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Saturday, August 9, 2008

RIP: Bernie Mac

This morning, Legend and King of Comedy Bernie Mac died. He was 50 years old and suffered from sarcoidosis, which is a lung disease where lumps of cells grow on the body's organs. In early 2005 it went into remission, but on August 1st he was admitted to the hospital for Pneumonia. Several days a rumor was stated that he had passed, it turned out to be false, and all was thought to be well until he passed earlier this morning.

To quote Wikipedia for a quick biography of Bernie Mac:

Mac was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised by a single mother, Mary, who died of cancer when Mac was sixteen.[1] Mac attended Chicago Vocational Career Academy. Mac started his career during high school, when he would put on shows for neighborhood kids in Chicago's South Side until moving to Tampa. During his 20s he worked in a variety of jobs, including furniture mover, UPS agent, and a bread delivery sales rep.

Mac started as a stand-up comedian in Chicago's Cotton Pickin' Club. He won the Miller Lite Comedy Search at the age of 32, at which point 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 began acting in minor roles, and received his big break as Pastor Clever in Ice Cube's 1995 film Friday. Following that role, Mac would also work in many other movies, and some television appearances, 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 to be able to break out of 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 also turned in an impressive performance in a small but important role as Gin "The Store Dick" in Bad Santa. He also starred in Guess Who?, a comedic remake of the film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. He also made an appearance in the 2007 movie Transformers as the car salesman Bobby Bolivia.
In 2000, Mac returned to his stand-up comedy roots, touring the country as one of The Original Kings of Comedy, along with Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley. The comedy act was filmed by Spike Lee and was included later in the movie The Original Kings of Comedy.
In 2001, Fox gave Mac his own sitcom called The Bernie Mac Show, somewhat based on his own life. In the show, he suddenly becomes custodian over his sister's three children after she enters rehab. It was a success, in part because it allows 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. However, the show was not renewed after the 2006 season. Viewers were left without a conclusion for the series, and no ending to the storyline where Bernie and Wanda were trying to have a baby. His character on The Bernie Mac Show was ranked #47 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" [June 20, 2004 issue].
In 2004, Mac had his first starring role as a retired baseball player in the movie Mr. 3000. In the 2003 NLCS, Mac sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" at Wrigley Field with the Cubs leading the Florida Marlins in the series 3-2 and up in Game Six 3-0. Instead of saying "root, root, root for the Cubbies" Mac said, "root, root, root for the champions!" The Cubs would go on to lose the game and the series, with some fans claiming that Mac helped to jinx the Cubs. Mac later admitted that he has hated the Cubs his whole life, is a die-hard White Sox fan, and was seen during the 2005 World Series at US Cellular Field.
Mac 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 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".[2]

Mac married Rhonda McCullough in 1977. They had one daughter, Je'Niece (born 1978), who attended Xavier University of Louisiana, where she received both her bachelor's degree in Psychology and master's degree in Mental Health Counseling. She has been married for three years and has one daughter, Jasmine.

One good thing about him being an actor is that he will never be forgotten. Later this year and in the next, there will 3 films with him in solid roles (Old Dogs, Soul Men, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa), there was to be another TV series starring him, but it is assumed that will either be recast or scrapped entirely.

R.I.P Bernie Mac. You will be missed.

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