Bernie Mac Detailed Biography
This page for Bernie Mac Detailed Biography.
Birth name : Bernard Jeffrey McCullough
Date of birth : October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008
Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Nickname: Bernie Mac, MacMan
Height: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
Spouse: Rhonda McCullough (September 1977 - present) 1 child
"I'm not a star, and I don't want to be a star. Stars fall. I'm an ordinary guy with an extraordinary job. I was living in a place where I was harming myself. I was irresponsible. I'd lost several apartments. I couldn't hold a job. I was tired of being a no-good son of a bitch who called himself a man but was just a grown boy."
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Bernard Jeffrey "Bernie Mac" McCullough was a two time Emmy Award-nominated American actor and comedian. Bernie Mac is a comedian that refused to change his image for Hollywood and says that his life in Chicago is who he is and there is nothing that will change that. While success was a long time coming, he is now a household name. He is a mature comedian who is very intelligent, very engaging in his TV, movie and stand-up appearances.
Bernie Mac was born in Chicago in 1957, Bernard Jeffrey McCollough. He grew up in Chicago, in a rougher neighborhood than most others, with a large family living under one roof. This situation provided him with a great insight into his comedy, as his family, and the situations surrounding them would be what dominated his comedy. Mac worked in the Regal Theater, and performed in Chicago parks in his younger days. He became a professional comedian in 1977, at the age of 19. Mac was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised by a single mother, Mary, who died of cancer when Mac was sixteen. Mac attended Chicago Vocational Career Academy. The start of Mac's career was 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; he was a furniture mover, UPS agent and a bread delivery sales rep. Mac had claimed that he was whipped with a belt by both his mother and grandmother during his childhood.
He refused to change his image for television and films, and therefore was not very well known for most of the eighties. In 1992 he made his film debut with a small part with Mo' Money (1992). This started a string of small parts in a string of movies, mostly comedies, including Who's the Man? (1993), House Party 3 (1994) and The Walking Dead (1995). 1995 proved to be a turning point in his career. He did an HBO Special called "Midnight Mac" (1995), and took a part as Pastor Clever in the Chris Tucker comedy Friday (1995). Bernie Mac developed a cult following due to the movie and had many small parts since. In 1996 he starred in the memorable Spike Lee movie Get on the Bus (1996), and was very funny in Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996). About this time he had a recurring role in the TV series "Moesha" (1996). Bernie Mac's star was slowly rising from this point.
His next couple of movie parts were more substantial, including How to Be a Player (1997) and The Players Club (1998). In 1999 Bernie Mac got his most high profile part up to that point in the film Life (1999) starring Eddie Murphy. 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.
Mac took some vocational career training after high school, working as a delivery driver and furniture mover, before returning to the South Central Community center as its athletic director. After hours, he honed his comedy act on the platforms of the El train and at local parks, launching his own weekly variety show at Chicago’s Regal Theater. In 1977, he began hitting the stages on the local comedy circuit, unknowingly beginning a 30-year career as a stand-up comic. For over a decade, Mac developed his edgy style of commentary and endured the grueling lifestyle of the wannabe comic – being away from home and his new wife for nights at a time, performing for little or no money to gain exposure, and dodging the arrows of fickle late night audiences.
Finally, in 1990, Mac started seeing rewards for all of his hard work when he won the Miller Lite Comedy Search. The honor led to unimaginable opportunities, like opening for headliners Dionne Warwick, Redd Foxx and Natalie Cole. He made his feature debut as a club doorman in "Mo' Money" (1992), and guested on the HBO specials, "Rosie Perez Presents Society's Ride" (1993) and "Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam" (HBO 1992-97; 2006- ). In 1994, he snared a bit as the ribald Uncle Vester in “House Party 3” and also put together his own "Who Ya Wit Tour," which included a 10-piece band and the five “Mac-A-Roni Dancers.”
The following year, HBO thought Mac’s in-your-face persona lent itself to late night programming, but after a month of the network taming down his material, “Midnight Mac” (1995) was cancelled. He knew he wanted to return to TV with a series of his own someday, but he turned his attention back to film work, bulking up his acting resume with appearances as a preacher in "Friday" (1995) and one of the funnier members of the ensemble cast of Spike Lee's "Get on the Bus" (1996). A recurring role in the popular UPN series "Moesha" (UPN, 1996-2001) earned him even more mainstream recognition.
