Actor Michael Clarke Duncan

Michael Clarke Duncan (December 10, 1957 – September 3, 2012) was an American actor. He was best known for his breakout role as John Coffey in The Green Mile (1999), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and other honors. He also appeared in motion pictures such as Armageddon (1998), The Whole Nine Yards (2000), Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002), Daredevil (2003), Sin City (2005), and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), and had voice roles in films such as Brother Bear (2003), Kung Fu Panda (2008), Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008), and Green Lantern (2011), and as Leo Knox in the TV series Bones (2011) and its spin-off series The Finder (2012).

Early life

Duncan was born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in a single-parent household with his sister, Judy, and mother, Jean Duncan (a house cleaner), after his father left. He always wanted to act, but had to drop out of the Communications program at Alcorn State University to support his family when his mother became ill.

Duncan’s large frame—6 feet 5 inches (196 cm) and 315 pounds (143 kg)—helped him in his jobs digging ditches for Peoples Gas Company and being a bouncer at several Chicago clubs. Duncan also played basketball at Kankakee Community College and for one season for the Alcorn State Braves.

In 1979, he participated in the Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox, where he was among the first 100 people to run onto the field and he slid into third base. During the ensuing riot his silver belt buckle was stolen while he was stealing a baseball bat from the dugout.


Duncan took security jobs while in Los Angeles while trying to get some acting work in commercials. During this time, he worked as a bodyguard for celebrities like Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, and The Notorious B.I.G., all the while doing bit parts in television and films. When rapper Notorious B.I.G. was killed in 1997, Duncan quit the personal-protection business.

After having begun his career with several bit parts playing bouncers in films such as Bulworth and A Night at the Roxbury, Duncan first came to prominence when he was cast as Bear in the blockbuster Michael Bay action film Armageddon (1998). During the production of the film, Duncan struck up a friendship with castmate Bruce Willis and it was Willis’ influence that helped him to get his breakout role as gentle giant John Coffey in the Frank Darabont film The Green Mile (1999). Starring alongside Tom Hanks, Duncan’s performance netted him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.

Following his role as Coffey, Duncan was then cast in a string of films that helped to establish him as an actor in both action and comedy roles: The Whole Nine Yards (2000), See Spot Run (2001), Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002), and Daredevil (2003), in the last of which he played The Kingpin from Marvel Comics.

When Duncan was cast as the Kingpin in 2002, he faced the dual challenge of portraying a typically white character and having to gain 40 pounds (18 kg) to fit the character’s large physique. In July 2006, Duncan showed interest in returning for the role of the Kingpin, but stated that he would not be willing to regain the weight that he had lost. In 2009, he stopped eating meat and later appeared in a PETA ad campaign, touting the health benefits and his increased strength from a vegetarian diet.

In 2005, Duncan appeared in two action films, The Island and Sin City, in which he played Manute, a powerful mobster. Critic Roger Ebert singled out Duncan for praise for his role in The Island, writing that “[Duncan] has only three or four scenes, but they’re of central importance, and he brings true horror to them.” Duncan appeared in a supporting role in the 2006 comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby as Lucius Washington and, in 2009, Duncan played Balrog in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and starred as the titular Cleon “Slammin'” Salmon in Broken Lizard’s farce The Slammin’ Salmon.

Famous for his deep, resonant voice, Duncan also did voice roles for films such as Brother Bear (2003) and its sequel Brother Bear 2 (2006), Kung Fu Panda (2008), and Green Lantern (2011) playing the voice of Kilowog from DC Comics alongside Ryan Reynolds.

His other voice roles include’ TV series such as Loonatics Unleashed and Operation: Z.E.R.O., Quiznos commercials, and a number of video games such as Demon Stone, SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs, The Suffering: Ties That Bind, Saints Row, Soldier of Fortune, and God of War II, where he provided the voice of the Titan Atlas. He additionally reprised his role as the Kingpin in Spider-Man: The New Animated Series.

In addition to his film roles, Duncan also guest starred in numerous television shows. Among these, he appeared in an episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and a first-season episode of CSI: NY. In 2008, he appeared as “Mr. Colt” in the second-season premiere of Chuck, “Chuck Versus the First Date” and as a guest star on two episodes of Two and a Half Men. Most notably, in April 2011, Duncan guest starred on an episode of TV series Bones as Leo Knox which, in 2012, led to Duncan receiving his first starring role as the same character in the spinoff series The Finder. The Bones Season 8 episode “The Partners in the Divorce”, which aired three weeks after his death, was dedicated to him.

