Bernard Jeffrey McCullough, better known by his stage name Bernie Mac, was born on October 5, 1957. He started his career as a stand-up comedian at the Cotton Club in Chicago in 1977. He was one of America’s most beloved comedians and actors and he is sorely missed in the entertainment industry. He left an indelible mark on both industries and continues to bring light, laughter, and hope to millions after his death, through reruns of his shows and movies and with his foundation’s work. We’ll help you remember and honor this legendary entertainer on his special day!
Bernard Jeffrey McCullough
Bernie Mac, Mac-Man
October 5, 1957
August 9, 2008 (age 50)
Bernie Mac was born on October 5, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois. His Zodiac sign was Libra and he was of African-American descent. He was the son of Mary McCullough and Jeffrey Harrison. Following his mother’s death when he was 16 years old, Mac was raised by his grandparents. Mac got into comedy after performing for his church’s congregation at age eight. He made his comedic debut at The Cotton Club in Chicago in 1977. Following a breakthrough role in the movie “Friday” in 1995, Mac finally found success as an actor.
His impressive body of work includes “Ocean’s 12,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,” “Transformers,” and “Guess Who?.” His passion for comedy never faded and in 2000, he took to the stage again with “The Original Kings of Comedy” tour, alongside his friends Cedric The Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, and Steve Harvey. This, in turn, inspired him to launch his sitcom “The Bernie Mac Show,” in 2001. With successful acting and comedy careers to his credit, Mac took on the literary world by publishing two books in the early 2000s.
Mac was diagnosed with sarcoidosis in 1983 and he lived with the ailment for many years. In 2005, he established the Bernie Mac Foundation to offer support to fellow sarcoidosis sufferers. Unfortunately, Mac died in the early morning hours of August 9, 2008, from complications of pneumonia brought on by sarcoidosis. He is survived by his widow — who was his high school sweetheart — Rhonda Gore and adult daughter Je Niece.
Mac performs for the first time at The Cotton Club in Chicago.
An accolade gives Mac his big break as he goes on tour afterward as the opening act for soul diva Chaka Khan and more.
Mac steps onto the silver screen scene with a small part in “Mo Money,” a romantic comedy starring famous actor Damon Wayans.
A breakthrough role as Pastor Cleaver in the cult classic “Friday” launches his career.
“The Bernie Mac Show” proves Mac’s immense popularity with TV audiences.
“Old Dogs,” “Soul Men,” and “Madagascar 3” includes the actor in their roster.
Why We Love Bernie Mac
He is funny and talented
He is not known as a comedic king for nothing. Mac is very much talented in his crafts.
He practiced self-love before it was cool
Way back in the 1970s and 1980s, Mac refused to change his look or image and bow to Hollywood’s vanity. His roots were deeply entrenched in Chicago and he wanted his audience to know that.
He was a romantic
Mac married his high school sweetheart, Rhonda. The couple stayed together until his death.
5 Surprising Facts
He was an author
Proving that his pen was as mighty as his comedic sword, Mac published two books, “Maybe You Never Cry Again” and “I Ain’t Scared of You: Bernie Mac on how life is.”
Christina Aguilera gave him a musical shoutout
At the height of her fame, pop star Christina Aguilera mentioned Mac in her hit track, “Dirrty.”
He was a boxer
We all know he could hold his own on stage but he did so in the boxing ring too.
The Emmy and Golden Globe nomination
The Bernie Mac Show, centered on his character raising his three adopted kids, received both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
There is a foundation to honor his legacy
The Bernie Mac Foundation honors Mac’s work and legacy by providing support and research insights to sufferers of sarcoidosis.
Bernie Mac FAQs
Did Bernie Mac have any kids?
Mac and his wife Rhonda have one daughter, Je’Niece, born in 1978.
How did Bernie Mac die?
Mac, a long-time sufferer of sarcoidosis, died of complications of this disease in 2008.
Why did The Bernie Mac Show end?
With a successful 100-plus episode run, The Bernie Mac Show was ultimately the casualty of low ratings.
Bernie Mac’s birthday dates