Michael Clarke Duncan

Another great voice of our time has gone silent. In this case, I mean the voice part literally.

I could confidently look forward to any movie featuring Michael Clarke Duncan in the cast. Not only could he deliver Oscar-caliber performances, he could be counted on to be one of two things, if not both, in any film in which he worked. He would be a presence, and on most occasions, he’d clearly be having a great time.

I know Daredevil is not at the top of anybody’s list of Best Superhero Movies. But if you haven’t seen it, you should, if just for Michael Clarke Duncan. Watch his introductory scene. Look at the way he wears that suit. The stance, the cane, the cigar, the presence. Ebert said, and I agree, that it makes you want to back up and cover your balls. And then he smiles, and you just know he’s having a ball with this role.

He was also one of the best things in Armageddon and The Scorpion King for similar reasons. Even when he doesn’t once crack a smile, Sin City for example, he still left an indelible mark. And of course, no discussion of the man would be complete without at least a mention of The Green Mile. John Coffey was the gentle giant personified. The film would not have been so effective and moving with someone else in that role.

Michael also did a great deal of voice work, from animated TV series to video games. He returned as Kingpin for the Spider-Man TV series and also made appearances on Chuck and Bones. This was a man who clearly loved what he did, and by all accounts, was a fun and gentle man to know and work with.

He will be sorely missed.