Bernie Mac - Updated Apr 2024

Updated On March 6, 2024
Most Popular
Bernie Mac


Bernie Mac was a very famous American voice artist best known for his show ‘The Bernie Mac Show. Bernie Mac was an American stand-up comedian and actor. He suffered from a disease named Sarcoidosis which caused inflammation in tissues. On 9th August 2008, Bernie passed away due to cardiac arrest at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

Early Life and Childhood

Bernie Mac was born on October 5, 1957, in his birthplace, Chicago, Illinois, and his full name is Bernard Jeffrey McCullough. Bernie was born in a large family where his grandfather was the deacon of a Baptist church. He was raised on Chicago’s South Side. Similarly, Bernie was the second child of Mary McCollough and Jeffrey Harrison.

Mac spent his childhood days with his single mother and grandparents. Unfortunately, Bernie lost his mother to cancer at a young age. After that, he lost his father, brother, and grandmother, all when he was still very young. Bernie belonged to American nationality. Sadly, Bernie Mac died of pneumonia on Saturday, 9 August 2008. His age was only 55 years old at the time of his demise.

Bernie went to the “Chicago Vocational Career Academy” for his education. Later, he shifted to Florida and studied at the “Jesuit High School” in Tampa. Later he returned to Chicago and graduated from Chicago Vocational in 1975.

Untimely Death

The prominent American comedian sadly passed away on 9 August 2008, on a Saturday. He was battling pneumonia for three long weeks before his demise. There were over 6,000 people who attended the memorial service for Mac at the House of Hope Church. It is located on Chicago’s South Side.

Bernie Mac was diagnosed with a mysterious disease named Sarcoidosis and had been carrying this disease for 25 long years since 1983. Hence, people suspected that the reason behind his untimely death was this very disease. However, Mac’s publicist stated that those two were not related at all.

Talking about the mysterious disease that entered remission in 2005 on Bernie, is an inflammatory lung disease. Although the cause of this inflammation is not known, it is a known fact that inflammation almost always affects the lungs first. Almost 90% of the patients have lung involvement, but this disease can affect any organ in the body like the lungs, skin, eyes, heart, brain, and bones.

Bernie Mac – Net Worth 2024

Bernie had an estimated net worth of around $15 million at the time of his death in 2008.

Professional Life

After losing his family members, Bernie realized the power of laughter and its healing capacities. As a result, he started telling jokes in the Chicago subway as a spare change. Mac then started working at various odd jobs. After that, he started his weekly variety show at Chicago Regal and joined the comedy club circuit in 1977.

During his 20s through his early 30s, he worked in a variety of jobs, including cook, bus driver, Sears delivery man, janitor, coach, professional mover, furniture mover, and UPS agent, while doing comedy on the weekends at clubs and parties.

The turning point in his career was when Bernie participated in the “Miller Lite Comedy Search” and won it. He also performed on “Def Comedy Jam” which was a television series produced by the “HBO”  channel. Moreover, he gained a lot of popularity after doing this show. He also appeared in shows with comedians such as Dionne Warwick, Redd Foxx, and Natalie Cole.


Bernie Mac also worked in movies such as “Mo’ Money” and “Who’s The Man?”. Bernie’s acting career started with the role of a club doorman in the comedy Mo’ Money released in 1992.

In 1994, Bernie was offered the role of Uncle Vester in the comedy movie “House Party 3”. He also worked in the movie “Above The Rim” in the same year. In 1995, “The Walking Dead” and “Friday”, his comedy flick were released. “Friday” was a huge success in which he played the role of Pastor Clever but “The Walking Dead” failed miserably.

Between 1996-1999, Bernie worked in various movies such as “How To Be A Player”, “Booty Call”, “B*A*P*S” and “The Players Club”. His role in “Don King: Only In America” in which he portrayed Bundini Brown was widely noticed. He also shared the screen with Brad Pitt and George Clooney in the Hollywood blockbuster “Ocean’s Eleven” in 2001. In it, Bernie played the role of a smooth con artist assisting co-stars George Clooney and Brad Pitt in high-profile heists.


Caption: Bernie during the premiere of “Bad Santa” in Los Angeles. (Source: Zimbio)

After 2000

In 2003, Bernie worked in three big-budget movies, such as “Head of State”, “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Bad Santa”. All three movies were commercially successful. Bernie also worked in movies such as “Mr.3000” and “Ocean’s Twelve”- the sequel to the 2001 film 2005.

Bernie has also shown his versatility by working in movies such as “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and “Soul Men”. “Old Dogs” was the last film of his career in which he played the role of Jimmy Lunchbox. In this 2009 released movie, he got to act beside famous personalities such as “John Travolta”, “Robin Williams” and “Kelly Preston”. In addition to this, he also played a cameo in the movie “Transformers” which was released in the same year.

“The Bernie Mac Show” is his most noticed work. The show consisted of funny incidents from Bernie’s life. The American viewers loved him and his work and it resulted in making Bernie one of the best comedians in the nation. The show ran from 2001 to 2006 on FOX. Moreover, this show represented Mac as a reluctant dad to three adopted kids. It also received both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.


Furthermore, Bernie also authored two books. They are I Ain’t Scared of You: Bernie Mac on How Life Is released in 2001 and his 2003 memoir, Maybe You Never Cry Again. His memoir described his impoverished childhood, strict upbringing, and his mother’s belief in him.


Three months after his death, the first two of Mac’s posthumous films, Soul Men and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, were released. His third and final posthumous film, Old Dogs, aired after a year. The 2008 Bud Billiken Parade, which was held in Chicago on the day of his death, was even dedicated to his memory. On the day of his funeral, his hometown’s local television station WCIU-TV displayed an exclusive television special, A Tribute to Bernie Mac. Also, it had interviews with his former colleagues including Camille Winbush, Chris Rock, Joe Torry, and some of his family members and close friends.


Bernie was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in “The Bernie Mac Show”. He also won the “Television Critics Association Award” for the same show. Moreover, the same show also allowed him to win the “Prism Award” and “Satellite Award”. The same show also allowed him to be felicitated with the “NAACP Image Award” in the “Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series” category 4 times.

Bernie Mac

Caption: Bernie won the award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for “The Bernie Mac Show” in the 2004 NAACP Image Award(Source: Fandango)

Relationship Status

Bernie married his high school love, Rhonda Gore on September 17, 1977, at the age of 19. He credits much of his success to her. The couple struggled in the early years of Bernie’s career. Moreover, they had a daughter, Je’Niece, and a granddaughter.

Bernie Mac

Caption: Bernie Man with his wife Rhonda during “Mr. 3000” Premiere at El Capitan in Hollywood. (Source: Bossip)

Social Media

The famous comedian has no social media sites. However, he often appears in videos and photos shared by many people and media channels.

Bernie Mac – Body Measurements

Bernie was 6.2 feet tall and weighed 90 Kg. He had dark brown eyes and black hair. Other body measurement details are not available on Bernie.