- 10:24 AM, Nov 18
Persistently worked his way in the film industry from a very small role, Michael Clarke Duncan probably is one good example of the rags-to-riches story in Hollywood who has overcome all the barriers to proudly emerge as a hugely respected actor of his generation. Raised solely by his mother, Jean Duncan, since the departure of his father, Michael was born on December 10, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up with an initial interest in sports, particularly football that later led him to an intention to jump deeper in this branch of sports during his high school year. Not approving the idea, his mother thus encouraged him to be an actor instead, yet the thought of becoming so was never seriously considered by the boy at that time. Fate then began interfering when he dropped his study of communications at Mississippi's Alcorn State University to support his family after his mother had fallen ill. Through his night work as a bouncer at different clubs in his hometown, the big guy unexpectedly was offered security job for a traveling theater company which eventually brought him to Los Angeles.
Decided to use the chance to give acting a try, Michael subsequently embarked on a journey to look for any performing parts from one audition to another and managed to earn brief one-time appearances in a handful of popular TV series like "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (1995), "Weird Science" (1996), plus "Living Single" (1997). Things delightfully started to run in better direction for him when he was able to gain a supporting role in box-office hit "Armageddon" (1998) which not only brought him to larger public attention but also introduced him to Bruce Willis whom he established more than good relationship with. This turned out to play an important part in Michael's next step as it was under Willis' recommendation that he later was given chance by director Frank Darabont to audition for the role of John Coffey in his 1999 film feature of "The Green Mile." Without much difficulty, he successfully convinced the filmmaker to entrust the part in his hand and so, joyously found himself billed alongside Tom Hanks, David Morse, Sam Rockwell, also James Cromwell altogether.