Following the sad news of Michael Clarke Duncan’s sudden death, Hollywood stars and fans alike are remembering some of their favorite things about the actor’s legendary career.
From his Oscar-nominated performance in Frank Darabont’s The Green Mile, to his iconic towering figure and booming voice, it will be a long, long time before anyone forgets the actor. His legacy has forever earned a special place in all of our hearts.
But, like anyone as humble and reserved as this actor, there are bound to be things that you never knew about the man and his unforgettable roles.
In honor of the impact that he has left on us all, here are five things that you may or may not know about Michael Clarke Duncan…
Bruce Willis: The Die Hard actor co-starred with the 54-year-old actor in a number of films, including the 1998 smash-hit Armageddon as crewmates on the space mission that would go on to save the planet Earth from doom. Bruce Willis played captain Harry Stamper and Duncan added heart as Bear… But Willis was also the one who recommended his co-star to director Darabont for the part of John Coffey in Green Mile, which would go on to define his career.
Animal Lover: Along with always landing in the lovable big man roles, Michael had plenty of love to go around off screen too. The actor reportedly owned five cats and a chinchilla named “Chucky.”
Bodyguarding: Before he was one of their colleagues, Michael made the rounds working as a bodyguard for big names like Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, and The Notorious B.I.G. When B.I.G. – then commonly known as Biggie Smalls – was shot and killed ’97, Michael was assigned to protect the rapper, but swapped jobs with another guard. The stress of Biggie’s death caused Duncan to quit bodyguarding and pursue a career in acting instead.
Football: Unsurprisingly so, the actor’s massive stature lent itself to quite a career in football. Growing up in Chicago, his mother urged him not to play in high school for fear he would get hurt. But, in the 1980s, before acting was an option, Duncan tried out for the Chicago Bears as a linebacker.
$5 Philanthropist Prior to his death, Duncan reportedly gave anyone who spotted and recognized him on the street a crisp $5 bill. In order to earn the cash, passersby would have to correctly recite his full name.