MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN
Date of Birth: December 10, 1957
Born and raised in Chicago, Michael Clarke Duncan's mother had a dream for her son: to go to Hollywood to be an actor. When she refused to let him play football in high school for fear of him hurting himself, he turned to the dream she had for him. They lived on the South Side of Chicago, where there weren't many acting classes or children's theater companies, but Michael's mother saw a spark in him even when he read the "Run, Jane, Run" books. Michael studied communications at Alcorn State University in Mississippi. Returning to his hometown, he landed work with Peoples Gas Company while moonlighting as a bouncer at various Southside clubs. A chance encounter with a stage producer won him a security job for the road company of Beauty Shop, Part 2, which brought the 6'5, 315 lb. talent to Los Angeles after a 56-city tour.
When he was down to his last $20, he called his mother, hoping she'd send him an airplane ticket home, but to his surprise she told him, "Pull up your bootstraps and get tough." Not long after that, he got a job working as a security guard on a studio lot and, he said, "Things fell into place after that." He finally won a role as a drill sergeant in a beer commercial. When he worked security for Will Smith, Smith found Michael a bit part on Fresh Prince of Bel Air. When he worked security for Jamie Fox, Fox got Michael a gig on a couple of episodes.
His resumé began to build, with his body defining his career. In fact, up until 1998, his movie resumé consisted of three words: "bodyguard," "bouncer" and "guard." One entry, for the little-known 1997 movie, Back in Business, actually specifies: "Huge Guard." He continued doing national and regional TV spots before winning a walk-on role in F. Gary Gray's hit comedy, Friday, his film debut.
In 1998, Michael was cast in Armageddon opposite Bruce Willis to play one of the wildcat oil riggers who goes into space to save the world. It was his first part with an actual name: Joyotis "Bear" Kurleenbear.
It was Willis who told him about The Green Mile, the role that brought him to the attention of Hollywood. As convicted killer John Coffey, he earned a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. After his success in the movie, he was inundated with offers and played roles in films such as Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002), Daredevil (2003) and School for Scoundrels (2006).
On July 13, 2012, Michael suffered a heart attack and was rushed to a hospital in Los Angeles. He died on September 3, 2012 from respiratory failure. He was 54 years old.
Filmography:From the Rough (2013)