Green Mile star Michael Clarke Duncan dies at 54


Duncan played small roles before his breakthrough in The Green Mile

Actor Michael Clarke Duncan, who rose to prominence playing a death row inmate in acclaimed film The Green Mile, has died at the age of 54.

Duncan suffered a heart attack in July and died at a hospital in Los Angeles after failing to recover.

He was nominated for an Oscar in 2000 for his portrayal as convicted murderer John Coffey alongside Tom Hanks in The Green Mile.

Paying tribute to his co-star, Hanks described him as "magic".

"I am terribly saddened at the loss of Big Mike," said the actor. "He was the treasure we all discovered on the set of The Green Mile.

"He was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned," Hanks added.

Michael Clarke Duncan The actor had suffered a heart attack in July

A former bodyguard, the 6ft 4in (1.93m) Duncan was an imposing figure who played a wide variety of action roles and also voiced animated parts.

His versatility saw him team up with Bruce Willis to save the Earth in Armageddon, then play it for laughs in Will Ferrell's racing comedy Talladega Nights.

In recent years he was seen in US sitcom Two and a Half Men and could be heard in animated comedy Family Guy.

But he will be remembered primarily for his role as John Coffey a convicted murderer possessed of extraordinary healing powers, in the adaptation of Stephen King's novel The Green Mile.

His performance won him a nomination as best supporting actor and kick-started an acting career that only began once he gave up bodyguard work in his thirties.

The film's director Frank Darabont described Duncan as "one of the finest people I've ever had the privilege to work with or know".

"Michael was the gentlest of souls - an exemplar of decency, integrity and kindness," he said in a statement. "The sadness I feel is inexpressible."

Duncan, who was born in Chicago in 1957, died on Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

His fiancee, the reality TV personality Reverend Omarosa Manigault, asked for privacy until his funeral and memorial events were announced.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    Although the Green Mile was a very long film and in some places arguably a little daft, Michael Clarke Duncan's performance made it compelling viewing. I couldn't imagine another actor of his size and stature playing the role of John Coffey with such sensitivity and belief. RIP MCD, you will be missed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    I loved "The Green Mile", but it would not have been the great movie that it was without Michael Duncan. This movie brought out Michael Duncan's "gentle giant" persona - such a big man, such a small mouse.
    I am so sorry to hear that he has died - so young.
    May his sould rest in peace and spread that peace throughout our world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Truly saddened by this news, what a gift he had. His role as John Coffey in ‘The Green Mile’, was nothing short of inspirational.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    The only time a performance in any Movie has made me cry.... What a talent.

    RIP Michael Clarke Duncan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    A sad loss for us all.

    He and his family should be proud of his brilliant performance as the gentle giant in the Green Mile which makes me cry every time I see it.

    Gone but thankfully never to be forgotten.



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