Michael Clarke Duncan (born December 10, 1957) is an American actor, best known for his breakout role as John Coffey in The Green Mile, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.
Duncan was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in a single-parent household with his sister, Judy, and mother, Jean Duncan (a house cleaner), after his father left. He always wanted to act, but had to drop out of the Communications program at Alcorn State University to support his family when his mother became ill. Duncan's large frame—6 feet 5 inches (196 cm) and 315 pounds (142 kg)—helped him in his jobs digging ditches for the People's Gas Company and being a bouncer at different Chicago clubs. Duncan has stated that one of his many jobs had been a stripper and that his stage name was Black Caesar.
In 1979, he participated in the Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox: he was among the first 100 people to run onto the field and he slid into third base. During the ensuing riot his silver belt buckle was stolen while he was stealing a baseball bat from the dugout.