Remembering Bernie Mac

August 11, 2008

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Bernie Mac, the comedian who rose from his poor upbringing on the South Side of Chicago to the glitter and glamour of Hollywood, died Saturday at age 50. Mac of course won Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his lead role in The Bernie Mac Show and was known for stealing scenes in movies like Ocean's Eleven, Charlie's Angels and Bad Santa.

As recently as last week, Mac's spokesperson squashed rumors that the comedian had fallen critically ill. She later confirmed that Mac died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital from complications due to pneumonia.

Mac performed on El train platforms and small venues until he went knocking on Hollywood doors. He started with bit parts in movies like Mo' Money and Life where he shared screen time with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence.

And then came Bernie Mac's big break, in Spike Lee's The Original Kings of Comedy. The film documented a tour featuring Mac along with Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Cedric the Entertainer. Richard Steele spoke to Bernie Mac in 1999 upon the release of the movie.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday at noon, at House of Hope at 752 East 114th Street.