Michael Clarke Duncan
Duncan in 2009
Born(1957-12-10)December 10, 1957
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedSeptember 3, 2012(2012-09-03) (aged 54)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, California, U.S.
  • Actor
  • comedian
Years active1994–2012
PartnerOmarosa (2010–2012)

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, and for playing Kingpin in Daredevil and Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (both 2003). He also appeared in movies such as Armageddon (1998), The Whole Nine Yards (2000), Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002), Sin City (2005), and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), as well as in the role of Leo Knox in the television series Bones (2011) and its spin-off The Finder (2012). He also had voice roles in films, including Brother Bear (2003), Kung Fu Panda (2008), and Green Lantern (2011); he had the voice role of Benjamin King in the video game Saints Row (2006).

Early life

Duncan was born in Chicago and raised in a single-parent household with his sister Judy by his mother Jean Duncan (a house cleaner) after his father left.[1][2] When he was younger, he wanted to play football, and tried out for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL), but decided to become an actor instead when his mother refused to let him play, fearing he would get injured.[3] He always wanted to act, but had to drop out of the communication program at Alcorn State University to support his family when his mother became ill.[4]

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.[5] Duncan also played basketball at Kankakee Community College and for one season for the Alcorn State Braves.[6]

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[7] while he was stealing a baseball bat from the dugout.[8]


Duncan took various security jobs in Los Angeles while trying to get some acting and modelling 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.[9]

After having begun his career with several bit parts playing bouncers in films such as Bulworth and A Night at the Roxbury, Duncan 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 became friends with castmate Bruce Willis, and it was Willis's influence that helped him to get his breakout role as gentle giant John Coffey in the Frank Darabont film The Green Mile (1999).[10] Starring with 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.[11][12]

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), and in the latter movie, he played Kingpin.

When Duncan was cast as the Kingpin in 2002,[13] he faced the dual challenge of portraying a typically white character[14][15] 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.[16] 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.[17][18]

In 2005, Duncan appeared in The Island and Sin City, in which he played Manute, a powerful mobster. Critic Roger Ebert praised Duncan for his performance 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."[19] Duncan appeared in a supporting role in the 2006 comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby as Lucius Washington, and in 2009, he 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.

With his deep, resonant voice, Duncan 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.

Duncan in 2009

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 guest-starred in numerous television shows. Two included an episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and a first-season episode of CSI: NY.[20] In 2008, he appeared as Mr. Colt in the second-season premiere of Chuck, "Chuck Versus the First Date"[21] 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's 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 more 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’s photo 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.[22] His family later claimed that Omarosa changed his will and testament.[23][24] They also claimed that Omarosa manipulated Duncan in his final days, lied about their engagement, and sold his belongings without the family's knowledge.[25][26] 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 two of the season, Manigault won $40,000 for the charity.[27]

Duncan trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California, and held a purple belt in the discipline.[28]


Crypt of Duncan at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills

Duncan was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after suffering a heart attack on July 13, 2012.[29] By August 6, 2012, he had been moved from the intensive care unit but remained hospitalized.[30] On September 3, 2012, Duncan died in the hospital of respiratory failure. He was 54 years old.[31]

On September 10, 2012, a private funeral was held for Duncan in Los Angeles. Tom Hanks, who co-starred with him in The Green Mile was among the attendees at the memorial service.[32][33]He was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.[34]



