We’ve seen Michael Clark Duncan in a ton of movies since he began his career. Sadly, he passed away on September 3, 2012 from a heart attack in Los Angeles at the age of 54. To commemorate his fantastic film career, I would like to take a look back at his best roles.
Who could forget his role as Bear in the apocalyptic thriller Armageddon? In the film, NASA discovers that an asteroid will impact earth and bring about the end of the world. The world’s only hope of stopping the meteor is a group of misfit drillers, including Bear. This movie was not only heart-warming and action packed, it’s filled with witty taglines and a great soundtrack. Bear (played by Duncan) is a valuable part of the team that must train in a short amount of time before venturing the asteroid to drill and hopefully plant a bomb that will destroy it before it hits the earth. Bear is one of the only survivors at the end and gets to return to earth. This is just one of his many films that proves he was an actor that could take on any role handed to him.
Perhaps his most memorable and extraordinary role was John Coffey in the film The Green Mile. In the film, he’s charged with the rape and murder of 2 children. Convicted of murder, he’s taken to death row where he poses a moral dilemma for the guards at the penitentiary. It’s not only clear that he probably didn’t commit the crimes, but, that he posses an extraordinary gift. Duncan works with Tom Hanks in this film, who plays the role of the head guard. Over time, he sees Coffey’s supernatural gift in action and builds a relationship with him during the time he spends in prison. This film is tear-jerker that couldn’t possibly be forgotten, filled with heart-warming scenes and great dialogue, further proving the amazing acting skills of Duncan.
In The Scorpion King, Duncan takes on the role of Balthazar, a tribal leader who is involved in the uprising against the tyranny of the current leader of their nation. He’s a ferocious warrior who has his own moral standings but eventually joins the Rock’s character in his battle against the evil, corrupt king. This film is packed with action and Duncan is never far from it. There are fights at every turn and the moral fiber of the characters’ are constantly being tested in this fantasy thriller.
One of his more comedic roles was the character of Otis in the comedy Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins, starring the hilarious Martin Lawrence. He plays one of Lawrence’s older brothers, a large man who has given his younger brother hell for most of his life. This movie is filled with tons of laughs and shows the dynamic acting abilities of the late Duncan.
He played one of the strongest characters in Planet of the Apes (2001). Attar, the lead gorilla warrior under the orders of General Thade, is involved in many battles in this film and the character couldn’t have been portrayed better by any other actor. With his deep, commanding voice and large, muscular features, he nails the role with perfection.
He took on another comedic role in the laugh-out-loud comedy Tallagdega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, where plays Lucius Washington. He’s one of Ricky Bobby’s pit crew and has a collection of hilarious lines and phrases throughout the film.
In addition to those roles, Michael Clark Duncan has also been the voice for many memorable characters. It’s hard to miss his strong, deep, demanding voice, making him perfect for the voices of strong characters. He was the voice of Sam in the movie Cats & Dogs, Tug in Brother Bear & Brother Bear 2, Rockwell in the TV movie Crash Nebula, Cydesdale in Racing Stripes, Elder Marley in Delgo, Commander Vachir in Kung Fu Panda, Kilowog in The Green Lantern and Slash in The Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit.
Duncan has always been a favored guest character on many different television series. Some of his most memorable appearances include roles on the following series: Bones, Two and Half Men, Chuck, Family Guy, CSI: NY, Teen Titans and Static Shock.
Michael Clark Duncan was an amazing actor who gave us tons of memorable roles over the course of his film career. He was raised by his single mother in Chicago where he had dreamed of becoming a famous actor. There is no denying that his dream did in fact come true. Over his career he had received an Academy Award Nomination as well as many other awards and nominations including a critical acclaim. His memory will live on through his family and fans and the incredible roles he’s played will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace Michael Clark Duncan, you will never be forgotten.