Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bernie Mac Dies At the Age of 50

Actor and comedian Bernie Mac, perhaps best known for starring in his self-titled sitcom and for his appearances in the Ocean's Eleven films, died early Saturday morning at the age of 50. According to his publicist, he succumbed due to complications from pneumonia in a Chicago-area hospital. Mac had suffered from sarcoidosis, a tissue inflammation disease, but it was believed to have gone in remission in 2005. Earlier in the week, there were conflicting reports as to the condition of Mac, including a rumor that he had already died. He is survived by his wife of over 30 years and a 27 yr old daughter.

Born Bernard Jeffery McCullough on Oct. 5 1957, Bernie Mac started doing stand-up as a kid and gradually worked his way up the showbiz ladder. He first gained widespread exposure through his appearances on Def Comedy Jam in the early 90s and made his film debut in the 1992 Damon Wayans comedy Mo' Money. Since then, Mac had appeared in over 20 films; including Friday, Get On the Bus, The Player's Club, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Guess Who, and Pride.

In 2001, his long-running sitcom The Bernie Mac Show debuted on FOX. The show featured Mac essentially playing himself, a successful comedian and husband living in Los Angeles. He and his wife's tranquil lives were turned upside down when they took in his sister's 3 kids. The Bernie Mac Show differed from most sitcoms in that it was filmed using a single camera and didn't employ a laugh track. Another trademark of the series is that each episode featured Mac sitting in his easy chair looking into the camera as he addressed the viewing audience directly. Although FOX bounced it around the schedule several times, it still managed to run for 5 years and produce over 100 episodes. The series earned several accolades, including the Peabody Award, the Humanitas Prize and an Emmy. For his work on the show, Mac himself also won a BET Comedy Award and three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series.

Bernie Mac is next set to appear on the big screen in November 2008 in the comedy Soul Men co-starring Samuel L. Jackson, Sharon Leal, and John Legend.

Below is a clip of Bernie Mac as Officer Self Hatred in the 1996 parody Don't Be A Menace...


Candy Minx said...

I just read this on Pjazzypar's blog...and I am so sad.

I loved his stand boyfriend Stagg is inconsolable he adored him and often told his jokes over and over for me. I loved his tv show too and his role in smooth Oceans movies.

I think it's somehow worse when someone who helps us laugh dies...

pjazzypar said...

Yeah Malcolm, I feel as if a family member died. I think I will go pop in "The Kings of Comedy". When Clarence, his wife and I went to see the film back in 2000, Bernie had us laughing harder than anyone. I can't wait for Soul Men :-(

Jessica said...

His death is sad and surprising. :( He was a funny guy.

pjazzypar said...

Hey Malcolm, I was so distraught I forgot to add my You Tube clip from the "Original Kings of Comedy".

Anonymous said...

This is just heartbreaking. I read about sarcoidosis this morning after we heard the news, b/c I didn't know exactly what it was.

My heart goes out to his family.

The Rock Chick said...

Very sad. 50 is so young and he was way younger at heart.

He was one of my favorite performers and he is one of, my sweet home town, Chicago's pride and joys. Today was also the Bud Billiken parade here in Chicago and they dedicated it to Bernie Mac.

X. Dell said...

I read about this yesterday. Really shocking.

Malcolm said...

Candy: You may be on to something about the death of a comedian. I need to check out the Ocean's Eleven films... I hear that they are a lot of fun.

Pjazzy: I too am looking forward to Soul Men.

Jessica: Even with the stories of Bernie Mac being hospitalized, I still expected him to pull through. No doubt because we were led to believe that he was doing fine.

Thriving Holly: I didn't know about sarcoidosis until I included Bernie Mac in one of my trivia quizzes earlier this year. His Wikipedia page mentioned that he had the disease.

The Rock Chick: I have heard that Chicagoans are really taking the death of Bernie Mac hard. I can't remember if it was this season or last, but Bernie sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at one of the Cubs games.

X. Dell: For me, it's always shocking when someone young and still active in the business dies.

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