LOS ANGELES – Michael Clarke Duncan, the hulking, prolific character actor whose dozens of films included an Oscar-nominated performance as a death row inmate in The Green Mile and such other box office hits as Armageddon, Planet of the Apes and Kung Fu Panda, is dead at age 54.
Duncan died Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for a heart attack, said his fiancée, reality TV personality Omarosa Manigault, in a statement released by publicist Joy Fehily.
The muscular, 6-foot-4 Duncan, a former bodyguard who turned to acting in his 30s, suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered, the statement said. 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.
In the spring of 2012, Clarke had appeared in a video for PETA, the animal rights organization, in which he spoke of how much better he felt since becoming a vegetarian three years earlier.
Duncan had a handful of minor roles before The Green Mile brought him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. The 1999 film, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, starred Tom Hanks as a corrections officer at a penitentiary in the 1930s. Duncan played John Coffey, a convicted murderer with a surprisingly gentle demeanor and extraordinary healing powers.
His industrial-sized build was suited for everything from superhero films (Daredevil) to comedy (Talledega Nights. His gravelly baritone alone was good enough for several animated movies, including Kung Fu Panda, Delgo and Brother Bear.