En Memoriam: Michael Clark Duncan (1957-2012)


Monday, September 3, 2012. This year’s Labor Day started like any other Labor
Day…full of happiness, sunshine, and a day of festivity with family or friends
to look forward to.  Sadly today though, for Hollywood, the rest of the entertainment
world and us movie and comic book lore fans, we lost a “giant”, literally and
figuratively, in the industry.  Yes, we are talking about the amazing character
actor Michael Clark Duncan.  A great performer known for his versatility for
playing the big man with a heart of gold, to a dark and foreboding bully,
serving for either goodness or villainy.  We at Comic Book Therapy proudly take
a look back at the life and  career of this actor and feature some of his
memorable moments in film.

Michael Clark Duncan was born on December 10, 1957 in Chicago Illinois and grew
up in a single parent household, with mother Jean Duncan and his Judy following
leave of his father.  A desire to take up acting, he took up studying
Communication at Alcorn State University.  He eventually dropped out in lieu of
supporting the family after his mother fell ill.  From digging ditches for gas main
lines, to fronting as a bouncer at several Chicago area clubs, he eventually
made his way working security jobs in Los Angeles while looking for work in
commercials.  During then, he moved to front as bodyguard for several noted
stars and celebrities such as Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, and
others.  In 1997, after the death of one of his clients, Notorious B.I.G., Duncan
decided to get out of the bodyguard business.

Duncan’s memorable Green Mile moments:

In 1998, he went on to be cast as Bear in Michael Bay’s meteor judgement day
adventure,  Armageddon.  While there, he and fellow actor Bruce Willis became
friends and Willis’s influence made way for him to take the breakthrough role of
his career, that of John Coffey in 1999’s The Green Mile.  The Green Mile proved
a major stepping stone for Duncan as of which he received a nomination for both
an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

Duncan and his role as Kingpin Wilson Fisk in Daredevil

From there, the sudden success opened doors for Duncan in many areas that tapped
his talents in stature, voice, and personality, making him one of the most
sought after character actors in Film.  He went on to star in films such as The
Whole Nine Yards, Planet of the Apes, and as Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin in the 2003
Daredevil movie.  Other credits include voice work on TV’s Spider-Man: The New
Animated Series, and in animated films, such as Brother Bear and Brother Bear 2,
voice roles in such popular action video games as SOCOM  II: US Navy SEALs, and
Soldier of Fortune, and finally as the voice of Kilowog for the Green Lantern
movie in 2011.

Duncan and his talk on Kilowog in Green Lantern

Sadly,on July 13, 2012, Duncan was sent to the hospital after suffering from a
heart attack.  He was pulled from intensive care around August 6th, but remain
hospitalized.  Tragically as of September 3, 2012, Duncan died that morning from
complications of a myocardial infarction from which he never fully recovered. He
was 54, about three months short of his 55th birthday.

Heartfelt words from Duncan to Tom Hanks (at Hanks’s AFI Salute) for his actor mentoring in The Green Mile

Michael Clark Duncan is and will always remembered fondly by fans and moviegoers
for his gentle giant to comically brooding bully personas and his unimistakable
voice which could go from dark and intimidating to kind and friendly as the role
called for it.  His amazing breadth of work the last 15 years shows it.  Rest In
Peace Mr. Duncan, and we thank you for all your great performances…

MCD as Kingpin Wilson Fisk RIP Big guy

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