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5 Things About Michael Clarke Duncan You May Not Know

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Hollywood sits in shock today as one of its own passes suddenly after indications were he was recovering. 

Michael Clarke Duncan is gone too soon, at the age of 54, and many will remember him with love and affection.

SoJO salutes this Oscar nominee, and presents some things about him that you may not have known.

Duncan was recovering from a massive heart attack he suffered about two months ago. He was out of the ICU just a few weeks ago, but still in the hospital recovering.

Tom Hanks has led a parade of Hollywood celebrities taking to Twitter in the last 12 hours or so to share their feelings for the endearing big man.  “He was the treasure we all discovered on the set of The Green Mile,” Hanks tweeted of Michael’s Oscar Nominated performance.  “He was magic.  He was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned.”

Hanks leads a parade from Tinseltown to tweet their love for Duncan – ranging from “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson (“I will miss you my brother”), to former Idol runner-up Katherine McPhee (“I loved you!  The Green Mile was epic”), to Steve Harvey (“I will miss my friend.  What an incredible soldier in God’s Plan.”), and Timbaland (just to name only a few of the hundreds of tweets that have happened).

Looking at the life and career of Michael Clarke Duncan, it seemed that good things were about to happen again for him.  Here are 5 things you may not have know about Duncan:


1) He was a bodyguard early in his career

At 6’5″, weighing around 310-320 pounds, it should not shock you too much that Duncan was hired to work for likes of Jamie Foxx and Will Smith.  He was also hired as a bodyguard for “The Notorious B.I.G”.  Duncan was suppose to work for “Biggie” (Christopher Wallace) the night he was murdered in L.A. in 1997 but swapped the assignment with a friend and quit security within hours of Wallace’s death.

Ironically when Duncan took on acting, he was getting small roles playing mainly personal bodyguards.


2) His nickname was “Big Mike”
Big Mike was his handle as a bodyguard and with his size that nickname stuck.  He was credited in many of his early film and TV projects as either Big Mike Duncan or Michael “Big Mike” Duncan.  The Green Mile changed all that, and his full birth name was how he would be forever known, but most everyone in Hollywood still called him Big Mike.

3) Duncan‘s “Big Break” was actually Armageddon
The 1998 mega-hit made over $550 Million worldwide, and many got their first look at Duncan.  The Green Mile made Duncan a star, and went on to be in significant hit movies like The Whole Nine Yards (about $110 Million worldwide), The Planets of The Apes (over $360 Million), The Scorpion King (about $165 Million), Daredevil ($180 Million), Sin City (about $160 Million), and Talladega Nights: …. Ricky Bobby (over $160 Million).
Little known fact about Duncan’s career is that his first time on the big screen was in 1995 in the “Cult Classic” flick Friday, where he was a craps player (but was not credited in the film).

4) Duncan’s voice was a huge selling point in his career
His big, bass driven voice proved to work well in many animated projects like Kung Fu Panda (as Commander Vacir), Brother Bear and Brother Bear 2 (as Tug), Cats & Dogs (as Sam), plus  many voice-over projects for Major League Baseball.

5) His finance’ saved him a couple of months ago
Word had came out that Omarosa Manigault performed CPR on Duncan when she found him unresponsive the morning he entered the hospital seven weeks ago.  This is the same Omarosa who became a reality TV star thanks to The Appentice.  She was first seen with Duncan back in February, and stood by his side throughout the last seven weeks at the hospital as he tried to recover.
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One last look at the talented Duncan should come before the year’s end, getting the chance to work with the groundbreaking writer/producer/director Robert Townsend.  This is Townsend’s first big screen project in about a decade, and the drama looks like it will find an audience.
RIP “Big Mike” – you will be missed!

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