L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Michael Clarke Duncan died of natural causes after heart troubles

Michael Clarke Duncan in "The Green Mile"

"Green Mile" actor Michael Clarke Duncan died of natural causes and a doctor has signed his death certificate, officials said.

Duncan, 54, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a statement from his publicist, Joy Fehily. He had suffered a heart attack in July and did not recover.

Craig Harvey of the coroner's office said Tuesday that there was nothing to suggest officials need to review the case. Officials noted Duncan had heart problems and was under medical care.

PHOTOS: Michael Clarke Duncan | 1957-2012

In such cases, it is normal for the doctor to sign the death certificate without any review by the coroner.

A former ditch digger for a natural gas company in his native Chicago, Duncan began his Hollywood saga as a celebrity bodyguard in the mid-1990s, according to his Times obituary. He received his first big acting break playing a member of the drilling team sent into space to blow up an asteroid heading to Earth in the big-budget 1998 movie "Armageddon," starring Bruce Willis.

PHOTOS: Notable deaths of 2012

But it was "The Green Mile," starring Tom Hanks as a death row prison guard in a Louisiana penitentiary during the Depression, that thrust the 6-foot-5, 300-plus-pound Duncan into the limelight. He portrayed John Coffey, a gentle giant with supernatural powers who has been sentenced to death for the murder of two young white girls.

"There was something about him that I just couldn't ignore," writer-director Frank Darabont said of Duncan in a 2000 Daily Variety interview. "After his first reading, he kept haunting me. Given that he was a fairly inexperienced actor at that point, obviously there was a concern about 'Gee, how would this guy do?'

"But once we put him on film, it became apparent that he was up to the task."

Duncan was born Dec. 10, 1957, and grew up on Chicago's South Side. His father left the family when he was 6, and he and his sister were raised by their mother, who steered him clear of gangs, drugs and alcohol.

Growing up, he harbored dreams of becoming an actor.

"Of course, people told me, 'Mikey, you will never be an actor. You don't have the look. You're ugly,'" he recalled in a 2003 Chicago Sun-Times interview.

Besides his mother, Jean, and his sister, Judith, he is survived by his fiancee, actress Omarosa Manigault.

ALSO:

Franciscan manzanita added to U.S. endangered list

Cause of Southern California forest fire still a mystery

Inmate-guard sex presumed to be harassment, court says

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Michael Clarke Duncan. Credit: Warner Bros.

 
Comments () | Archives (0)

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.

Categories




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: