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Actor Michael Clarke Duncan is seen in this undated file photo. - Provided courtesy of KABC

Michael Clarke Duncan dies: 'Green Mile' actor was 54

Get more: Celeb Lives
09/03/2012 by Corinne Heller

Michael Clarke Duncan has died at age 54, more than a month after the actor was hospitalized for a heart attack.

His spokesperson announced the news on Monday, September 3.

"Michael Clarke Duncan passed away this morning in Los Angeles," the rep quoted Clarke's fiance, Reverend Omarosa Manigault, as saying. "The Oscar-nominated actor suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered. 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."

Manigault had on July 13 found Duncan in a state of cardiac arrest. She then performed CPR and resuscitated him. He was then transported to a Los Angeles hospital.

Duncan and Stallworth, who has appeared twice on Donald Trump's NBC series "The Apprentice," first confirmed their relationship in September 2010. The reality TV "villain" met Duncan in the produce section of a Whole Foods grocery store.

Duncan, a Chicago native known for his booming voice and towering figure, made his breakout performance in the 1999 film "The Green Mile." He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the 1930s-era film, which saw him play a man wrongfully imprisoned for murder, who also has supernatural healing powers. He lost to Michael Caine for "The Cider House Rules."

Duncan's performance also earned him the nickname the "Gentle Giant" from fans and film critics. Tom Hanks co-starred with Duncan in "The Green Mile" as a Death Row prison guard.

"I am terribly saddened at the loss of Big Mike," Hanks said in a statement to OTRC.com. "He was the treasure we all discovered on the set of 'The Green Mile'. He was magic. He was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned."

Before he began acting in the 1990s, Duncan had worked as security guard for the national touring company of the play ''Beauty Shop, Part 2." When the company reached Los Angeles, Duncan decided to stay in the city and checked into a cheap hotel in Hollywood, The New York Times reported.

''I was eating Chicken McNuggets every night,'' he told the newspaper in a 1999 interview. ''I couldn't get a job. I didn't know anybody. There were these big cockroaches on the wall every night and, after a while, I started talking to them. I was a little worried that I might be going crazy.''

He later found other jobs as a security guard and worked for comedy actors Martin Lawrence, LL Cool J, Will Smith and Jamie Foxx, The New York Times said. Duncan soon obtained an acting agent, who helped him land small parts on Smith's "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "The Jamie Foxx Show." He was later cast on other shows, such as "Married With Children" and "Living Single," usually playing the part of a security guard or bouncer.

He later played Bear, a member of Bruce Willis' character's drilling crew in the 1998 blockbuster ''Armageddon.'' Duncan told The New York Times it was Willis who helped him land his role in "The Green Mile." He had obtained a copy of the script and called the movie's director to put in a good word for Duncan.

"Bruce told me about the part and said that if I was interested, he would call the director, Frank Darabont, and tell him about me, but that from then on it was up to me. I told him, yes, of course, but I didn't know if he'd really do it.''

In addition to "The Green Mile," Duncan has also appeared in films like "The Whole Nine Yards," "Planet of the Apes," "The Scorpion King" and "Sin City." His last movie was the action movie "The Challenger." He also starred in "In The Hive," a drama film starring Loretta Devine and Vivica A. Fox.

Check out other celebrity reactions to Michael Clarke Duncan's death.

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