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Bernie Mac

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Bernie Mac Biography

Birth name - Bernard Jeffrey McCullough
Born - October 5, 1957(1957-10-05)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died - August 9, 2008 (aged 50)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Years active - 1977–2008
Spouse - Rhonda McCullough (1 child)

Bernard Jeffrey McCullough (October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008),[1] better known by his stage name Bernie Mac, was an African-American actor and comedian. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, 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

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 Side and eventually he moved to Tampa, Florida.[2] During his 20s he worked in a variety of jobs, including furniture mover, and a UPS agent.[2]


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 Bosley 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, Fox 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 last but not least, the Humanitas Prize for television writing that promotes human dignity. [3] His character on The Bernie Mac Show was ranked #47 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time."[4]

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 Field 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. Cellular Field.
Mac in premiere of Transformers in June 2007

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,[5] 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."[6]

In 2008, two months before his passing, he is jokingly referenced in the song "Lookin Boy" where Yung Joc states "Jangle Leg!, Jangle Leg! Jangle Leg!, Bernie Mac Lookin' Boy!". He is making a reference to Mac's role in the 1999 film Life.


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). Mac 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.[1].

Mac's public funeral was held on a week later at the House of Hope church in his hometown of Chicago with over 7,000 people in attendance. Notable mourners were Jeremy Suarez who played his nerdy nephew "Jordan" on The Bernie Mac Show, Chris Rock, Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, Samuel L. Jackson, his fellow Ocean's Eleven comrade Don Cheadle, the other cast members from his series and his fellow Kings of Comedy: D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, and Steve Harvey. His ashes are buried at Washington Memory Gardens Cemetery in Homewood, Illinois.[citation needed]

Just prior to his death, Mac had finished working on the film Soul Men with Samuel L. Jackson and singer-songwriter Isaac Hayes, the latter of whom died the following day of a stroke. He was also working on the films Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Old Dogs; both were dedicated to his memory. The 2008 Bud Billiken Parade, held in Chicago on the day he died, was also dedicated to his memory.[7] On the day of his funeral, his hometown's local TV station WCIU-TV aired an exclusive TV 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.


Year - Film - Role - Notes
1992 - Mo' Money - Club doorman -
1993 - Who's the Man? - G-George -
1994 - Above the Rim - Flip -
House Party 3 - Uncle Vester -
1995 - Friday - Pastor Clever -
1996 - Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood - Officer Self Hatred -
Get on the Bus - Jay -
1997 - B*A*P*S - Mr. Johnson -
Booty Call - Judge Peabody -
How to Be a Player - Buster -
1998 - The Players Club - Dollar Bill -
1999 - Life - Jangle Leg -
2000 - The Original Kings of Comedy - Himself -
2001 - Ocean's Eleven - Frank Catton -
What's the Worst That Could Happen? - Uncle Jack -
The Bernie Mac Show - Bernie McCullough - Television (2001-2006)
2003 - Bad Santa - Gin Slagel -
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle - Jimmy Bosley -
Head of State - Mitch Gilliam -
2004 - Mr. 3000 - Stan Ross -
Ocean's Twelve - Frank Catton -
2005 - Guess Who - Percy Jones -
2007 - Ocean's Thirteen - Frank Catton -
Pride - Elston -
Transformers - Bobby Bolivia -
2008 - Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa - Zuba - Released posthumously
Soul Men - Floyd - Released posthumously
2009 - Old Dogs - Jimmy Lunchbox - Released posthumously
Awards and nominations
Emmy Awards
Year - Category - Show - Result
2003 - Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series - The Bernie Mac Show - Nominated
2002 - Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series - The Bernie Mac Show - Nominated
Golden Globe Awards
Year - Category - Show - Result
2004 - Outstanding Actor in a Comedy/Musical Series - The Bernie Mac Show - Nominated
2003 - Outstanding Actor in a Comedy/Musical Series - The Bernie Mac Show - Nominated
NAACP Image Awards
Year - Category - Show - Result
2007 - Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series - The Bernie Mac Show - Nominated
2006 - Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series - The Bernie Mac Show - Winner
2005 - Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series - The Bernie Mac Show - Winner
2004 - Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series - The Bernie Mac Show - Winner
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Head of State - Nominated
2002 - Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series - The Bernie Mac Show - Winner
2001 - Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series - The Bernie Mac Show - Nominated

Bernie Mac Quotes


1. a b "Actor and comedian Bernie Mac dies at age 50". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
2. a b Savoy Magazine May 2002
3. Bernie Mac obituary
4. June 20, 2004 issue
5. McDonald, Ray (21 March 2007). "US Comedian Bernie Mac to Retire From Stand-Up Comedy". VOA News (Voice of America). Retrieved 31 December 2008.
6. Bernie Mac Plans to Retire From Standup
7. Le Mignot, Suzanne (August 9, 2008). "Actor And Comedian Bernie Mac Dies At Age 50". CBS2Chicago. Retrieved 2008-08-10.

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