During the week of May 14, 2012, Duncan appeared as a guest on the late night talk show The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson when the show was taping for a week in Scotland. Duncan was one of the show’s most frequent guests, appearing a total of 18 times, and, the day after Duncan’s death in September, Ferguson began his show with a tribute to him. In January 2013 during The Late Late Show’s winter break, reruns of the Scotland episodes were broadcast with a tribute to Duncan at the beginning of each of the five episodes, featuring Duncan on a pink background and the text “In memory of our friend Michael Clarke Duncan.”

Personal life

At the time of his death, Duncan was dating reality television personality Omarosa Manigault. His family later claimed that Omarosa changed his will and testament. They also claimed Omarosa manipulated Duncan in his final days, lied about their engagement, and sold his belongings without the family’s knowledge. In 2013, Manigault appeared in the cast of The All-Star Celebrity Apprentice and played in Duncan’s honor for his favorite charity and one he had benefited from himself, the Sue Duncan Children’s Center. In episode 2 of the season, Manigault won $40,000 for the charity.


Duncan was taken to Cedars Sinai Medical Center after suffering a heart attack on July 13, 2012. By August 6, he was moved from the intensive-care unit but remained hospitalized. On September 3, Duncan died in Los Angeles from complications of the heart attack; he was 54.

On September 10, 2012, a private funeral was held for Duncan in Los Angeles. He was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Friday Craps Player Debut Film
1997 Back in Business Huge Guard N/A
1998 Caught Up B.B. N/A
1998 The Players Club Bodyguard Credited as Big Mike Duncan
1998 Bulworth Bouncer Credited as Michael “Big Mike” Duncan
1998 Armageddon ‘Bear’ N/A
1998 A Night at the Roxbury Roxbury Bouncer Credited as Michael “Big Mike” Duncan
1999 The Underground Comedy Movie Gay Virgin N/A
1999 Breakfast of Champions Eli Credited as Michael Duncan
1999 The Green Mile John Coffey Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2000 The Whole Nine Yards Franklin ‘Frankie Figs’ Figueroa N/A
2001 See Spot Run Murdoch N/A
2001 Cats & Dogs Sam Voice
2001 Planet of the Apes Attar N/A
2002 The Scorpion King Balthazar N/A
2003 Daredevil Wilson Fisk / The Kingpin N/A
2003 George of the Jungle 2 Mean Lion Voice only
2003 Brother Bear Tug Voice
2003 Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time Future Wade Voice
2004 D.E.B.S. Mr. Phipps N/A
2004 George and the Dragon Tarik N/A
2004 Pursued Franklin N/A
2005 Racing Stripes Clydesdale Voice
2005 Sin City Manute N/A
2005 The Golden Blaze Thomas Tatum / Quake Voice
2005 Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone Stinktooth Voice
2005 The Island Starkweather Two Delta / Jamal Starkweather N/A
2005 Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story The Stork Voice
2005 The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses Big Daddy Voice
2006 Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Lucius Washington N/A
2006 Brother Bear 2 Tug Voice
2006 School for Scoundrels Lesher N/A
2006 One Way The General N/A
2006 Air Buddies Wolf Voice
2007 The Last Mimzy Nathanial Broadman N/A
2007 Slipstream Mort / Phil Henderson / Patrolman N/A
2008 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins Otis N/A
2008 Delgo Elder Marley Voice
2008 Kung Fu Panda Commander Vachir Voice
2008 American Crude Spinks N/A
2009 The Slammin’ Salmon Cleon Salmon N/A
2009 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li Balrog / M. Bison (Japan) N/A
2010 Redemption Road Augy N/A
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Sam Voice
2011 Cross Erlik Direct-to-video
2011 A Crush on You Jim ‘Big Jim’ Nelson TV movie
2011 Green Lantern Kilowog Voice
2011 Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit Slash Voice
Posthumous release; English dub released in September 2013
2012 In the Hive Mr. Hollis Posthumous release
2013 A Resurrection Addison Posthumous release
2013 From the Rough Roger Posthumous release
2015 The Challenger Duane Taylor Posthumous release; Final film role


