Michael Clarke Duncan, Star of The Green Mile, Dead at 54

His fiancee, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, released a statement saying Duncan passed away Monday morning

By Joal Ryan Sep 03, 2012 10:19 PMTags
Michael Clarke DuncanEthan Miller/WireImage.com

Oscar-nominated actor Michael Clarke Duncan has died some two months after suffering a heart attack. The Green Mile star was 54.

A representative for Duncan's fiancée, reality-TV personality Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, said in a statement that Duncan has passed away on Monday in Los Angeles.

Duncan "never fully recovered" from his July 13 heart attack, the rep told E! News. "Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time." 

Duncan believed in miracles, as anyone would who went from ditch-digging to the Academy Awards.

The hulking, prolific actor earned a career-changing Oscar nomination for The Green Mile. Duncan's other films included Daredevil, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, the Mark Wahlberg Planet of the Apes remake and Armageddon.

Duncan credited his Armageddon oil-rig boss, Bruce Willis, with whom he would go on to work with in Sin City, Breakfast of Champions and The Whole Nine Yards, for recommending him to Green Mile director Frank Darabont

Duncan was taken out of intensive care in August

"I knew the minute [the screen test] was over that I nailed it," Duncan once said of his big big-screen break.

The 6-foot-5-inch, 300-pound star's rich, distinctive bass was heard in a host of animated movies and cartoons, including the Cats & Dogs franchise, Family Guy and even the (mostly) live-action Green Lantern. In the latter, Duncan voiced Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern Corps' CGI drill sergeant, Kilowog.

Born Dec. 10, 1957, in Chicago, Duncan dug ditches for a utility company until a tip from a friend led him to a gig as a bodyguard for a touring stage play. When the production landed in Los Angeles, Duncan stayed, and pursued acting for himself. His ability to stand out in--or, frankly, above--the crowd got him roles, although up until Armageddon, it got him roles as either a bodyguard (The Players Club) or a bouncer (A Night at the Roxbury). 

In The Green Mile, Duncan, not long removed from his manual-labor days, found himself starring opposite Tom Hanks, and earning raves as a kindly, mystical convicted child killer, a performance that critic Roger Ebert called a work of "both acting and being."  

"I do believe that miracles happen," Duncan said at the time

Duncan lost on Oscar night to The Cider House RulesMichael Caine, but went on to beefy roles as the gorilla army commander in Planet of the Apes, the pit-crew chief in Will Ferrell's Talladega Nights and the famed Marvel Comics villain Kingpin in Ben Affleck's Daredevil.  

Since 2010, Duncan was romantically linked to reality-star Manigault-Stallworth (The Apprentice). In her statement on Monday, Manigault-Stallworth's rep said that "celebrations of his life, both private and public, will be announced at a later date."