Michael Clarke Duncan (December 10, 1957 – September 3, 2012) was an American actor, 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 various similar honors. He also appeared in motion pictures such as Armageddon (1998), The Whole Nine Yards (2000), The Scorpion King (2002), Daredevil (2003) and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006). His voice can be heard in films such as Brother Bear (2003), Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Green Lantern (2011).

Early life

Duncan was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in a single-parent household with his sister, Judy, and mother, Jean Duncan (a house cleaner), after his father left. He always wanted to act, but had to drop out of the Communications program at Alcorn State University to support his family when his mother became ill. Duncan's large frame—6 feet 5 inches (196 cm) and 315 pounds (143 kg)—helped him in his jobs digging ditches for the People's Gas Company and being a bouncer at several Chicago clubs. Duncan also played basketball at Kankakee Community College and for one season at Alcorn State.

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 while he was stealing a baseball bat from the dugout.


Duncan took other security jobs while in Los Angeles while trying to get some acting 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.

After having begun his career with several bit parts playing bouncers in films such as Bulworth and A Night at the Roxbury, Duncan first 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 struck up a friendship with castmate Bruce Willis and it was Willis' influence that helped him to get his breakout role as gentle giant John Coffey in the Frank Darabont film The Green Mile (1999). Starring alongside Tom Hanks, Duncan's acclaimed 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.

Following his iconic dramatic turn as Coffey, Duncan was then cast in a string of films that helped to establish him as a star adept at both action and comedy: The Whole Nine Yards (2000), See Spot Run (2001), Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002) (where he starred alongside his friend, The Rock), and Daredevil (2003) (reuniting him with Armageddon co-star Ben Affleck) as Wilson Fisk, aka The Kingpin from Marvel Comics.

When Duncan was cast as the Kingpin in 2002, he faced the dual challenge of portraying a typically white character and having to gain 40 pounds 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. 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.

In 2005, Duncan appeared in two prominent action films, The Island (his second Michael Bay Film) and Sin City (again alongside Bruce Willis) where he played Manute, a powerful mobster. Critic Roger Ebert singled out Duncan for praise for his role 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." Duncan appeared in a supporting role in the 2006 comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby as Lucius Washington and, in 2009, Duncan 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.

Famous for his deep, resonant voice, Duncan also did speaking-only roles for films such as Brother Bear (2003) and its sequel, Brother Bear 2, Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Green Lantern (2011) playing the voice of Kilowog from DC Comics alongside Ryan Reynolds.

His other voice acting roles include' TV series such as Loonatics Unleased 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 also guest starred in numerous television shows. Among these, he appeared in an episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and a first-season episode of CSI: NY. In 2008, he appeared as "Mr. Colt" in the second-season premiere of Chuck, "Chuck Versus the First Date" 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 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 most 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 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 engaged to reality television personality Omarosa Manigault.

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 2 of the season, Manigault won $40,000 for the charity.


On July 13, 2012, Duncan was taken to Cedars Sinai Medical Center after suffering a heart attack. Media reports suggested that his girlfriend, Omarosa Manigault, had tried to save his life by performing CPR. Duncan's publicist, Joy Fehily, issued a statement on August 6 that read he was moved from the intensive-care unit but remained hospitalized following his heart attack. On September 3, Duncan died in Los Angeles. Celebrations of Duncan's life were scheduled for a later date.



1995FridayCraps PlayerUncredited
1997Back in BusinessHuge GuardN/A
1998Caught UpBBN/A
1998The Players ClubBodyguardCredited as Big Mike Duncan
1998BulworthBouncerCredited as Michael 'Big Mike' Duncan
1998A Night at the RoxburyRoxbury BouncerCredited as Michael 'Big Mike' Duncan
1999The Underground Comedy MovieGay VirginN/A
1999Breakfast of ChampionsEliCredited as Michael Duncan
1999The Green MileJohn CoffeyBroadcast 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
2000The Whole Nine YardsFranklin 'Frankie Figs' FigueroaN/A
2001See Spot RunMurdochN/A
2001Cats & DogsSamVoice only
2001Planet of the ApesAttarN/A
2002The Scorpion KingBalthazarN/A
2003DaredevilWilson Fisk/The KingpinN/A
2003George of the Jungle 2Mean LionVoice only
2003Brother BearTugVoice only
2003Kim Possible: A Stitch in TimeFuture WadeVoice only
2004D.E.B.S.Mr. PhippsN/A
2004George and the DragonTarikN/A
2005Racing StripesClydesdaleVoice only
2005Sin CityManuteN/A
2005The Golden BlazeThomas Tatum/QuakeVoice only
2005Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby SunstoneStinktoothVoice only
2005The IslandStarkweather Two Delta/Jamal StarkweatherN/A
2005Stewie Griffin: The Untold StoryThe StorkVoice only
2005The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the TinysaurusesBig DaddyVoice only
2006Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky BobbyLucius WashingtonN/A
2006Brother Bear 2TugVoice only
2006School for ScoundrelsLesherN/A
2006One WayThe GeneralN/A
2006Air BuddiesWolfVoice only
2007The Last MimzyNathanial BroadmanN/A
2007SlipstreamMort/Phil Henderson/PatrolmanN/A
2008Welcome Home Roscoe JenkinsOtisN/A
2008DelgoElder MarleyVoice only
2008Kung Fu PandaCommander VachirVoice only
2008American CrudeSpinksN/A
2009The Slammin' SalmonCleon SalmonN/A
2009Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-LiBalrog/M. Bison (Japan)N/A
2010Redemption RoadAugyN/A
2010Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreSamVoice only
2011A Crush on YouBig Jim NelsonN/A
2011Legend of Kung Fu RabbitSlashVoice only
2011Green LanternKilowogVoice only
2012From the RoughRogerReleased in 2014
2012In the HiveMr. HollisN/A
2013A ResurrectionAddisonReleased seven months after Duncan's death
2015The ChallengerDuaneDuncan's last performance in a film


