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Bernard Jeffrey McCullough (October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008), better known by his stage name Bernie Mac, was an American actor and comedian. Born and raised on the South Sidemarker of Chicagomarker, Mac gained popularity as a stand-up comedian. He joined comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and D. L. Hughley as The Original Kings of Comedy.

After briefly hosting the HBO show Midnight Mac, Mac appeared in several films in smaller roles. His most noted film role was as Frank Catton in the remake Ocean's Eleven and the titular character of Mr. 3000. He was the star of The Bernie Mac Show, which ran from 2001-2006, earning him two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. His other films included starring roles in Booty Call, Friday, The Players Club, Head of State, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Bad Santa, Guess Who, Pride, Soul Men, and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the solid organs, but had said the condition was in remission in 2005. Despite having the disease, his death on August 9, 2008 was caused by complications from pneumonia.

Early life

Bernie Mac was born in Chicago, where he was raised by a single mother, Mary, who died of cancer when he was 16. He put on shows for neighborhood kids on Chicago's South Sidemarker and eventually he moved to Tampa, Florida. During his 20s he worked in a variety of jobs, including furniture mover, and a UPSmarker agent.

Career

Bernie Mac started as a stand-up comedian in Chicago's Cotton Club. After he won the Miller Lite Comedy Search at the age of 32, his popularity as a comedian began to grow. A performance on HBO's Def Comedy Jam thrust him into the spotlight. He opened for Dionne Warwick, Redd Foxx and Natalie Cole. He also had a short-lived talk show on HBO titled Midnight Mac. Later, Mac also acted in minor roles and got his big break as "Pastor Clever" in Ice Cube's 1995 film Friday. Following that role, Mac also worked in many other films and had some television appearances in titles including, Booty Call, How to Be a Player, Life and What's the Worst That Could Happen?. Mac was one of the few African American comedic actors able to break from the traditional "black comedy" genre, having roles in the 2001 remake of Ocean's Eleven and becoming the new Bosleymarker for the Charlie's Angels sequel, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. In 2003, he gave an impressive performance in a supporting role as the villain "Gin Slagel, The Store Dick" in Bad Santa. He also starred in Guess Who?, a comedic remake of the film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and made an appearance in the 2007 film Transformers as the car salesman "Bobby Bolivia." He served as the voice of Zuba in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

In 2001, the Fox Network gave Mac his own semi-autobiographical sitcom called The Bernie Mac Show portraying a fictional version of himself. In the show, he suddenly becomes custodian of his sister's three children after she enters rehab. It was a success, in part because it allowed Mac to stay true to his stand-up comedy roots, breaking the fourth wall to communicate his thoughts to the audience. The show contained many parodies of events in Bernie's actual life. It was not renewed after the 2006 season. Viewers were left without a conclusion for the series, and no ending to the storyline of Bernie and Wanda trying to have a baby. Among other awards, the show won an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Writing’, the Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting, and the Humanitas Prize for television writing that promotes human dignity. His character on The Bernie Mac Show was ranked #47 in TV Guide list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time".

In 2004, Bernie Mac had his first starring role as a retired baseball player in the film Mr. 3000. In the 2003 National League Championship Series, Mac sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at Wrigley Fieldmarker with the Chicago Cubs leading the Florida Marlins in the series 3-2 and in Game 6 by a 3-0 score. Instead of saying "root, root, root for the Cubbies" Mac said, "root, root, root for the champions!" The Cubs lost the game and the series, with some fans claiming that Mac helped jinx the Cubs. Mac later admitted that he had hated the North Side's Cubs his whole life, being a die-hard fan of the South Side's White Sox, and was seen during the White Sox' 2005 World Series victory at U.S.marker Cellular Fieldmarker.

He was number 72 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest standups of all time. On March 19, 2007, Mac told David Letterman on the CBS Late Show that he would retire from his 30-year career after he finished shooting the comedy film, The Whole Truth, Nothing but the Truth, So Help Me Mac. "I'm going to still do my producing, my films, but I want to enjoy my life a little bit," Mac told Letterman. "I missed a lot of things, you know. I was a street performer for two years. I went into clubs in 1977."

