We all loved him in the “The Green Mile” and it seems that the warmth and integrity of his screen character was in fact his own.
Michael Duncan – with his gorgeous, deep voice and imposing presence of 6’5” – was born in Chicago. He dreamt of a career in football but was not allowed to pursue it by his mother. Unfazed by drugs and crime that surrounded him, he focused on education instead. Michael graduated from high school and went to a community college, all along dreaming of becoming an actor. The dream came true but neither fast, nor easily. To get to where he wanted to be, he had to dig ditches for a Chicago gas company for a while and earn a living as a bouncer and a bodyguard.
His acting career’s begun about 1995 with bit roles. In 1998 he played a small role in “Armageddon”. This role – or perhaps the connections he made during the filming of “Armageddon” – led to his role and breakthrough performance in “The Green Mile” (1999). At this time Big Mike was 42. His career continued successfully ever since. He was recognized for his acting talent as well his sense of humor: it’s been said that he would pay $5 to any fan that recognized him on the street and knew his full name.
On February 12th of 2012 he proposed to Omarosa Manigault and the two were planning a wedding in Africa. Omarosa distinguished herself as a less than sympathetic character on The Apprentice, but it was Omarosa who found Michael unconscious following a heart attack, was able to resuscitate him and summon help. She was at his bedside throughout his ordeal. Unfortunately, and in spite the doctors’ prognosis, Michael didn’t recover from his heart attack. Big Mike died – from complications following the original heart attack – on September 3rd 2012 at the age of 54. His fiancé, Omarosa Manigault, his many friends and fans will miss him.
Michael Duncan fulfilled his dreams. He made it as an actor, earned fame and found love, in the end that’s all that counts.