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. Clarke died this morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for a heart attack, said his fiancée, reality TV personality Rev. Omarosa Manigault.
Born in Chicago in 1957, Duncan was raised by a single mother whose resistance to his playing football led to his deciding he wanted to become an actor. By his mid-20s, he was in Los Angeles, where he looked for acting parts and became a bodyguard for Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, and other stars. The murder of rapper Notorious BIG, for whom Duncan had been hired to protect before switching assignments, led him to quit his job and pursue acting full-time.