Comedian Bernie Mac Dies at 50

Standup comic moved on to film, TV
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 9, 2008 9:27 AM CDT
This June 5, 2007 file photo shows actor Bernie Mac at the Ocean's Thirteen Premiere in Los Angeles.    (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)
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(Newser) – Comedian and actor Bernie Mac has died at 50 of pneumonia after a week’s hospitalization in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reports. Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an unusual autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the lungs. Born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, the comedian was a late bloomer, achieving fame in his 30s for his fast-talking, brash brand of humor on HBO specials, in films, and eventually in his own TV show.

Mac began doing standup before age 10. Winning a comedy search when he was 32, he appeared on shows like HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and his own comedy specials. He later scored a breakthrough part in the film Friday; many more roles were to come. The family-based sitcom The Bernie Mac Show ran from 2001 to 2005. “You've got to make people respect you. Respect is bigger than dollars and cents,” he said.