Tuesday, 4 September 2012

RIP Michael Clarke Duncan

I was shocked and saddened to learn that awesome actor, Michael Clarke Duncan, passed away Monday morning, September 3, at the age of 54. He'd been hospitalized since July 13 with a heart ailment. With over 90 film, television and voice credits to his name, the former bodyguard turned actor was perhaps best known for his roles in The Green Mile, The Scorpion King, Daredevil, Sin City, Planet of the Apes and Armageddon.

Duncan was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, a stone's throw from yours truly. He wanted to play football, but his mother wouldn't hear of it, fearing he'd get hurt, so he turned to acting. Michael went on to attend Alcorn State University, but had to drop out when his mother became ill. He came back to Chicago where he dug ditches for People's Gas and also did bouncer work for the local club scene. The producer of the play, The Barbershop 2 hired him to be his personal security and Michael went into the bodyguard business.

He moved out to California to pursue acting and continued to bodyguard work, Michael served as personal security for the likes of Will Smith, LL Cool J, The Notorious B.I.G aka Biggie Smalls. and Jamie Foxx. While working for Biggie, he let a friend take over for the night, the same night that Biggie was shot and killed. The incident prompted Michael to leave the business.

His breakthrough came in the 1998 film Armageddon as the wildcatter Bear. From there he went on to play the pivotal role of John Coffey in The Green Mile. The performance earned him an Oscar nomination that year. It also won him the Saturn and Critics Choice awards for Best Supporting Actor. His career took off from there. He appeared in television shows that ran the gamut from drama to sitcom as well as a few children's shows like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. At the time of his death, he starred in the Fox series The Finder as bar owner Leo Knox.

Some cool trivia about Michael Clarke Duncan:

He slid into third base at Comiskey Park during the infamous 1979 Disco Demolition Night

He narrated the 2005 World Series movie about the champion Chicago White Sox

He tried out for the Chicago Bears in the mid-80's as a tightend

He held a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

30 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Very sad - way too young!
Guess we're glad his mom didn't want him playing football and he never made the Bears team.

Melissa Bradley said...

@Alex Way too young for sure. I really will miss that booming voice of his and that big smile. I'm glad he didn't make the Bears either. :)

Craig Edwards said...

Such sad news! He was such a presence onscreen. I miss him already. RIP.

Melissa Bradley said...

@Craig I can't believe he's gone. I, too, miss him already.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Great trivia Melissa. He was a black belt! That explains his impressive speed and agility. Very sad indeed and surprising!

Melissa Bradley said...

@Maurice Thanks! And thank you for the black belt info. Changing it now. :) He will certainly be missed. MCD was definitely one of the great ones.

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