Michael Clarke Duncan Was Biggie Smalls' Original Bodyguard the Night He Died
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Michael Clarke Duncan is best known for playing the frankly adorable death row inmate in The Green Mile, and for uttering the immortal words "Don't you put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby" in Talladega Nights. He was a gift to the world of cinema, but before that, he was a gift to the world of bodyguarding. In fact, Duncan was so good at being a bodyguard that if he hadn't switched assignments one fateful night, his client Notorious B.I.G. might still be alive.
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The shooter probably would have just kept driving if he saw those guns.
Duncan started out digging ditches in Chicago, where he was known as "Hollywood Mike" -- surprisingly, not because of a side job as a male stripper, but because he dreamed of being a famous actor. After participating in Disco Demolition Night at the former White Sox stadium in 1979, Duncan must have realized he had a natural talent for beating up drunk sports fans, because at some point he also started working as a bouncer. Duncan later moved to Los Angeles to try to break into movies, but found that people were much more willing to give him money for standing between them and bullets, so he worked as a bodyguard for people like Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, and Martin Lawrence. Meanwhile, he picked up acting tips from those guys.
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Thankfully he ignored the female fat suit suggestion.
One night, Duncan was supposed to guard rapper Biggie Smalls at a party but ended up trading him for R&B singer "Babyface" Edmonds with a co-worker. Duncan later said that if he had been with Biggie, he would have made sure not to seat him in the front of the car or near any windows -- the other bodyguard wasn't so particular, so Biggie sat in the front and was gunned down. After that, Duncan had two realizations: The first one was "I could have saved that man," and the second was "Fuck this job, let someone else get shot for rich people." So he immediately quit bodyguarding and started getting some acting gigs ... doing the same things he'd been doing before, only in front of a camera. He played nameless bodyguards and bouncers in movies like Bulworth and Night at the Roxbury.
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He saved money as a starving actor by wearing the same shirt for two years.