Bernie Mac

(Bernard Jeffery McCullough)
comedian, actor
Born: 1958?
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: 2008
Deathplace: Chicago

Mac began his career performing stand-up comedy for spare change in Chicago subways. His first break came when he won a citywide talent contest in 1990. The victory led to work in local clubs and as an opening act for stars such as Dionne Warwick, Red Foxx, and Natalie Cole. By 1994 he had established himself as a headliner in his own right, touring the U.S. with his comedy-music-dance extravaganza, the “Who Ya Wit Tour.” Meanwhile, TV guest spots on HBO's “Rosie Perez Presents Society's Ride” (1993) and Russell Simmons' “Def Comedy Jam” (1994) led to his own HBO series, Midnight Mac (1995), and a recurring guest spot on TV's Moesha. He also appeared in films such as Mo' Money (1992), Spike Lee's Get on the Bus (1996), and Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven (2001) and Ocean's Twelve (2004). He performed on the “Kings of Comedy” tour with fellow stars, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, and Cedric the Entertainer. In 2001 he launched his hit Fox TV series, The Bernie Mac Show, playing a comedian who suddenly becomes a father when he takes custody of his sister's three children. The show ran until April 2006.

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