Tazi Phillips, Global Animal

Actor Michael Clark Duncan died on Monday morning in Los Angeles at the age of 54. Duncan is perhaps most well known for his role alongside actor Tom Hanks in the film The Green Mile, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1999. He also appeared in Armageddon, Sin City, and Planet of the Apes

Photo credit: PETA

Duncan was being treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for a heart attack he suffered from two months ago according to his fiance, reality TV personality Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth. The actor never fully recovered. The two were planning to marry next month. 

Duncan will not only be remembered for his great performances and lovable demeanor on screen, but also for his good heartedness off the set. 

In May 2012, Duncan appeared in a video for the animal rights organization PETA to speak about his vegetarianism and his love for animals. At the time the PETA video was filmed, the actor had three fish, six cats, and two dogs in his home. 

In the video, Duncan talks of how much better he feels since becoming a vegetarian three years earlier. “The best thing about being a vegetarian for me, number one is I know I’m not harming any animals,” he told PETA. “The number two thing is increased strength. I’m a lot stronger than I was when I was eating meat.”

Watching documentaries and reading also helped the actor make the change to vegetarianism. He learned about the truth behind factory farming in PETA’s documentary Meet Your Meat, and read the book Skinny Bitch, a guide that promotes a plant-based diet. To mark the change, Duncan says he cleared out $5,000 worth of meat from his refrigerator.

Although the hulking, 6-foot-4, 300-pound actor might not look like everyone’s idea of a vegetarian, Duncan believed that adopting a plant-based diet would not only help his own health, but help animals and the environment as well. He will be missed.