Stand-up comic and actor Bernie Mac exploded onto the screen with “The Original Kings of Comedy” (2001) after years of working comedy stages in his native Chicago. His edgy and largely autobiographical material about his background and African-American culture fell in step with a new wave of high-profile black comedians like fellow “Kings,” D.L. Hughley and Steve Harvey. And like his “Comedy Kings” co-stars, his hilariously frank material led to Mac’s own successful sitcom, “The Bernie Mac Show” (Fox, 2001-06).
An increasing presence on the big screen as well, Mac’s sometimes gruff but always memorable character roles began to give way to more challenging dramatic work. With the feature film, “Pride” (2007), it was clear Mac as artist had the depth and humanity to bring to the table, and was intent on raising the bar of what audiences and critics had come to expect from run-of-the-mill stand-ups-turned-actors. At the same time, Mac was promoting “Pride,” he shocked the comedy world by announcing his retirement from stand-up, devoting himself to screen acting and producing after years of success on the comedy club circuit.
The new century started a new era for the brash Chicago comedian. He was a featured comedian in The Original Kings of Comedy (2000). This performance made him more of a household name, and led to many more major parts. In 2001 he played Martin Lawrence's uncle in What's the Worst That Could Happen? (2001) and later that year, was in the star studded remake of Ocean's Eleven (2001). However his biggest success to this date has been "The Bernie Mac Show" (2001), which debuted in 2001 to instant acclaim.
During the lifespan of "The Bernie Mac Show," Mac made regular appearances on the big screen, stating in interviews that he held classic films and classic values seriously; that he did not want to take part in films with gratuitous sex and violence, preferring more quality, offbeat, films. In 2001, he co-starred as one of the 11 casino robbers in "Ocean's Eleven" (2001), bringing comic relief to Steven Soderbergh's crime caper piece and the subsequent sequels, “Ocean’s Twelve” (2004) and “Ocean’s 13” (2007). He supported fellow comedian Chris Rock in the misguided flop, "Head of State," (2003) and stepped into the role of TV’s Bosley in "Charlie's Angels 2" (2003), before taking on the weirdly hilarious role of a chain-smoking, vitamin C-craving, department store detective in the cynical Christmas comedy "Bad Santa" (2003).
After supporting a number of A-listers, Mac took on his first starring role with the well-received "Mr. 3000" (2004), playing an aging major leaguer whose hit record is revoked after retirement, inspiring him to return to the game to reclaim his title. He teamed with Ashton Kutcher in "Guess Who?" (2005), a broad-comedy reversal of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" but threw critics for a loop with his impressive turn in the drama “Pride.” In the “Rocky”-like (1976) take on swim meets, Mac revisited his past by playing a municipal worker at a recreation center that housed an inspirational sports program.
Started his career in stand-up comedy in 1977. His first professional comedy gig was at The Cotton Club in Chicago. He was so broke, he had to borrow a suit from his brother. His daughter, Je'Niece, is now 27 years old and has a masters degree in mental health counseling and has been married for 3 years. His mother and two only brothers have passed away. His mother died from breast cancer during his sophomore year of high school. He used to be a boxer. His character on "The Bernie Mac Show" (2001), was ranked #47 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time".
Is mentioned in Christina Aguilera's single Dirty. February 2005 - revealed that has suffered from sarcoidosis, a tissue inflammation disease, since 1983. He says it has no effect on his daily life. Gets a pedicure in Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Bad Santa (2003). Is a Chicago White Sox fan. Part of the pull toward retirement was due to wanting to spend time with his family. Married to wife Rhonda McCullough since 1970, the couple had one daughter, Je’Niece, who was earning a Masters degree in mental health counseling. On his own health front, Mac suffered from a tissue inflammation disease called sarcoidosis, which thankfully did not affect his daily life.
While promoting “Pride” in March of 2007, Mac appeared on “Late Night With David Letterman” (CBS, 1993- ) and announced that he would retire from doing stand-up comedy after he completed filming “The Whole Truth, Nothing But the Truth, So Help Me Mac” in the fall of that year. His announcement was met by saddened fans who had hoped to still catch him on a stage or cable special in the future. But Mac insisted he needed a “real life,” choosing instead, to focus on films and producing TV programs.
