Michael Clarke Duncan died yesterday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was recovering from a heart suffered on July 13 of this year.

 

Born on December 10, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois, the actor was forty-two years old when he played John Coffey in "The Green Mile," long thought to be his "breakout" role and for which he was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.  His lent his hugely warm voice to animated roles, including "Brother Bear," "Kung Fu Panda," and "Racing Stripes."

Before he got paying jobs as an actor, Duncan took other jobs, including as a ditch digger. His six-foot-four frame lent itself well to working as a bodyguard for actors such as Will Smith and Jamie Foxx.  He decided to pursue acting full-time when the rapper Notorius B.I.G., for whom he had once been hired to protect, was killed.  He has said that his initial interest in acting came from the fact that his mom would not let him play football.

Duncan's publicist, Joy Fehily, issued a statement that his girlfriend, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, known best for her role on "The Apprentice," would soon announce memorial services and planned celebrations of Duncan's life.

David Livingston, Getty Images