Death

Mac died early in the morning on August 9, 2008 of complications due to pneumonia, his publicist said. He was 50 years old (two months away from his 51st birthday). He had been hospitalized for about a week at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to his spokeswoman. A few years before, Mac disclosed that he suffered from sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in tissue, most often in the lungs.

Mac's public funeral was held a week later at the House of Hope church in his hometown of Chicago with over 7,000 people in attendance. Notable mourners were Chris Rock, Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, Samuel L. Jackson, his fellow Ocean's Eleven comrade Don Cheadle, the cast members from his series and his Kings of Comedy fellows D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, and Steve Harvey. His ashes were buried at Washington Memory Gardens Cemetery in Homewood, Illinoismarker.

The first two of Mac's posthumous films, Soul Men and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa were released three months after his death and well received critically. His third and final posthumous film Old Dogs was released a year later and was poorly received. The 2008 Bud Billiken Parade, held in Chicago on the day Mac died, was also dedicated to his memory. On the day of Mac's public funeral, his hometown's local TV station WCIU-TVmarker aired an exclusive television special, "Tribute to Bernie Mac and had interviews with former colleagues such as Camille Winbush, Tommy Davidson, Guy Torry and some of his close family members and friends.

Filmography

Film
Year Film Role Notes
1992 Mo' Money Club doorman Cameo
1993 Who's the Man? G-George Minor role
1994 Above the Rim Flip Minor role
House Party 3 Uncle Vester Main role
1995 Friday Pastor Clever Supporting role
1996 Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood Officer Self Hatred Cameo
Get on the Bus Jay Supporting role
1997 B*A*P*S Mr. Johnson Minor role
Booty Call Judge Peabody Minor role
How to Be a Player Buster Supporting role
1998 The Players Club Dollar Bill Main role
1999 Life Jangle Leg Supporting role
2000 The Original Kings of Comedy Himself Documentary
2001 Ocean's Eleven Frank Catton Supporting role
What's the Worst That Could Happen? Uncle Jack Supporting role
2003 Bad Santa Gin Slagel Main role
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Jimmy Bosley Main role
Head of State Mitch Gilliam Main role
2004 Mr. 3000 Stan Ross Main role
Ocean's Twelve Frank Catton Main role
2005 Guess Who Percy Jones Main role
2007 Ocean's Thirteen Frank Catton Main role
Pride Elston Main role
Transformers Bobby Bolivia Cameo
2008 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Zuba (voice) Main role / Released posthumously 
Soul Men Floyd Main role / Released posthumously
2009 Old Dogs Jimmy Lunchbox Minor role / Released posthumously / Final film
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1996-2000 Moesha Uncle Bernie 11 episodes
2001-2006 The Bernie Mac Show Bernie McCullough 103 episodes
2003 King of the Hill Mack (Voice) 1 episode


Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film or series
2005 Black Reel Awards Won Best Actor, Musical or Comedy Mr. 3000
2002 Emmy Award Nominated Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2003 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2003 Golden Globe Award Nominated Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy The Bernie Mac Show
2004 Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy The Bernie Mac Show
2002 NAACP Image Awards Nominated Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2003 Won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2004 Nominated Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Head of State
Won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2005 Won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2006 Won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2007 Nominated Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2003 PRISM Award Won Performance in a Comedy Series The Bernie Mac Show
2003 Satellite Award Won Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical The Bernie Mac Show
2004 Won Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical The Bernie Mac Show
2005 Nominated Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical The Bernie Mac Show
2002 Television Critics Association Award Won Individual Achievement in Comedy The Bernie Mac Show


References

  1. Savoy Magazine May 2002
  2. http://www.lastingtribute.co.uk/ Bernie Mac obituary
  3. June 20, 2004 issue
  4. Bernie Mac Plans to Retire From Standup


External links




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