Sad news from the world of nerdery as this long weekend comes to a close as it’s being reported tonight that actor Michael Clarke Duncan has died at the age of 54.
At 6’5″ and 300-pounds, Duncan was an unlikely movie star. He worked security for the likes of Will Smith and Jamie Foxx, and consequently had small roles on their shows (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Jamie Foxx Show respectively). After several turns playing an inmate or bouncer, Duncan got his big break in 1998 as one of the gang in the killer asteroid film Armageddon. The next year Duncan’s star rose further when he was cast as John Coffey in Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Green Mile, for which Duncan won an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Over the next 14 years, Duncan stayed incredibly busy, appearing in many films that appealed to the nerdy at heart. Films including: Planet of the Apes, The Scorpion King, Sin City and The Island. He was also cast as The Kingpin in Daredevil, which, despite the outcome of that movie, was a brazen and unexpected choice given the character’s origin as a white man. Duncan was also an accomplished voice actor for movies, TV and video games, including the Kung Fu Panda movies and last year’s Green Lantern. Most recently, Duncan was one of the main characters on the FOX series The Finder, a spin-off of Bones.
Actor Duncan’s death this morning in a Los Angeles hospital, followed weeks of after a July 13 heart attack that put him in intensive care. Although Duncan had since left intensive care, he was never again well enough to be discharged from the hospital. Duncan is survived by his fiance, The Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault.
The thoughts and prayers of nerds everywhere, and the Nerd Bastards’ as well, go out to Duncan’s friends and families tonight.