Michael Clarke Duncan: His Five Greatest Roles

"Sin City," "The Green Mile" and "Planet of the Apes" among Oscar nominee's best films.

By Bruna Nessif
|  Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012  |  Updated 8:42 AM PDT
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Actor Michael Clarke Duncan poses for a portrait Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 in New York. Duncan, 54, passed away Monday in Los Angeles.

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Michael Clarke Duncan may have been a late bloomer when it came to his Hollywood career, but in a relatively short time, Big Mike made a big impression.

In less than a decade and a half, the prolific 54-year-old actor, who died Sunday from complications of a heart attack, appeared in hit action flicks ("Armageddon," "The Scorpion King"), comedies ("Talledega Nights," "A Night at the Roxbury") and even animated family fare ("Kung Fu Panda," "Cats & Dogs," "Brother Bear").

But here are the five movies in his filmography that deserve to be called out for special mention.

Michael Clarke Duncan dead at 54

"The Green Mile" The obvious choice. People fell in love with Duncan after his star-making turn in this 1999 flick alongside Tom Hanks. Duncan earned an Academy Award nomination for playing a childlike prisoner wrongly convicted of rape and murder in the Stephen King tale. "I am terribly saddened at the loss of Big Mike," said Hanks on Sunday. "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."

Added director Frank Darabont: "Our experience making "The Green Mile" together was immersive and incredible, a once-in-a-lifetime journey. What sticks most in my mind was his devotion to his craft and the strides he made as an artist during that time, which was beyond inspiring to those of us who took the journey with him. Never has an actor more richly deserved the recognition of an Academy Award nomination than Michael did for his performance as John Coffey."

"Daredevil" The gentle giant played against type as the literal big baddie in the 2003 Ben Affleck superhero flick. Duncan played Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin, who was the ruthless, rich and intimidating boss of New York City's underworld. That same year, he would reprise the role on the animated Spider-Man TV toon. This wasn't Duncan's only comic-based turn. In 2011, he played the CGI role of Kilowog, a gruff but lovable drill sergeant who trained Ryan Reynolds' titluar do-gooder in "Green Lantern."

Celebs remember the fallen star

"Planet of the Apes" Virutally unrecognizable in gorilla makeup, Duncan appeared in Tim Burton's 2001 remake as Colonel Attar, a veteran ape who ends up helping the female chimpanzee Ari (Helena Bonham Carter) aid the humans in their attempted escape.

"Sin City" In Robert Rodriguez's 2005 crime thriller film (which was full of A-list names, including frequent costar Bruce Willis), Duncan played one-eyed head mercenary Manute, hunting down Rosario Dawson's character, who is wanted by the mob.

"The Whole Nine Yards" Duncan teamed up with Willis yet again (they also costarred in "Armageddon" and "Breakfast of Champions") and proved he could bring the laughs as Franklin "Frankie Figs" Figueroa, the man who roughs up our favorite Friend, Matthew Perry in the 2000 hit-man comedy.

Celebrity Deaths: 2012's Fallen Stars

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