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Monday, September 3, 2012

Michael Clarke Duncan Dies, 54




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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 Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for a heart attack, said his fiance, reality TV personality Rev. Omarosa Manigault, in a statement released by publicist Joy Fehily.

The muscular, 6-foot-4 (1.96 meter) Duncan, a former bodyguard who turned to acting in his 30s, "suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered," the statement said. "Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time. Celebrations of his life, both private and public, will be announced at a later date."

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. But when his mother became ill, he dropped out of college, Alcorn State University, and worked as a ditch digger and bouncer to support her. 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 B.I.G., for whom Duncan had been hired to protect before switching assignments, led him to quit his job and pursue acting full-time.


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