Actor/Comedian Bernie Mac Dead at age 50

Bernie Mac
Bernie Mac, as Frank Catton, in a scene from 2007’s “Ocean’s Thirteen”.
Bernie Mac
Bernie Mac at the premiere of his film, “Ocean’s Eleven”, 2001. Associated Press
Actor/comedian Bernie Mac died early this morning (August 9) from complications due to pneumonia.

Mr. Mac, who’s real name was Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, was born in Chicago in 1957 and had battled with sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in tissue, for several years.

Mr. Mac started performing comedy at a very young age but didn’t see any benefits until he won the Miller Lite comedy search when he was 32. He went on to perform on HBO’s "Def Comedy Jam."

His performance on "Def Comedy Jam" landed him a part in the Damon Wayne’s’ film, "Mo’ Money" (1992), and later his own HBO Comedy Special, "Midnight Mac" in 1995. But his break-through role was the Ice Cube/Chris Tucker comedy, "Friday" where he played the memorable Pastor Clever. He also appeared in Jamie Fox’s "Booty Call" Bill Bellamy’s "Def Jam’s: How to Be a Player." In 2000 he teamed up with fellow comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley and director Spike Lee for "The Original Kings of Comedy," a stand-up comedy movie where Mac arguably stole the show. A year later, in November 2001, FOX debuted "The Bernie Mac Show" to critical acclaim and drew 11.4 million viewers for the premiere episode and earned Mr. Mac two Emmy awards.

Most recently, he starred as con man Frank Catton in "Ocean’s Thirteen," and its preceding sequels (along side George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Don Cheadle), "Pride" and last summer’s blockbuster "Transformers."

Mr. Mac checked into Chicago’s Northwestern Hospital last week with pneumonia. Although his situation looked grim doctors had hoped he would make a full recovery.

Bernie Mac is survived by his wife Rhonda McCullough, their daughter, Je’Niece and granddaughter, Jasmine. He was 50 years old.

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