Commenting on the death yesterday, Sept. 3, 2012, of Michael Clarke Duncan, who starred in "The Green Mile," Frank Darabont, who wrote and directed the movie, said Duncan was "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. The sadness I feel is inexpressible." Darabont’s comments were reported in The Hollywood Reporter.
The Academy Award-nominated actor died Monday morning at age 54 after suffering a heart attack July 13, CNN.com reported.
Duncan died at a Los Angeles hospital, where he had remained since the heart attack, the story says. As previously reported, his girlfriend Omarosa Stallworth, known for her 2004 role on NBC’s "The Apprentice," performed CPR on Duncan at the time and kept him stable until he was taken to the hospital.
The actor, who recently starred in the television series "The Finder," was known for his deep voice and 6′ 5" frame, the story notes. He received an Oscar nomination for “The Green Mile” in 2000. "The Green Mile" is based on a story by Stephen King.
After digging ditches for Peoples Gas in his 20s, Duncan decided to move to Los Angeles to look for acting work, according to CNN. While working as a bodyguard, he got a role in a commercial as a drill sergeant, and other roles followed. Many of them were based on his physique, with Duncan cast as guards and bouncers, the CNN story notes.
His first big role was as Bear in 1998’s "Armageddon," which also started his friendship with Bruce Willis. The two actors appeared in four films together, and Willis advocated for Duncan with "The Green Mile" director Frank Darabont, the CNN piece adds.
In "The Green Mile," Duncan portrayed John Coffey, a black man wrongly convicted of raping and murdering two white girls and who has the supernatural ability to heal. Duncan was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for the role.