Quick Bernie Mac Facts:
- Mac was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, IL.
- He began his professional stand-up career at age 19.
- He had his own sitcom, The Bernie Mac Show, from 2001 to 2006.
- He appeared in several hit films, including Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, the Ocean's 11 franchise and Transformers.
- Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease that affects body tissue including the lungs.
- He died of complications from pneumonia in August of 2008.
Bernie Mac Overview:
A Hard Knocks Life:
Becoming Bernie Mac:
In 1992, Mac got his first big break when he landed a small role in the Damon Wayans comedy Mo' Money'. That led to a series of supporting roles in films like Who's the Man?(1993), House Party 3(1994) and, most notably, the Chris Tucker/Ice Cube comedy Friday in 1995. That same year, Mac got his own late-night series on HBO, called Midnight Mac. The show, however, lasted only a month.
Mac continued to work in films through the rest of the '90s, and got a recurring role on the sitcom Moesha. His stand-up career continued to build as well, with appearances on Def Comedy Jam bringing him attention. By the end of the decade, his career was ready to explode.
The Original Kings of Comedy
In 2000, Mac joined forces with fellow comics Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Cedric the Entertainer to form The Original Kings of Comedy. The result became the most successful comedy tour of all time, with the four comedians selling out theaters across the country.
The same year, director Spike Lee directed a tour documentary/concert film of The Original Kings of Comedy, called, appropriately enough, The Original Kings of Comedy. Mac, who performed last in the film, stole the show from the other comics with his intense delivery and stories about his family.
The Original Kings made Mac a superstar. Soon, he was getting roles in high profile Hollywood films like Charlie's Angels 2 and the Ocean's 11 series opposite George Clooney and Brad Pitt. In 2001, he got his own FOX sitcom, The Bernie Mac Show. The show was a hit and ran for five seasons.
Bernie Mac: Leading Man:
By 2004, Mac was no longer stuck in supporting parts. He played his first leading role in the baseball comedy Mr. 3000. The next year, he took the lead opposite Ashton Kutcher in the racially-reversed remake of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, simply called Guess Who.
In 2007, Mac announced plans to retire from comedy after 30 years in the business, instead hoping to focus on films, producing and enjoying life. In August of 2008, however, Mac was hospitalized in his hometown of Chicago with pneumonia. Though he battled the illness for a week, he finally died of complications on August 9 of that year. He was 50 years old when he died.
Additional Bernie Mac Facts
- Mac was nominated for two Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for his work on The Bernie Mac Show. He won four NAACP Image Awards for the series on was nominated for two more.
- He won the Miller Lite Comedy Search in 1990.
- Early in his career, he opened for Redd Foxx, Natalie Cole and Dionne Warwick.
- He was ranked number 72 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-up Comics of All Time.