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Friday Craps Player (uncredited)
1997 Back in Business Huge Guard
1998 Caught Up B.B.
The Players Club Bodyguard Credited as Big Mike Duncan
Bulworth Bouncer Credited as Michael "Big Mike" Duncan
Armageddon 'Bear'
A Night at the Roxbury Roxbury Bouncer Credited as Michael "Big Mike" Duncan
1999 The Underground Comedy Movie Gay Virgin
Breakfast of Champions Eli Credited as Michael Duncan
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
2001 See Spot Run Murdoch
Cats & Dogs[35] Sam Voice
Planet of the Apes Attar
2002 The Scorpion King Balthazar
2003 Daredevil Wilson Fisk / Kingpin
George of the Jungle 2[35] Mean Lion Voice, direct-to-video
Brother Bear[35] Tug Voice
Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time Future Wade
2004 D.E.B.S. Mr. Phipps
George and the Dragon Tarik
Pursued Franklin
2005 Racing Stripes[35] Clydesdale Voice
Sin City Manute
The Golden Blaze Thomas Tatum / Quake
Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone[35] Stinktooth Voice, direct-to-video
The Island Starkweather Two Delta / Jamal Starkweather
Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story The Stork Voice, direct-to-video
The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses[35] Big Daddy
2006 Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Lucius Washington
Brother Bear 2[35] Tug Voice, direct-to-video
School for Scoundrels Lesher
One Way The General
Air Buddies[35] Wolf Voice
2007 The Last Mimzy Nathanial Broadman
Slipstream Mort / Phil Henderson / Patrolman
2008 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins Otis
Delgo[35] Elder Marley Voice
Kung Fu Panda[35] Commander Vachir
American Crude Spinks
2009 The Slammin' Salmon Cleon Salmon
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li Balrog / M. Bison (Japan)
2010 Redemption Road Augy
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore[35] Sam Voice
2011 Cross Erlik Direct-to-video
A Crush on You Jim 'Big Jim' Nelson TV movie
Green Lantern[35] Kilowog Voice
Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit[35] Slash Voice
Posthumous release; English dub released in September 2013
2012 In the Hive Mr. Hollis Posthumous release
2013 A Resurrection Addison
From the Rough Roger
2015 The Challenger Duane Taylor Posthumous release; final film role


Year Title Role Notes
1995 The Bold and the Beautiful Slash 2 episodes
Renegade Shake Episode: "Living Legend"
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Tiny Episode: "Bourgie Sings the Blues"
Married... with Children Bouncer Episode: "Flight of the Bumblebee"
1996 Skwids Body Builder
Weird Science Cardinal Carnage Episode: "Men in Tights"
1997 The Jamie Foxx Show Inmate Episode: "Little Red Corvette"
Sparks Frank Episode: "Self Defense"
The Wayans Bros. Mike 'Big Mike' Episode: "I Do..."
Living Single Security Guard Episode: "High Anxiety"
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 TV movie
2002 King of the Hill Coach Webb Episode: "The Son Also Roses"
2003–2005 The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius[35] Commander Baker Voice, 2 episodes
2003 Spider-Man: The New Animated Series Wilson Fisk / Kingpin Voice, episode: "Royal Scam"
The Proud Family Mongo Voice, episode: "Smackmania 6: Mongo vs. Mama's Boy"
2004 Static Shock[35] Rashid 'The Rocket' Randall Voice, episode: "Linked"
The Fairly OddParents[35] Rockwell Voice, episode: "Crash Nebula"
George Lopez Dr. Holland Episode: "George to the Third Power"
2005–2007 Loonatics Unleashed[35] Massive Voice, 4 episodes
2005 Teen Titans[35] Hayden / Krall Voice, episode: "Cyborg the Barbarian"
CSI: NY Quinn Sullivan Episode: "The Closer"
2006–2012 Family Guy Black Co-Worker / Boy On Mushrooms / Wrong-Sounding Fozzie Bear / The Stork Voice, 4 episodes
2006 Minoriteam Balactus Episode: "Balactus: Part 1" and "Balaztus: Part 2"
2008–2009 Two and a Half Men Jerome Burnette Episodes: "The Mooch at the Boo", "The Two Finger Rule"
2008 The Suite Life of Zack & Cody Coach Little Episode: "Benchwarmers"
Chuck Colt Episode: "Chuck Versus the First Date"
2011 Bones Leo Knox Episode: "The Finder"
2012 The Finder Leo Knox 13 episodes
The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange[35] Chunkee Cheeses / Marshmallow King Voice, 2 episodes
2013 Ultimate Spider-Man[35] Groot Voice, episode: "Guardians of the Galaxy"
Posthumous release; dedicated in memory
Fish Hooks[35] 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
Panic in the Park Security Guard
2000 Star Trek: Klingon Academy Opening Movie Klingons
Soldier of Fortune 'Hawk'
2003 SOCOM II U.S. Navy SEALs SEAL Operative WARDOG Credited as Michael Clark Duncan
Brother Bear Tug
2004 Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone Slaad Lord Ygorl
2005 The Suffering: Ties That Bind[35] Torque\Blackmore
2006 Saints Row[35] Benjamin King
2007 God of War II[35] Atlas
2013 Saints Row IV[35] Benjamin King Credited as Benjamin King in the game's credits in memoriam to him

Music videos

Music video work by Michael Clarke Duncan
Year Artist Title Role Notes
1994 Quo featuring Redman "Huh What"
1995 Quo "Quo Funk"
R. Kelly featuring The Isley Brothers "Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)" Security Guard Cameo


