Michael Clarke Duncan
The Associated Press reports that actor Michael Clarke Duncan has passed away at age 54. According to a statement released by publicist Joy Fehily, Duncan died Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for a heart attack. The Academy Award-nominated actor, "suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered," the statement said. "(fiancée, reality TV personality Rev. Omarosa) 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."
The actor was born in Chicago in 1957, and raised by a single mother whose refusal to allow him to play football led him to become an actor instead. By his mid-20s, he had come to Los Angeles and became a bodyguard for Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and other stars.
The husky 6 foot 4 actor was often cast as a bodyguard or bouncer, particularly in his earliest roles including "Bulworth," 'A Night at the Roxbury" and "The Players Club." He went on to star in his Oscar-nominated role as a death row inmate in "The Green Mile" as well as in the blockbusters "Armageddon," 'Planet of the Apes" and a voiceover in the animated, "Kung Fu Panda."
Said his "Green Mile" co-star Tom Hanks, "I am terribly saddened at the loss of Big Mike. He was the treasure we all discovered on the set of 'The Green Mile.' He was magic. He was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned." In the film, based on a Stephen King novel, Duncan portrayed John Coffey, described as "a convicted murderer with a surprisingly gentle demeanor and extraordinary healing powers."
Just recently, Duncan appeared in a PSA for PETA, the animal rights organization, in which he revealed that eating as a vegetarian for the past three years had greatly improved his health. "I cleared out my refrigerator, about $5,000 worth of meat," he said in the video. "I'm a lot healthier than I was when I was eating meat."
His varied movie career included such films as "Daredevil", the comedies "Talladega Nights," and 'School for Scoundrels". His TV credits included "The Apprentice," 'The Finder," 'Two and a Half Men" and "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody."
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