Michael Clarke Duncan was born on December 10, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. Raised by his single mother, Jean, a house cleaner, on Chicago's South Side, Duncan grew up resisting drugs and alcohol, instead concentrating on school. He wanted to play football in high school, but his mother wouldn't let him, afraid that he would get hurt. He then turned to acting, dreaming of becoming a famous actor.
After graduating from high school and attending community college, he worked digging ditches at People's Gas Company in Chicago. When he quit his job and headed to Hollywood, he landed small roles while working as a bodyguard. Duncan's role in the movie Armageddon - Das jüngste Gericht (1998) led to his breakthrough performance in The Green Mile (1999), when his Armageddon co-star Bruce Willis called director Frank Darabont , suggesting Duncan for the part of convict John Coffey. He landed the role, getting critical acclaim as well as many other Awards and Nominations, including an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
After suffering a heart attack on July 13, 2012, he was taken to a Los Angeles hospital in which his girlfriend Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth tried to save his life with CPR. Unfortunately, on September 3, 2012, Michael Clarke Duncan died at age 54 from respiratory failure.