R.I.P MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN – ICONIC STAR OF THE EQUALLY ICONIC 1999 FILM – THE GREEN MILE

R.I.P MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN … A BRILLIANT ACTOR 

WE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL HAVE LONG FEATURED THE GREEN MILE AS PART OF OUR  FAVOURITE PRISON AND PENAL SYSTEM BASED FILMS , WHICH ALSO INCLUDE McVICAR, SCUM , SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, ALCATRAZ AND HOUSE OF WHIPCORD (WHICH WAS FILMED HERE AT THE JAIL )

THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF VARIOUS SIGNED ITEMS RELATING TO ALL OF THE ABOVE HERE ON DISPLAY IN AMONGST OUR TRUE CRIME COLLECTIONS HERE

Michael Clarke Duncan, right

Michael Clarke Duncan, right, as John Coffey, with Tom Hanks, centre, in The Green Mile. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/Warner Bros

Every character actor who has ever been typecast dreams of a role that will transcend the cliches of his image. For Michael Clarke Duncan, who has died aged 54 of complications from a heart attack suffered in July, that breakout role also drew on the hidden truth of his own personality, and the results were spectacular.

Duncan was nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor in The Green Mile (1999), the film of the Stephen King story in which he plays John Coffey, a gentle giant with extraordinary powers, on death row for raping and killing two young girls. The film’s climax, when Coffey, innocent of the crimes but having punished the real killer and an evil guard, goes to the electric chair telling Tom Hanks not to put a hood over his head because he is scared of the dark, left few dry eyes in any audience.

Born in Chicago, Duncan, 6ft 5in and usually weighing about 20 stone, was himself a gentle giant. His father left when he was six, and his mother Jean’s reluctance to allow him to play American football led to his deciding he wanted to become an actor instead.

He played basketball at Kankakee (Illinois) Community College, but when his mother became ill, he dropped out of his communications studies atAlcorn State University, a historically black university in Mississippi. After returning home, he supported his mother and sister, Judy, by digging ditches for a gas company and working as a bouncer at night.

He moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting, again working as a bouncer before getting into the “private security” trade. He had acted as a bodyguard for such entertainment figures as Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx and LL Cool J before breaking into films in 1995 with a bit part in the Ice Cube vehicle Friday. His early film roles, including Warren Beatty’s Bulworth (1998), saw him typecast as bouncers and bodyguards, often billed as Michael “Big Mike” Duncan. He gave up his day job as a real bodyguard for good in 1997, when the rapper The Notorious BIG was murdered on the first day Duncan was assigned to him.

Duncan’s break came following a part in Armageddon (1998) alongside Bruce Willis, who recommended him to director Frank Darabont for The Green Mile. He went on to work with Willis in three more films: two comedies – Alan Rudolph’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions (1999) and The Whole Nine Yards (2000) – and the noirish blockbuster Sin City (2005).

Although he never found another role with the impact of John Coffey, Duncan remained in demand with substantial parts in blockbusters such as Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002) and perhaps his best later work as The Kingpin, in Daredevil (2003). To play the comic-book villain he went from weighing less than 20 stone to more than 23.

His career blossomed, as his look made him easily cast for supporting roles in films and frequent guest parts in television series, and his resonant baritone voice made him a popular choice for animation voice-overs, in films such as Cats & Dogs (2001), George of the Jungle 2 (2003), Dinotopia (2005) and Kung Fu Panda (2008). He starred in the comedy The Slammin’ Salmon (2009), as a boxer turned restaurant-owner who stages a competition between his waiters to pay off a debt to Japanese gangsters, and was the villain, Erlik, in the straight-to-video Cross (2011), a supernatural action film that also featured Vinnie Jones as a Viking named Gunnar transplanted to the present.

In 2010 Duncan undertook something of a reprise of his Coffey role in Redemption Road, as a man with a secret who brings home an alcoholic for his father’s funeral. His last television role was a recurring part in the crime series Finder.

In 2009 Duncan converted to vegetarianism. The following year, he met his fiancee, the Rev Omarosa Manigault, in the aisles of a Whole Foods supermarket in Los Angeles. Manigault, a considerable presence in “reality” television, made her name as a controversial participant in the American version of The Apprentice with Donald Trump, and feuded with Piers Morgan in The Celebrity Apprentice.

In May this year, Duncan made a film for the animal-rights group Peta, talking about his conversion to a vegan lifestyle, and how he had thrown away $5,000 worth of meat when he did. Two months later, he suffered a massive heart attack.

He is survived by his mother, sister and fiancee.

• Michael Clarke Duncan, actor, born 10 December 1957; died 3 September 201

SHE DIED TOO YOUNG…… THE TRAGIC DEATH OF THE BEAUTIFUL SUPERSTAR- WHITNEY HOUSTON AT THE AGE OF ONLY 48

LOS ANGELES — Coroners on Sunday completed their autopsy on the body of singer Whitney Houston and confirmed that she was found in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills hotel room, but said the cause of death would not be determined until more lab tests were completed.

Ed Winter, assistant chief coroner for Los Angeles County, revealed little about the autopsy at a news conference, but said medical examiners found no visible signs of trauma or foul play.

He declined to comment on various media reports that Houston, 48, had drowned in her hotel bathtub, possibly after succumbing to drugs or alcohol. He added, “I’m not going to comment on any of the meds or prescriptions that were obtained.”

“I’d just comment that she was found in the bathtub. … I believe somebody removed her from the bathtub and the paramedics did CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on her.”

He said toxicology tests, which would take six to eight weeks to conduct, would be necessary to determine what factor, if any, drugs or alcohol might have played in Houston’s death.

He also said a “security hold” had been placed on the case, as has been done in previous high-profile investigations, to keep further details from being divulged.

The coroner’s briefing came as the Grammy Awards opened a few miles away at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where rapper-actor LL Cool J payed tribute to the late pop star just after the start of the star-studded music show.

“We’ve had a death in our family and so at least for me … the only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer for a woman we loved, for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston,” he said.

His brief prayer was followed by a clip of Houston singing her hit, “I Will Always Love You,” as the crowd responded with a standing ovation.

Houston, who enjoyed tremendous professional success but struggled with drug abuse for years, died on Saturday afternoon in a fourth-floor room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. She was at the hotel to attend an annual pre-Grammy gala held that evening by her mentor, record mogul Clive Davis.

The Grammy salute Sunday capped an emotional day for those closest to the pop diva and those who admired her as an entertainer. From the New Jersey church where Houston’s singing career first took flight to the hotel where her life abruptly ended, family and fans expressed their grief on Sunday with prayer, tears and raw anguish.

Houston’s only child, daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, 18, was taken by paramedics from the hotel to nearby Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Sunday suffering from anxiety, Beverly Hills police and fire officials said.

A fire department spokeswoman declined to disclose any information about the daughter’s medical condition but said she was “awake and talking” at the time she was transported.

Brown, who was reported by celebrity news website TMZ.com as being enraged at authorities for not being allowed into the hotel room where her mother’s body was found, was treated at the hospital for stress and released, a source close to the family told Reuters. A hospital spokeswoman declined comment.

CNN reported that Houston’s ex-husband, R&B singer Bobby Brown, canceled a long-scheduled performance in Nashville, Tennessee, with his former band, New Edition, to fly back to Los Angeles and attend to the couple’s daughter.