Bernie Mac - Death, Show & Facts

Bernie Mac was a comedian who performed stand-up and worked as an actor in cinema and television. His most famous show was titled “The Bernie Mac Show.”


Who Was Bernie Mac?

Bernie Mac performed his first stand-up performance when he was only 8 years old for his church congregation. In addition to joining the cast of “Ocean’s Eleven,” he launched a variety show at Chicago’s Regal Theatre, appeared on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam,” and performed in Chicago. Mac passed away on August 9, 2008 due to complications from pneumonia.


Early Life

On October 5th, 1957 in the city of Chicago, Illinois, Mac was given the name Bernard Jeffrey McCullough at birth. His grandfather served as the Baptist church’s deacon while growing up on the South Side of Chicago with his large family.

Mac’s first stand-up routine was impersonating his grandparents at the dinner table, which he did for the church congregation when he was eight.

Mac understood the transformative potential of laughter after his mother passed away from cancer, followed by the deaths of his brother, father, and grandmother shortly after that. He started cracking jokes in the Chicago Metro to make some extra money. While working some odd jobs, he ultimately launched his weekly variety program at Chicago’s Regal Theatre and began performing in comedy clubs in 1977. He did this while also working different menial jobs.

Acting Debut

Mac’s acting career started with a role as a club doorman in the comedy film Mo’ Money (1992), and he starred as Pastor Clever on Friday (1995). In the early 1990s, Mac made frequent appearances on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, contributing to the show’s success and helping put him on the map.

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After making frequent guest appearances on the series Moesha and receiving widespread acclaim for his starring role in Spike Lee’s The Original Kings of Comedy in 2000, Mac was ready to create a sitcom on his own terms, even though his edgy brand of comedy seemed like an improbable fit for television.

Career Highlights

The Bernie Mac Show debuted on Fox in 2001 and was inspired by true stories from Bernie Mac’s family that made people laugh uncontrollably Kings, had a successful first season. Mac played the role of a reluctant father to three adoptive children throughout the series until 2006. Nominations for the Emmys and the Golden Globes were submitted for the show.

Additionally, Mac’s cinematic career got off the ground. In the film Ocean’s Eleven, directed by Steven Soderbergh and released in 2001, he played a suave con artist who supported his co-stars George Clooney and Brad Pitt in high-profile heists. The film featured an all-star cast.

In addition, he appeared alongside Chris Rock in the film Head of State in 2001. After that, he took over the role of Bosley from Bill Murray in the 2003 film Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and shared billing with John Ritter in the film Bad Santa, which was directed by Billy Bob Thornton (2003).

In 2004, he played his first leading role in the film Mr. 3000, which was about an ageing baseball hero, and then he played a leading role in the comedy Guess Who?, which was about race relations (2005). Mac also participated in the film’s sequels, Ocean’s Twelve (2004) and Ocean’s Thirteen (2013), alongside the original ensemble (2007).

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Personal Life

In addition to his work in film and television, Bernie Mac is the author of two books: I Ain’t Scared of You: Bernie Mac on How Life Is, published in 2001, and Maybe You Never Cry Again, his memoir, published in 2003. The latter referred to Mac’s difficult upbringing, which included his mother’s unwavering faith in him despite their difficult circumstances.

Mac married his high school love, Rhonda, in 1977 when he was 19. Mac credits Rhonda with much of his success, especially as the young couple suffered through the early years of Mac’s nascent career. They were blessed with a daughter named Je’Niece as well as a granddaughter.


Mac passed away on August 9, 2008, due to complications from pneumonia. A memorial service for Mac was held at the House of Hope Church on the South Side of Chicago, and it was attended by more than 6,000 people.

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