Actor, Comedian Bernie Mac Dies at 50



Actor, comedian Bernie Mac died Saturday, August 9 at age 50, of complications from pneumonia in a Chicago-area hospital, his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles.

Bernie Mac gained stardom as a standup comedian, in films including the casino heist caper “Ocean’s Eleven” and his acclaimed sitcom “The Bernie Mac Show.” Though his comedy drew on tough experiences as a black man, he had mainstream appeal – befitting inspiration he found in a wide range of humorists: Harpo Marx as well as Moms Mabley; squeaky-clean Red Skelton, but also the raw Redd Foxx.

He played the role as a club doorman in the Damon Wayans comedy “Mo’ Money” in 1992. In 1996, he appeared in the Spike Lee drama “Get on the Bus.” He was one of “The Original Kings of Comedy” in the 2000 documentary of that title that brought a new generation of black standup comedy stars to a wider audience. He was nominated for a Grammy award for best comedy album in 2001 along with his “The Original Kings of Comedy” co-stars Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Cedric The Entertainer.

Mac was born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough on Oct. 5, 1957, in Chicago. Mac grew up on the city’s South Side, living with his mother and grandparents. His grandfather was the deacon of a Baptist church. In his 2004 memoir, “Maybe You Never Cry Again,” Mac wrote about having a poor childhood – eating bologna for dinner – and a strict, nononsense upbringing.

Mac’s death Saturday coincided with the annual Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago, a major event in the predominantly black South Side that the comedian had previously attended.

A public memorial is planned for noon Aug. 16 at The House of Hope church in Chicago, said Smith, Mac’s publicist.

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