Year Title Role Notes
1995 The Bold and the Beautiful ‘Slash’ 2 episodes
1995 Renegade ‘Shake’ Episode: “Living Legend”
1995 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ‘Tiny’ Episode: “Bourgie Sings the Blues”
1995 Married… with Children Bouncer Episode: “Flight of the Bumblebee”
1996 Skwids Body Builder N/A
1996 Weird Science Cardinal Carnage Episode: “Men in Tights”
1997 The Jamie Foxx Show Inmate Episode: “Little Red Corvette”
1997 Sparks Frank Episode: “Self Defense”
1997 The Wayans Bros. Mike ‘Big Mike’ Episode: “I Do…”
1997 Living Single Security Guard Episode: “High Anxiety”
1997 Built to Last Unknown Episode: “A Family Affair”
1998 Arliss Lucian Balboa Episode: “Fans First”
1999 Sister, Sister Earl ‘Big Earl’ Episode: “Before There Was Hip Hop…”
2001 They Call Me Sirr Coach Griffin Television film
2002 King of the Hill Coach Webb Episode: “The Son Also Roses”
2003-2005 The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Commander Baker Voice
Episode: “Operation: Rescue Jet Fusion” and “My Big Fat Spy Wedding”
2003 Spider-Man: The New Animated Series The Kingpin / Wilson Fisk Voice
Episode: “Royal Scam” and “Keeping Secrets”
2003 The Proud Family Mongo Voice
Episode: “Smackmania 6: Mongo vs. Mama’s Boy”
2004 Static Shock Rashid ‘The Rocket’ Randall Voice
Episode: “Linked”
2004 The Fairly OddParents Rockwell Voice
Episode: “Crash Nebula”
2004 George Lopez Dr. Holland Episode: “George to the Third Power”
2005–2007 Loonatics Unleashed Massive Voice
4 episodes
2005 Teen Titans Hayden / Krall Voice
Episode: “Cyborg the Barbarian”
2005 CSI: NY Quinn Sullivan Episode: “The Closer”
2006-2012 Family Guy Black Co-Worker / Boy On Mushrooms / Wrong-Sounding Fozzie Bear / The Stork 4 episodes
2006 Minoriteam Balactus Episode: “Balactus: Part 1” and “Balaztus: Part 2”
2008–2009 Two and a Half Men Jerome Episode: “The Two Finger Rule” and “The Mooch at the Boo”
2008 The Suite Life of Zack & Cody Coach Little Episode: “Benchwarmers”
2008 Chuck Colt Episode: “Chuck Versus the First Date”
2011 Bones Leo Knox Episode: “The Finder”
2012 The Finder Leo Knox 13 episodes
2012 The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange Chunkee Cheeses / Marshmallow King Voice
2 Episodes
2013 Ultimate Spider-Man Groot Voice
Episode: “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Posthumous release
2013 Fish Hooks Guardian Cat Voice
Episode: Labor of Love”
Posthumous release

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Varuna’s Forces Carl Tomas Unreleased title for 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Atari Jaguar CD, Dreamcast, PC, PlayStation and Sega Saturn
1995 Panic in the Park Security Guard N/A
2000 Star Trek: Klingon Academy Opening Movie Klingons N/A
2000 Soldier of Fortune ‘Hawk’ N/A
2003 SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs SEAL Operative WARDOG Credited as Michael Clark Duncan
2003 Brother Bear Tug N/A
2004 Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone Slaad Lord Ygorl N/A
2005 The Suffering: Ties That Bind Blackmore N/A
2006 Saints Row Benjamin King N/A
2007 God of War II Atlas N/A
2013 Saints Row IV Unknown Credited as Benjamin King in the game’s credits in memoriam to him, Duncan was set to reprise his role as King in IV, with some voice work already done for the game before his death. During the game’s credits, the song “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie is played as all the cast members sing along, the song fades out with Duncan’s track. He was replaced by Terry Crews.

Music videos

Year Artist Title Role Notes
1994 Quo “Huh What” featuring Redman (rapper)
1995 Quo “Quo Funk”
1995 R. Kelly featuring The Isley Brothers “Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)” Security Guard Cameo appearance

External Links

Actor Michael Clarke Duncan – Wikipedia

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