1995RenegadeShakeEpisode: "Living Legend"
1995The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirTinyEpisode: "Bourgie Sings the Blues"
1995Married... with ChildrenBouncerEpisode: "Flight of the Bumblebee"
1996SkwidsBody BuilderN/A
1996Weird ScienceCardinal CarnageEpisode: "Men in Tights"
1997The Jamie Foxx ShowInmateEpisode: "Little Red Corvette"
1997SparksFrankEpisode: "Self Defense"
1997The Wayans Bros.Big MikeEpisode: "I Do..."
1997Living SingleSecurity GuardEpisode: "High Anxiety"
1997Built to LastN/AEpisode: "A Family Affair"
1998ArlissLucian BalboaEpisode: "Fans First"
1999Sister, SisterBig EarlEpisode: "Before There Was Hip Hop..."
2001They Call Me SirrCoach GriffinTelevision film
2002King of the HillCoach WebbEpisode: "The Son Also Roses"
2003, 2005The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy GeniusCommander BakerVoice only
Episode: "My Big Fat Spy Wedding" and "Operation: Rescue Jet Fusion"
2003Spider-Man: The New Animated SeriesThe Kingpin / Wilson FiskVoice only
Episode: "Royal Scam" and "Keeping Secrets"
2003The Proud FamilyMongoVoice only
Episode: "Smackmania 6: Mongo vs. Mama's Boy"
2004Static ShockRashid 'The Rocket' RandallVoice only
Episode: "Linked"
2004The Fairly OddParentsRockwellVoice only
Episode: "Crash Nebula"
2004George LopezDr. HollandEpisode: "George to the Third Power"
2005–2007Loonatics UnleashedMassive4 episodes
2005Teen TitansHayden/KrallVoice only
Episode: "Cyborg the Barbarian"
2005CSI: NYQuinn SullivanEpisode: "The Closer"
2006–2007, 2012Family GuyBlack Co-Worker/Boy on Mushrooms/Fozzie Bear4 episodes
2006MinoriteamBalactusEpisode: "Balactus: Part 1" and "Balaztus: Part 2"
2008–2009Two and a Half MenJeromeEpisode: "The Two Finger Rule" and "The Mooch at the Boo"
2008The Suite Life of Zack & CodyCoach LittleEpisode: "Benchwarmers"
2008ChuckColtEpisode: "Chuck Versus the First Date"
2011BonesLeo KnoxEpisode: "The Finder"
2012The FinderLeo Knox13 episodes
2012The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying OrangeMarshmallow KingVoice only
Episode: "Marshmalia"
2012Ultimate Spider-ManGrootVoice only

Video games

1995Panic in the ParkSecurity GuardN/A
2000Star Trek: Klingon AcademyOpening Movie KlingonsN/A
2000Soldier of FortuneHawkN/A
2003SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALsSEAL Operative WARDOGCredited as Michael Clark Duncan
2004Forgotten Realms: Demon StoneSlaad Lord YgorlN/A
2005The Suffering: Ties That BindBlackmoreN/A
2006Saints RowBenjamin KingN/A
2007God of War IIAtlasN/A
2013Saints Row IVN/ACredited as Benjamin King in the game's credits in memoriam to him, Duncan was set to reprise his role as King in IV, with some voice work already done for the game before his death. During the game's credits, the song "Just a Friend" by Biz Markie is played as all the cast members sing along, the song fades out with Duncan's track. He was replaced by Terry Crews.

Music videos

1995R. Kelly featuring The Isley Brothers"Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)"Security GuardCameo appearance