman N/A
2007 Slipstream Mort/Phil Henderson/Patrolman N/A
2008 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins Otis N/A
2008 Delgo Elder Marley Voice only
2008 Kung Fu Panda Commander Vachir Voice only
2008 American Crude Spinks N/A
2009 The Slammin' Salmon Cleon Salmon N/A
2009 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li Balrog/M. Bison (Japan) N/A
2010 Redemption Road Augy N/A
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Sam Voice only
2011 Cross Erlik Direct-to-video
2011 A Crush on You Big Jim Nelson N/A
2011 Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit Slash Voice only
2011 Green Lantern Kilowog Voice only
2012 From the Rough Roger Released in 2014
2012 In the Hive Mr. Hollis N/A
2013 A Resurrection Addison Released seven months after Duncan's death
2015 The Challenger Duane Duncan's last performance in a film


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Renegade Shake Episode: "Living Legend"
1995 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Tiny Episode: "Bourgie Sings the Blues"
1995 Married... with Children Bouncer Episode: "Flight of the Bumblebee"
1996 Skwids Body Builder N/A
1996 Weird Science Cardinal Carnage Episode: "Men in Tights"
1997 The Jamie Foxx Show Inmate Episode: "Little Red Corvette"
1997 Sparks Frank Episode: "Self Defense"
1997 The Wayans Bros. Big Mike Episode: "I Do..."
1997 Living Single Security Guard Episode: "High Anxiety"
1997 Built to Last N/A Episode: "A Family Affair"
1998 Arliss Lucian Balboa Episode: "Fans First"
1999 Sister, Sister Big Earl Episode: "Before There Was Hip Hop..."
2001 They Call Me Sirr Coach Griffin Television film
2002 King of the Hill Coach Webb Episode: "The Son Also Roses"
2003, 2005 The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Commander Baker Voice only
Episode: "My Big Fat Spy Wedding" and "Operation: Rescue Jet Fusion"
2003 Spider-Man: The New Animated Series The Kingpin / Wilson Fisk Voice only
Episode: "Royal Scam" and "Keeping Secrets"
2003 The Proud Family Mongo Voice only
Episode: "Smackmania 6: Mongo vs. Mama's Boy"
2004 Static Shock Rashid 'The Rocket' Randall Voice only
Episode: "Linked"
2004 The Fairly OddParents Rockwell Voice only
Episode: "Crash Nebula"
2004 George Lopez Dr. Holland Episode: "George to the Third Power"
2005–2007 Loonatics Unleashed Massive 4 episodes
2005 Teen Titans Hayden/Krall Voice only
Episode: "Cyborg the Barbarian"
2005 CSI: NY Quinn Sullivan Episode: "The Closer"
2006–2007, 2012 Family Guy Black Co-Worker/Boy on Mushrooms/Fozzie Bear 4 episodes
2006 Minoriteam Balactus Episode: "Balactus: Part 1" and "Balaztus: Part 2"
2008–2009 Two and a Half Men Jerome Episode: "The Two Finger Rule" and "The Mooch at the Boo"
2008 The Suite Life of Zack & Cody Coach Little Episode: "Benchwarmers"
2008 Chuck Colt Episode: "Chuck Versus the First Date"
2011 Bones Leo Knox Episode: "The Finder"
2012 The Finder Leo Knox 13 episodes
2012 The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange Marshmallow King Voice only
Episode: "Marshmalia"
2012 Ultimate Spider-Man Groot Voice only

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Panic in the Park Security Guard N/A
2000 Star Trek: Klingon Academy Opening Movie Klingons N/A
2000 Soldier of Fortune Hawk N/A
2003 SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs SEAL Operative WARDOG Credited as Michael Clark Duncan
2004 Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone Slaad Lord Ygorl N/A
2005 The Suffering: Ties That Bind Blackmore N/A
2006 Saints Row Benjamin King N/A
2007 God of War II Atlas N/A
2013 Saints Row IV N/A Credited as Benjamin King in the game's credits in memoriam to him, Duncan was set to reprise his role as King in IV, with some voice work already done for the game before his death. During the game's credits, the song "Just a Friend" by Biz Markie is played as all the cast members sing along, the song fades out with Duncan's track. He was replaced by Terry Crews.

Music videos

Year Artist Title Role Notes
1995 R. Kelly featuring The Isley Brothers "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)" Security Guard Cameo appearance


  1. "CNN – 'Green Mile''s giant has taken massive strides – December 10, 1999". CNN.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. USA WEEKEND Magazine[dead link]
  3. 3.0 3.1 Biography for Michael Clarke Duncan at the Internet Movie Database
  4. Beale, Lewis. "Michael Clarke Duncan gets funny in 'Slammin' Salmon'." Newsday, (Melville, NY) 16 Dec. 2009: Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 17 Sept. 2012.
  5. "Former Alcorn hoops coach remembers actor Michael Clarke Duncan". CBS Sports.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Zwecker, Bill. "Love may have bloomed again on set for 'Garden State' star." Chicago Sun-Times September 28, 2006
  7. Adam Caldarelli 3:09 p.m. CDT, May 20, 2006 (2006-05-20). "Caldarelli, Adam. "From the Cubicle." ''Chicago Tribune'' May 20, 2006". Chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2012-11-01.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "'Green Miles giant has taken massive strides". CNN.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Awards for The Green Mile on IMDb
  10. McNary, Dave (January 9, 2002). "Duncan takes on Daredevil". Variety. Retrieved 2008-02-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Daniel Robert Epstein. "Michael Clarke Duncan Interview". UGO. Retrieved 2008-02-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Ryan J. Downey (February 6, 2003). "Ben Affleck Dares to Dream Daredevil". MTV. Retrieved 2008-02-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Chavez, Kellvin (July 6, 2006). "Duncan Not in Transformers But Talks Daredevil 2!". LatinoReview.com. Retrieved 2008-12-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Green Mile Star Joins Veggie Campaign," KSHB.com, 12 May 2012.
  15. 04 Sep 2012 (2012-09-04). "Michael Clarke Duncan". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Ebert, Roger (2005). "The Island", Chicago Sun Times, 22 July 2005, accessed 13 September 2012
  17. The Closer on IMDb
  18. "NBC's 'Chuck': Good-natured, not much adult appeal September 29, 2008". Chicagotribune.com. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved 2012-11-01. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Michael Clarke Duncan's fiancee 'devastated' by his death". Retrieved September 4, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "'All-Star Celebrity Apprentice': Omarosa Gets Emotional Over Chance To Honor Late Fiance Michael Clarke Duncan (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 03/11/2013. Check date values in: |date= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Saad, Nardine (2012-07-13). "'Green Mile' actor Michael Clarke Duncan in ICU after heart attack". latimes.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "CPR: How It Helped Save Michael Clarke Duncan From Cardiac Arrest". The Huffington Post. Huffingtonpost.com. 16 July 2012. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "ACTOR MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN REMAINS HOSPITALIZED". Associated Press. Retrieved 7 August 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Michael Clarke Duncan dead at 54: 'Green Mile' actor dies nearly two months after suffering heart attack". Daily News. New York. Associated Press. 3 September 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links