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Bernie Mac (October 5. 1957 0 August 9, 2008)

Bernard Jeffrey McCullough was born and raised in Chicago’s south side by a single mother who died of cancer when Bernie was 16.

Influenced by The Three Stooges, Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx, Mac started his comedy career at Chicago’s Cotton Club. He won the Miller Lite comedy Search at age 32. It was an appearance on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam that changed everything. Martin Lawrence was unable to calm a hostile crowd. Undeterred, Mac stepped on stage and proclaimed that he wasn’t scared and didn’t stand for “foolishness.” His comedic style and fearlessness cemented his place in comedy history. Small film roles in House Party 3 and Friday led to his first starring role in The Player’s Club. In 2001, Fox gave him a semi-autobiographical sitcom, The Bernie Mac Show. While on TV, he continued with his movie career. His TV show ended in 2006. He continued on with his movie career. Old Dogs was released a year after his death.

In early August 2008, Mac was admitted to a Chicago hospital. After a week of unsuccessful treatments, Mac went into cardiac arrest and died on August 9. For the final three years of his life, Mac had suffered from sarcoidosis, a disease of unknown origins that causes inflammation of tissue, often seen in African Americans. In Mac, the sarcoidosis often attacked his lungs. Mac was 50 years old and survived by his wife Rhonda and daughter Je’neice McCullough. In total, Mac appeared (or voiced) in 31 films and was in 4 TV shows. He won a Black Reel Award, 4 NAACP Images Awards, a PRISM Award, 2 Satellite Awards and a Television Critics Association Award.

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