Bernie Mac

Actor

1957-2008. Chicago, Illinois, United States

A blustery comic, Mac was over 30 when he made his first screen appearance and over 40 when he finally landed his eponymous sitcom, which was based on one of his stand-up routines. In the '90s, Mac was a regular on Def Comedy Jam and played supporting parts in a number of films while continuing to tour as a comedian. But the 2000 concert film The Original Kings of Comedy introduced his raunchy yet surprisingly heartwarming humor to a wider audience. Within a year, he had a prime-time show and, soon after, a number of A-list Hollywood films under his belt. In 2007, he founded the Bernie Mac Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure for sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease with which he was diagnosed in his 20s. He died in 2008 after a battle with pneumonia. The thousands of mourners at his Chicago funeral included Rev. Jesse Jackson, Chris Rock, Chicago mayor Richard Daley, Samuel L. Jackson and Don Cheadle, in addition to his Kings of Comedy cohorts, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and Steve Harvey.

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