When I'm lucky enough to get away for a beach holiday I like to completely switch off. Laptops, Sky TV and Sunday roasts are left at home, swapped for two weeks of foreign cuisine and clear blue water. I make two concessions; the occasional full English breakfast and a once a week check on the news headlines. So it was last week I found out about the passing of Michael Clarke Duncan at a dusty PC in Corfu.
That evening my wife and I raised a glass of Ouzo in memory of an actor who managed to become one of Hollywood's most recognisable and beloved characters. Like director Tony Scott just a few weeks ago Clarke Duncan didn't worry about high brow accolades. The former LA bodyguard aimed for loftier heights, crafting entertaining and memorable characters. The actor knew his physical presence (6ft 5in) was his calling card but he didn't use his size to lazily phone in his performances. Quite the contrary, the man had a reserve of acting talent as large as his shoulders were broad.
The Chicago born actor will be best remembered for his John Coffey in Frank Darabont's The Green Mile (1999) but he also stole the show in blockbusters Armageddon (1998), Daredevil (2003), arthouse Breakfast of Champions (1999), comedy The Whole Nine Yards (2000) and even voice-over work Cats and Dogs (2001).