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Died September 3

Michael Clarke Duncan dreamed of acting from an early age but had to defer his plans in order to support his family and ailing mother. Before his screen debut, the future Oscar and Golden Globe nominee worked as a ditch digger and bouncer, capitalizing on his larger-than-life frame. After moving to Hollywood, Duncan worked in personal security for celebrities, some of whom he would later work alongside in film and television. His breakthrough performance in "Armageddon" was followed quickly with his critically lauded turn in "The Green Mile," launching his film and television career in earnest. Still using his massive build to its full advantage, Duncan played a succession of giants, gentle or otherwise, in films like "Daredevil," "The Whole Nine Yards," "The Scorpion King," and many others, as well as voice-acting work where his distinctive tones brought life to animated films like "Brother Bear" and "Kung Fu Panda" as well as several popular video games. We remember Duncan's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including actress Eileen Brennan.

2015: Judy Carne, British actress known best as one of the stars of the U.S. television comedy show "Laugh-In" who said the phrase, "Sock it to Me," dies at 76.

2012: Michael Clarke Duncan, U.S. actor known best for his role in the movie "The Green Mile," dies of a heart attack at 54.

The hulking actor was young – only 54 – and though he wasn't in the top echelon of stars, his solid career kept him in the public eye for the 13 years since his breakout role in "The Green Mile." The role of the imposing but gentle death-row convict John Coffey seemed tailor-made for Duncan, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance. Read more

 

 

2010: Robert Schimmel, U.S. stand-up comedian known best for his appearances on HBO and "The Howard Stern Show," dies of injuries sustained in a car accident at 60.

Robert Schimmel (Getty Images)A frequent guest on "The Howard Stern Show," Schimmel also was known for his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In 2008, he published "Cancer on Five Dollars a Day* (*chemo not included): How Humor Got Me Through the Toughest Journey of My Life," which chronicled his experience fighting the disease. He also incorporated cancer stories into his act. Read more

 

 

2007: Steve Ryan, U.S. actor who had recurring roles on the television series "The West Wing" and "Arrested Development," dies at 60.

2007: Carter Albrecht, U.S. keyboard player and guitarist who was a member of the band Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, is shot to death at 34.

2005: William Rehnquist, U.S. lawyer who was the 16th chief justice of the United States from 1986 until his death, dies of thyroid cancer at 80.

As chief justice, Rehnquist presided over President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial in 1999, helped settle the 2000 presidential election in George W. Bush's favor, and fashioned decisions over the years that diluted the powers of the federal government while strengthening those of the states. Read more

 

 

 

2001: Pauline Kael, U.S. movie critic known best as the film critic for The New Yorker from 1968 to 1979, and again from 1980 until 1991, dies at 82.

2001: Thuy Trang, Vietnamese actress known best for her role as Trini Kwan, the original yellow ranger on the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" television series, dies in an auto accident at 27.

2000: Edward Anhalt, U.S. screenwriter who partnered with his first wife, Edna, to win an Academy Award for the screenplay of the movie "Panic in the Streets," dies at 86.

1994: Major Lance, U.S. rhythm and blues singer who had a No. 2 song on the R&B charts with "The Monkey Time," dies of heart disease at 55.

1994: James Thomas Aubrey Jr., U.S. television and film executive who headed CBS television during the 1960s, put shows like "Gilligan's Island" and "Beverly Hillbillies" on the air, and later became president of MGM, dies of a heart attack at 75.

1991: Frank Capra, Italian film director, producer, and writer whose classic movies include "It Happened One Night," "It's a Wonderful Life," and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," dies of prostate cancer at 94.

Capra first pushed his way into moviemaking with a bold move, telling a San Francisco producer that he was from Hollywood (true-ish) and that he had experience with movies (not so true). They gave him a shot on a silent film and his bright-eyed vision made him a success. He built his career directing silent films … and he clinched that career by being unafraid, unlike many in the silent film industry, to see the future success of talkies. Within just a few years of the rise of sound in movies, Capra had ascended to the greatest heights of the film world, with his screwball hit "It Happened One Night" winning all five of the top Oscars. Read more

 

1985: Johnny Marks, U.S. songwriter known best for writing holiday classics including "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "A Holly, Jolly Christmas," dies of complications of diabetes at 75.

1980: Duncan Renaldo, Romanian-born U.S. actor remembered best for starring as the Cisco Kid in movies and on the 1950s television series, dies at 76.

1980: Barbara O'Neil, U.S. actress who played Scarlett O'Hara's mother in "Gone With the Wind" even though she was only 28 years old, dies at 70.

1970: Alan Wilson, U.S. musician, singer, and songwriter who was a singer, guitarist, and harmonica player with the blues band Canned Heat, dies at 27 of a barbiturate overdose.

1970: Vince Lombardi, U.S. Pro Football Hall of Fame coach who led the Green Bay Packers to victories in the first two Super Bowls, dies at 57.

1965: Otto Lederer, Austro-Hungarian actor who appeared in "The Jazz Singer" and the original "Wizard of Oz," dies at 79.

1962: e.e. cummings, U.S. poet who is considered one of the leading American poets of the 20th century, dies following a stroke at 67.

1954: Eugene Pallette, U.S. actor whose roles included Friar Tuck in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" with Errol Flynn, dies of cancer at 65.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history including actress Eileen Brennan.