Oscar-nominated actor Michael Clarke Duncan, the star of Frank Darabont’s prison tale “The Green Mile,” has died. He was 54.
The Chicago native rose to fame playing a hulking death row inmate with a special psychic gift in the 1999 film, adapted from the novel by Stephen King. The role, which cast him opposite Tom Hanks, earned him Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.
Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing roughly 315 pounds, Duncan parlayed his considerable size into a career as a Hollywood security guard, working for the likes of Will Smith and the rapper Notorious B.I.G. His first significant movie role came in 1998’s “Armageddon” with Bruce Willis; Willis later helped the fledgling actor land the “Green Mile” gig.
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.”
He had appeared on television series including “Bones,” “Chuck” and “Two and a Half Men” and lent his voice to such animated movie and TV projects as “Family Guy” and the movie “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.”
Clarke had been in a romantic relationship with reality TV star the Rev. Omarosa Manigault, best known for her time on NBC’s competition series “The Apprentice.” The two often frequented red carpet events together, including Perez Hilton’s recent 34th birthday bash and more high-profile movie premieres, like “The Green Hornet.”
He suffered a myocardial infarction July 13 and never fully recovered.
Publicist Joy Fehily released a statement from Manigault, who was engaged to Duncan, saying the 54-year-old actor died Monday morning in a Los Angeles hospital after nearly two months of treatment.