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Publish Date04/09/2012 10:33:16 AM
Last Update04/09/2012 10:45:36 AM
Actor Michael Clarke Duncan, known as the “gentle giant” or “Big Mike”, died at the age of 54 on September 3 in Los Angeles at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, after suffering a heart attack on July 13 from which he “never fully recovered”.
Duncan was a bodyguard before becoming an actor in his 30s; he found fame playing the role of John Coffey with Tom Hanks in the 1999 drama “The Green Mile”, where he was a gentle convicted murderer with supernatural powers, for which he received an Oscar nomination.
The 6-foot-5 (1.93 meter), weighing 315 pounds, known for his bass-voice, also appeared in Armageddon, Planet of the Apes, Sin City, Daredevil, The Whole Nine Yards, The Scorpion King, as well as lending his voice to Kung Fu Panda and Family Guy.
In his 20s, Duncan worked ditch digger for Peoples Gas during the day and as a bouncer at night. His coworkers at Peoples Gas called him “Hollywood” because he often talked about becoming a movie star and in 1990 he moved to Los Angeles to try his luck.
Michael Clarke Duncan became a vegetarian three years ago and in 2012 he appeared in a video for PETA, saying “I cleared out my refrigerator, about $5,000 worth of meat… I`m a lot healthier than I was when I was eating meat”, Duncan said.
The Chicago native was also known to offer $5 to strangers on the street who could tell him what his full name was. His death sparked immediate reactions on Twitter:
The Green Mile co-star Tom Hanks said: “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”.
Comedian and talk-show host Steve Harvey said: “I will miss my friend, Michael Clarke Duncan”.
Mario Lopez said: “R.I.P. Michael Clarke Duncan, one of the nicest & most professional guys I`ve had the pleasure of knowing”.
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