Quoted: Michael Clarke Duncan (1957-2012) On Achieving His Dream

A Chicago native, Duncan went to college at Alcorn State University in Mississippi with plans to major in communications, but he dropped out and moved home.

In his 20s, he worked digging ditches for Peoples Gas during the day and as a bouncer at night. He told CNN in 1999 that his coworkers at the gas company called him “Hollywood” because he’d often talk about becoming a movie star.

“I’d be digging a ditch and they’d say, ‘Hey, man, Bruce Willis wants to talk to you about a movie.’ And they’d just crack up laughing,” he said while doing press for ‘The Green Mile.’ Those coworkers had no way of knowing how that joke would turn on them.”

  • http://bikesandthecity.com/ meligrosa

    what a beautiful man, not too long ago I caught a rerun of ‘the finder’ TVseries, and he just looked so happy. RIP

  • Elton

    Michael Clarke Duncan was one of the rare people who showed that you can come from anywhere to achieve your dream. Unlike most “big guy” actors (I’m looking at you, Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and The Rock), he always transcended the stereotype of simply being physical and dumb. The guy could really, really act. He could match ability with Tom Hanks in a drama, then play the straight man to Will Ferrell in a comedy.

    I’ll always remember his breakout roles in The Green Mile and Armageddon, his imposing (and race-bending) Kingpin in Daredevil, his distinct voice in Kung Fu Panda and other animations, and his hilarious role in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
    In interviews and other off-set appearances, he always appeared genuinely happy and grateful to be a Hollywood actor. Like Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, and others, he had insane amounts of potential and his best roles were ahead of him.
    He reportedly switched to a vegan diet a few years ago and lost a lot of weight. I can’t help but wonder why he died so suddenly and so young.

  • Anonymous

    “but he dropped out and moved home” I’m very disappointed that CNN left it at that, since other outlets have a more complete story – he dropped out to take care of his very sick mother. I’m saddened by the loss of such a talented actor, but also of someone who from all accounts was a very kind, gentle man.