There have been many heartfelt and touching tributes flooding the internet in remembrance of actor Michael Clarke Duncan, who sadly passed away on Monday. Many have been from fans who watched his performances from afar; others have been from the people who worked with him, such as Bruce Willis, and Michael Bay.
Recurring co-star Willis said: ”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.”
Bay, according to CinemaBlend, took to his own website to share his thoughts and memories, first recalling how Duncan, who had at this point snagged some roles in film and television most often as a nameless bouncer, was spotted at a gym, and how he wept for joy at the opportunity to audition for Armageddon. Bay said he’d won the role of the burly Bear before he left the room.
However, Bay remembered how surrounded by big stars and huge expectations, Duncan struggled on set the first day. Rather than recasting the role, Bay took on the role of adviser, suggesting he should be “the sweet Mr Clarke Duncan I met in that room,” assuring, “the audience is going to fall in love with you”.
Of course, Bay was right. After his first day jitters, Duncan went on to perform admirably amid the star-stuffed cast, as Bay recalls: “Everyone loved him, his infectious spirit and great belly laugh.”
He went on to say this:
“It was a great time I will always remember, how proud I was to watch him grow into an actor. Watching him study all the guys from Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck to Steve Buscemi, and Owen Wilson. When he said in the movie he “wanted to stay in the White House for the summer” he killed it. In his N.A.S.A. evaluation I told him to cry like a baby. He looked at me with his macho Duncan eyes and said “Mike I can’t do that” I said “yes you can” and it became the biggest laugh in the movie.
I’m really sad to lose him. Rest in peace buddy.
After Armageddon, Duncan went on to stun and move audiences the following year in The Green Mile, which put him in an Oscar race against such seasoned actors as Tom Cruise (Magnolia) and Michael Caine, who won for The Cider House Rules. From there Duncan built up his name and became a “welcomed presence” in various action-adventures, but also displayed an impeccable comedic talent in humorous films like The Whole Nine Yards and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. It goes without saying, he will be greatly missed.
The coroner’s report confirmed Duncan died of natural causes, after suffering a severe heart attack a few weeks back. He was 54-years-old.
What’s your favourite Michael Clarke Duncan movie?