Oscar-nominated actor Michael Clarke Duncan has died today at age 54. His fiancee Omarosa Stallworth and various news sources report that the actor suffered a heart attack on July 13 and never fully recovered.
The imposing actor got his start in Hollywood working as a bodyguard for high profile actors and musicians. He eventually began booking bit parts in television and film and his big break came when he was offered the role of Bear in the Bruce Willis disaster film Armageddon.
Duncan grabbed the attention of audiences and critics alike in 1999, when he starred with Tom Hanks in The Green Mile as an inmate with mystical powers (a role that earned him a well-deserved Oscar nomination). Since then, he has appeared in a number of high profile films including Planet of the Apes, The Island and most recently, Green Lantern.
At 6’5″, the larger than life actor made a huge impact in genre films. His tall frame and deep booming voice made him instantly recognizable, but his screen presence was what made people really pay attention to him. He also worked frequently in animated features, lending his distinctive baritone to films such as Brother Bear, Racing Stripes, Kung Fu Panda and many others.
In recent years, he served as a spokesperson for PETA, as well as the American Stroke Association, raising awareness of stroke symptoms and proper treatment.
Michael Clarke Duncan was a significant presence in Hollywood and he will certainly be missed. Details for memorial services will be released in the next few days but in the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.