Hollywood is in mourning following the death of “The Green Mile” actor Michael Clarke Duncan on Monday (Sept. 3) two months after the 54-year-old suffered a heart attack.
“Michael Duncan was a great actor, a great human being, and he was my very dear friend. I will miss Big Mike in a Big Way,” his “Armageddon” co-star Bruce Willis tells E! News.
The film’s director Michael Bay writes on his website, “I’m really bummed at losing such a great guy … I gave him his first big movie role in Armageddon as Bear. We found him in a gym. He cried at the first audition because he was so proud to audition for a ‘Michael [Bay] and Jerry [Bruckheimer] movie,’ he just wanted to make his mom proud. We gave him the role in the room. … Everyone loved him, his infectious spirit and great belly laugh.”
“The Green Mile” co-star Tom Hanks says in a statement, “I am terribly saddened at the loss of Big Mike. He was the treasure we all discovered on the set of The Green Mile. He was magic. He was a big love of man and his passing leaves us stunned.”
Martin Lawrence’s memories of Duncan predate Big Mike’s days as an actor. Before he stepped in front of the camera, Duncan was apparently a private security guard in Hollywood, working for stars like Will Smith, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx and Christopher Wallace (aka Biggie Smalls).
Lawrence tells TMZ, “From the days of him doing security on the ‘Martin’ show, to us working together on ‘Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins,’ I enjoyed working with him. He will be missed.”