  1. ^ Allen, Jamie (December 10, 1999). "'Green Mile''s giant has taken massive strides". CNN. Archived from the original on September 11, 2010. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  2. ^ "[Article]". USA Weekend.[dead link]
  3. ^ Dobuzinskis, Alex (September 3, 2012). "Green Mile actor Michael Clarke Duncan dies at 54". www.reuters.com. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  4. ^ Chappell, Bill (September 3, 2012). "Green Mile actor Michael Clarke Duncan dies at 54". www.npr.org. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  5. ^ Beale, Lewis (December 16, 2009). "Michael Clarke Duncan gets funny in 'Slammin' Salmon'". Newsday. Melville, New York – via Newspaper Source Plus.
  6. ^ "Former Alcorn hoops coach remembers actor Michael Clarke Duncan". CBS Sports.
  7. ^ Zwecker, Bill (September 28, 2006). "Love may have bloomed again on set for 'Garden State' star". Chicago Sun-Times.
  8. ^ Caldarelli, Adam (May 20, 2006). "From the Cubicle". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  9. ^ "Michael Clarke Duncan, 54, Remembered as Actor and Bodyguard". The Rockland County Times. September 6, 2012.
  10. ^ "The Green Mile actor Michael Clarke Duncan dies age 54". Daily Telegraph. September 4, 2012. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on January 11, 2022. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  11. ^ "'Green Mile''s giant has taken massive strides". CNN. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2007.
  12. ^ Awards for The Green Mile at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (January 9, 2002). "Duncan takes on Daredevil". Variety. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  14. ^ Daniel Robert Epstein. "Michael Clarke Duncan Interview". UGO. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  15. ^ Downey, Ryan J. (February 6, 2003). "Ben Affleck Dares to Dream Daredevil". MTV. Retrieved February 21, 2008.
  16. ^ Chavez, Kellvin (July 6, 2006). "Duncan Not in Transformers But Talks Daredevil 2!". LatinoReview.com. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
  17. ^ "Green Mile Star Joins Veggie Campaign" Archived May 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, KSHB.com, May 12, 2012.
  18. ^ "Michael Clarke Duncan". Daily Telegraph. London. September 4, 2012. Archived from the original on January 11, 2022. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  19. ^ Ebert, Roger (2005). "The Island", Chicago Sun Times, July 22, 2005, accessed September 13, 2012
  20. ^ The Closer at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  21. ^ "NBC's 'Chuck': Good-natured, not much adult appeal September 29, 2008". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  22. ^ "Michael Clarke Duncan's fiancee 'devastated' by his death". Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  23. ^ "Michael Clarke Duncan's Family -- We Want Omarosa Investigated". TMZ. EHM Productions, Inc. August 4, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  24. ^ Thompson, Arienne (April 8, 2013). "Michael Clarke Duncan's family suspicious of Omarosa". USA Today. Gannett. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  25. ^ Zimmerman, Amy (September 18, 2018). "Omarosa 'Manipulated' Actor Michael Clarke Duncan in His Final Days, Say Family and Friends". The Daily Beast. New York City: IAC. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  26. ^ Ritzen, Stacey (September 10, 2018). "Michael Clarke Duncan's Family And Close Friends Accuse Omarosa Of Faking Her Engagement to the Late Actor". Uproxx. Culver City, California: Uproxx Media Group. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  27. ^ "'All-Star Celebrity Apprentice': Omarosa Gets Emotional Over Chance To Honor Late Fiance Michael Clarke Duncan (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. March 11, 2013.
  28. ^ "Green Mile Star Michael Clarke Duncan dies". www.martialartsentertainment.com. September 5, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  29. ^ Saad, Nardine (July 13, 2012). "'Green Mile' actor Michael Clarke Duncan in ICU after heart attack". Los Angeles Times.
  30. ^ "ACTOR MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN REMAINS HOSPITALIZED". Associated Press. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  31. ^ "Michael Clarke Duncan, Actor, Dies at 54". New York Times. September 3, 2012.
  32. ^ "Watch Tom Hanks Deliver a Very Entertaining Eulogy at Michael Clarke Duncan's Memorial Service".
  33. ^ "Tom Hanks Gave an Amazing Eulogy At Michael Clarke Duncan's Funeral".
  34. ^ "Michael Clarke Duncan dead at 54: 'Green Mile' actor dies nearly two months after suffering heart attack". Daily News. New York. Associated Press. September 3, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Michael Clarke Duncan – 31 Character Images". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved October 15, 2019.