Duncan, a Chicago native, rose to fame playing a hulking inmate with a special psychic gift opposite Tom Hanks in the movie, adapted from the novel by Stephen King, he even received an Academy Award nomination for his moving portrayal of the gentle death row inmate in the film.
According to the Internet Movie Database, his mother refused to let him play high school football, so he turned devoted his energy to acting. After high school, Duncan played basketball at Kankakee Community College before moving to Hollywood to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor.
Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing roughly 315 pounds, Duncan initially parlayed his considerable size into a career as a Hollywood security guard, working for the likes of Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J and the rapper Notorious B.I.G.
Of his affinity for the role of the doomed John Coffey, Duncan told The Times in a 2000 interview:
“I identified with John Coffey in the fact that we both had troubled times, we are both big, and by looking at us, you would be fearful of your life if you met us in a dark alley.”
According to the LATimes, Duncan appeared in several television series including “Bones,” “Chuck” and “Two and a Half Men.” He also lent his voice to such animated movie and TV projects as “Family Guy” and the movie “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.”
Most recently, Clarke had been involved in a romantic relationship with reality TV star the Omarosa Manigault, who got her start in reality tv after appearing on NBC’s “The Apprentice.”
Omarosa’s role sparked a dating spin-off where she strung along Al B. Sure and up & coming singer Ray Lavender as the final contenders, however she decided not to chose a mate during the show and it was soon revealed that she’d been dating Duncan all along.
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“[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.”
TMZ reports that Omarosa was with him in his hospital room in Los Angeles and left for a short period of time. When she returned … he had died. Her mother was with him when he passed away.
R.I.P. Michael Clarke Duncan
(December 10, 1957 – September 3, 2012)