Actor and comedian Bernie Mac dies at age 50: Bernie Mac was hospitalized with pneumonia on August 1, 2008 and the following day, a source close to the family said that Mac was in "very, very critical" condition. He was recovering from pneumonia, most likely brought on by his sarcoidosis, in a Chicago hospital. His publicist, Danica Smith, said that he was expected to make a full recovery and that he was responding well to treatment. On August 9, 2008 it was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times that Bernie Mac had died, with confirmation by the Associated Press about the cause of his death.
What is Pneumonia: Pneumonia is an inflammatory illness of the lung. Frequently, it is described as lung parenchyma/alveolar inflammation and abnormal alveolar filling with fluid. (The alveoli are microscopic air-filled sacs in the lungs responsible for absorbing oxygen from the atmosphere.) Pneumonia can result from a variety of causes, including infection with bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites, and chemical or physical injury to the lungs. Its cause may also be officially described as idiopathic—that is, unknown when infectious causes have been excluded.
Typical symptoms associated with pneumonia include cough, chest pain, fever, and difficulty in breathing. Diagnostic tools include x-rays and examination of the sputum. Treatment depends on the cause of pneumonia; bacterial pneumonia is treated with antibiotics.
Pneumonia is a common illness which occurs in all age groups, and is a leading cause of death among the elderly and people who are chronically and terminally ill. Vaccines to prevent certain types of pneumonia are available. The prognosis depends on the type of pneumonia, the appropriate treatment, any complications, and the person's underlying health.
Bernie Mac: the actor and comedian who teamed up in the casino heist caper "Ocean's Eleven" and gained a prestigious Peabody Award for his sitcom "The Bernie Mac Show," died Saturday at age 50. "Actor/comedian Bernie Mac passed away this morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital," his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles. She said no other details were available and asked that his family's privacy be respected.
The comedian suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body's organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.
Recently, Mac's brand of comedy caught him flack when he was heckled during a surprise appearance at a July fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate and fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama. Toward the end of a 10-minute standup routine, Mac joked about menopause, sexual infidelity and promiscuity, and used occasional crude language. The performance earned him a rebuke from Obama's campaign. But despite controversy or difficulties, in his words, Mac was always a performer. "Wherever I am, I have to play," he said in 2002. "I have to put on a good show."
Mac worked his way to Hollywood success from an impoverished upbringing on Chicago's South Side. He began doing standup as a child, and his film career started with a small 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.
"The majority of his core fan base will remember that when they paid their money to see Bernie Mac ... he gave them their money's worth," Steve Harvey, one of his costars in "Original Kings," told CNN on Saturday. Mac went on to star in the hugely popular "Ocean's Eleven" franchise with Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
His turn with Ashton Kutcher in 2005's "Guess Who" topped the box office. It was a comedy remake of the classic Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn drama "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" — with Mac as the black dad who's shocked that his daughter is marrying a white man.
Mac also had starring roles in "Bad Santa," "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and "Transformers.", In the late 1990s, he had a recurring role in "Moesha," the UPN network comedy starring pop star Brandy. The comedian drew critical and popular acclaim with his Fox television series "The Bernie Mac Show," which aired more than 100 episodes from 2001 to 2006.
The series about a man's adventures raising his sister's three children, won a Peabody Award in 2002. At the time, judges wrote they chose the sitcom for transcending "race and class while lifting viewers with laughter, compassion — and cool."
The show garnered Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for Mac. "But television handcuffs you, man," he said in a 2001 Associated Press interview. "Now everyone telling me what I CAN'T do, what I CAN say, what I SHOULD do, and asking, `Are blacks gonna be mad at you? Are whites gonna accept you?'"
He also 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. In 2007, Mac told David Letterman on CBS' "Late Show" that he planned to retire soon.
"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."
Mac was born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough on Oct. 5, 1957, in Chicago. He 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, no-nonsense upbringing.
"I came from a place where there wasn't a lot of joy," Mac told the AP in 2001. "I decided to try to make other people laugh when there wasn't a lot of things to laugh about." Mac's mother died of cancer when he was 16. In his book, Mac said she was a support for him and told him he would surprise everyone when he grew up. "Woman believed in me," he wrote. "She believed in me long before I believed."
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