Sad News – Actor Michael Clarke Duncan is Dead at 54
If you’re like my wife, the name Michael Clarke Duncan may not mean much…but when you see that smile and hear that voice you know who I’m talking about. Michael Clarke Duncan has passed away from a heart attack at age 54.
My first thought was “Dang, I just saw Duncan yesterday while I was watching Armageddon on Spike TV.” He played Bear, a fitting nickname for his character. I’m really sad to hear that he died. I don’t usually give much thought to actors/celebrities that pass away. But this one bummed me out.
Duncan has been in a bunch of movies, and has had a bunch of memorable characters, but I will always remember him in the film that probably launched his career the most…The Green Mile. Duncan played John Coffey, a gentle giant of a man who was wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death in the electric chair. But there was much more to Duncan’s character. He had a “gift”. I won’t say more in case you haven’t seen the movie. And if that’s the case, you need to see The Green Mile.
That movie provided me with a really memorable movie theater experiences. I saw it at the former Stadium 16 theater with my wife (we were just dating at the time). I remember the theater was absolutely packed…like no empty seats kinda packed. I remember it was stormy and raining really hard. At one point there was a leak in the roof above our theater, which sucks when almost every seat was taken. Now let me just say that the climax of the movie is pretty emotional (again, I won’t spoil it). I’ll be honest, the movie made me cry…and I remember at this really tense, emotional moment, the movie got kinda quiet and you could hear the entire audience weeping. It was almost like everyone was in sync. The sound of so many people collectively emoting at the exact same time is something that I remember 13 years later.
Duncan went on to star in many more films and lent his unmistakable voice to even more projects. Below is the trailer for The Green Mile, plus a great clip featuring Duncan from Talladega Nights.